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)


Clinicians’ Perceptions of a Modified Hospital Elder Life Program for Delirium Prevention During COVID-19

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The Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) is a multicomponent delirium prevention program targeting delirium risk factors of cognitive impairment, vision and hearing impairment, malnutrition and dehydration, immobility, sleep deprivation, and medications. We created a modified and extended version of the program, HELP-ME, deployable under COVID-19 conditions, for example, patient isolation and restricted staff and volