Dena Schulman-Green


Dena Schulman-Green Headshot

Dena Schulman-Green


Associate Professor

1 212 998 5786

433 First Ave
New York, NY 10010
United States

Accepting PhD students

Dena Schulman-Green's additional information

Dena Schulman-Green, PhD, is an associate professor at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing. Her program of research focuses on the integration of palliative care into patient and family management of serious, chronic illness. She designed Managing Cancer Care as an intervention to help women with breast cancer and their family caregivers to manage cancer collaboratively with clinicians. Schulman-Green is well known for her role in developing the Middle Range Theory of Self- and Family Management of Chronic Illness to guide research on patient and family management of chronic illness. Schulman-Green’s work is rooted in her belief that healthcare goals should reflect personal goals and values.

Additional research interests include health-illness transitions, psychosocial issues in cancer survivorship, and tailoring research methods for vulnerable populations. Schulman-Green consults on qualitative and mixed methods studies nationally. Her work has been funded by the American Cancer Society, the National Institutes of Health, the National Palliative Care Research Center, and the Palliative Care Research Cooperative, among others. She is active in the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. Invested in mentorship and leadership development, Schulman-Green supervises PhD and postdoctoral research trainees. 

Prior to joining NYU Meyers, Schulman-Green was faculty at the Yale School of Nursing for 18 years, initially as a Research Scientist and later as an Associate Professor. She also served as faculty for the Yale School of Medicine’s Palliative Medicine Fellowship and Interprofessional Palliative Care Education programs. She was instrumental in developing palliative care research and providing qualitative and mixed methods research support university-wide.  

Schulman-Green received a PhD and an MS in gerontology from the University of Massachusetts Boston, an MA and EdM in counseling psychology from Columbia University, and a BA in psychology and religion from Boston University. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in breast cancer and palliative care at the Yale School of Nursing under the mentorship of Drs. Ruth McCorkle and Elizabeth Bradley.

PhD, University of Massachusetts Boston
MS, University of Massachusetts Boston
EdM, Columbia University, Teachers College
MA, Columbia University, Teachers College
BA, Boston University

Palliative care
Chronic disease

American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Palliative Care Research Cooperative Group
Eastern Nursing Research Society
Gerontological Society of America
American Psychosocial Oncology Society

Faculty Honors Awards

Suzanne Feetham Nurse Scientist Family Research Award, Eastern Nursing Research Society (2019)
American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine Poster Award (2017)
Annie W. Goodrich Award for Excellence in Teaching, Yale School of Nursing (2017)
American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine Poster Award (2016)
American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine Poster Award (2010)
Center for Disease Control Success Story Award (2010)
Ellison Medical Foundation Aging New Scholar Award Nominee, University of Massachusetts Boston (2006)
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization Research Award (2004)
Inducted into Sigma Phi Omega, Gerontology Honor Society (1999)
Association for Gerontology in Higher Education/AARP Andrus Foundation Graduate Scholarship in Gerontology (1998)
Columbia University General Scholarship Award (1993)
Inducted into Psi Chi, Psychology Honor Society (1992)


‘It Just Makes Sense to Me’: A qualitative study exploring patient decision-making and experiences with prostate MRI during active surveillance for prostate cancer

Sutherland, R., Gross, C. P., Ma, X., Jeong, F., Seibert, T. M., Cooperberg, M. R., Catalona, W. J., Ellis, S. D., Loeb, S., Schulman-Green, D., & Leapman, M. S. (2024). BJUI Compass. 10.1002/bco2.351
Introduction: Although prostate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is commonly used in the diagnosis, staging and active surveillance of prostate cancer, little is known about patient perspectives on MRI. Methods: We performed a qualitative study consisting of in-depth, semi-structured interviews of patients with low- and intermediate-risk prostate cancer managed with active surveillance. Interviews focused on experiences with and knowledge of prostate MRI and MRI-ultrasound fusion biopsy during active surveillance. We purposively sampled patients who received prostate MRI as part of their clinical care, conducted interviews until reaching thematic saturation and performed conventional content analysis to analyse data. Results: Twenty patients aged 51–79 years (mean = 68 years) participated in the study. At diagnosis, 17 (85%) had a Gleason grade group 1, and three (15%) had a grade group 2 tumour. Overall, participants viewed prostate MRI as a valuable tool that accurately localizes and monitors prostate cancer over time, and they considered prostate MRI central to active surveillance monitoring. We identified five thematic categories related to MRI use: (1) the experiential aspects of undergoing an MRI scan; (2) the experience of visualizing one's own prostate and prostate cancer; (3) adequacy of provider explanations of MRI results; (4) confidence in prostate MRI in decision-making; and (5) the role of prostate MRI in longitudinal follow-up, including an interest in using MRI to modify the timing of, or replace, prostate biopsy. Conclusion: Patients value prostate MRI as a tool that enhances their confidence in the initial diagnosis and monitoring of prostate cancer. This work can inform future studies to optimize patient experience, education and counselling during active surveillance for prostate cancer.

A middle range theory of self- and family management of chronic illness

Schulman-Green, D., Feder, S. L., David, D., Rada, L., Tesfai, D., & Grey, M. (2023). Nursing Outlook, 71(3). 10.1016/j.outlook.2023.101985
Background: The Self- and Family Management Framework was created in 2006 to help structure self- and family management science. Based on a series of reviews and syntheses of emerging research and critical evaluation, we developed the Framework into a robust nursing theory. Purpose: In this article, we reintroduce the Self- and Family Management Framework as the Middle Range Theory of Self- and Family Management of Chronic Illness. Methods: We review steps in the development and updating of the Framework, share rationale for advancement to a middle range theory, explicate components of the newly designed model, and propose future directions. Discussion and Conclusion: It is our hope that this middle range theory will guide researchers and clinicians more comprehensively in supporting patients and families managing chronic illness, which will in turn inform continued theory development.

“I Have a Lotta Sad Feelin'” – Unaddressed Mental Health Needs and Self-Support Strategies in Medicaid-Funded Assisted Living

David, D., Lassell, R. K., Mazor, M., Brody, A. A., & Schulman-Green, D. (2023). Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 24(6), 833-840. 10.1016/j.jamda.2023.04.002
Objective: To investigate mental health needs and barriers to seeking mental health support in Medicaid-funded Assisted Living Facility (M-ALF). Design: A multimethod, qualitative-dominant descriptive design using questionnaires and semistructured interviews. Setting and Participants: The study occurred at a M-ALF in the Bronx, New York. A researcher in residence recruited 13 residents (11 Black or African American, 2 Asian) using purposive sampling. Methods: Demographic data and mental health indicators (depression, anxiety, stress, hopelessness) were measured with questionnaires (Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, Edmonton Symptom Assessment System, Perceived Stress Scale, Beck Hopelessness Survey) and analyzed with descriptive statistics. Interviews were conducted between June and November 2021, transcribed, and analyzed using conventional content analysis. Results: Thirteen residents (mean age: 73.4 years, mean length of stay: 3.5 years; range: 1.0-7.5) completed data collection. Quantitatively indicators of unmet mental health were common. Qualitatively, residents reported barriers to mental health access to address depression, anxiety, and substance use. This was accompanied by concerns surrounding loss of autonomy, mistrust for M-ALF organizational support, isolation and uncertainty about how to receive mental health support. Perspectives were shaped by past experiences with institutional living, serious illness, and being unhoused. Themes and subthemes were (1) mental health need (unmet mental health need, depression, and anxiety and seeking support through non–mental health resources) and (2) barriers to mental health support (dissatisfaction with M-ALF care, perceived threats to autonomy, desire for autonomy that leads to diminished care seeking). Conclusion and Implications: Residents of M-ALF have mental health needs for which care is stymied by loss of autonomy, lack of resources, and the M-ALF environment. Residents use unconventional resources to address needs that may be neither efficient nor effective. Novel mental health interventions and processes are needed to improve mental health access and should prioritize residents’ desire for autonomy and the unique circumstances of living in M-ALF.

Decision Aid Interventions for Family Caregivers of Persons With Advanced Dementia in Decision-Making About Feeding Options: A Scoping Review

Pei, Y., Qi, X., Schulman-Green, D., Hu, M., Wang, K., & Wu, B. (2022). Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 23(12), 1927.e1-1927.e6. 10.1016/j.jamda.2022.08.014
Objectives: We provided an overview of the literature on decision aid interventions for family caregivers of older adults with advanced dementia regarding decision making about tube feeding. We synthesized (1) the use of theory during the development, implementation, and evaluation of decision aids; (2) the development, content, and delivery of decision aid interventions; (3) caregivers’ experience with decision aid interventions; and (4) the effect of decision aid interventions on caregivers’ quality of decision-making about feeding options. Design: Scoping review. Methods: We conducted a scoping review of peer-reviewed studies published January 1, 2000–June 30, 2022, in MEDLINE, EMBASE, The Cochrane Library, CINAHL, and Web of Science databases. The process was guided by Arksey and O'Malley's methodological framework, which includes identifying the research question, choosing related studies, charting the data, and summarizing results. Empirical articles concerning the decision aid interventions about feeding options were selected. Results: Six publications reporting 4 unique decision aid interventions were included. All the interventions targeted caregivers of older adults with advanced dementia. Three decision aids were culturally adapted from existing decision aids. The Ottawa Decision Support Framework and the International Patient Decision Aid Standards Framework were used in these 6 publications. Interventions aimed to improve decision making regarding tube feeding for caregivers through static delivery methods. Caregivers rated these decision aids as helpful and acceptable. Decisional conflict and knowledge of feeding options were the most common outcomes evaluated. Reduction in decisional conflict and increase in knowledge were consistently found among dementia caregivers, but no intervention effects were found on preferences for the use of tube feeding. Conclusions and Implications: Decision aid interventions effectively improve decision-making regarding tube feeding among the target population. Cultural adaptation of an existing decision aid intervention is the main strategy. However, the lack of guidance of a cultural adaptation framework in this process may lead to difficulties explaining caregivers’ behavioral changes. Moreover, merely providing information is not enough to change caregivers’ preferences or behavior of use of tube feeding. A systematic approach to cultural adaptation and interactive intervention is needed in future studies.

Demystifying the National Institutes of Health diversity supplement: Mentee and mentor experiences and recommendations

Travers, J. L., David, D., Weir, M., Clark-Cutaia, M. N., Enwerem, N., Okunji, P. O., & Schulman-Green, D. (2022). Nursing Outlook, 70(6), 856-865. 10.1016/j.outlook.2022.07.007
Background: The National Institutes of Health supports professional development of diverse researchers through diversity supplements. Limited awareness and understanding of the application process have hindered utilization of this funding mechanism. Purpose: We describe perspectives and recommendations of mentee and mentor recipients of diversity supplements. Methods: Our working group, comprised of faculty from an Historically Black College and University and an R1 research university, conducted stakeholder interviews with three mentees and four mentors from various institutions. We used content analysis to derive categories of experiences and recommendations. Discussion: Interviewees reported on advantages of diversity supplements, ensuring institutional support, identifying a good mentee-mentor match, developing grantsmanship specific to diversity supplements, and increasing numbers of these applications. Conclusion: We identify opportunities for stakeholders to increase awareness of diversity supplements. Our data support greater understanding of this mechanism, establishing strong mentoring relationships, and submitting robust applications. Findings can enhance diversity among the scientific community.

National Institutes of Health diversity supplements: Perspectives from administrative insiders

David, D., Weir, M. L., Enwerem, N., Schulman-Green, D., Okunji, P. O., Travers, J. L., & Clark-Cutaia, M. N. (2022). Nursing Outlook, 70(6), 827-836. 10.1016/j.outlook.2022.08.006
Background: The NIH Diversity Administrative Supplement is a funding mechanism that provides support for diverse early-stage researchers. There is limited guidance on how to apply for these awards. Purpose: We describe perspectives of NIH program/diversity officers and university research administrators offering recommendations for diversity supplement submission. Methods: This article is the product of a working group exploring diversity in research. Nursing faculty from an R2 Historically Black College and University and an R1 research intensive university conducted stakeholder interviews with NIH program/diversity officers and university research administrators. We used content analysis to categorize respondents’ recommendations. Findings: Recommendations centered on harmonizing the applicant with the program announcement, communication with program/diversity officers, mentor/mentee relationship, scientific plan, and systematic institutional approaches to the diversity supplement. Discussion: Successful strategies in submitting diversity supplements will facilitate inclusion of diverse researchers in NIH-sponsored programs. Systematic approaches are needed to support development of diverse voices to enhance the scientific community.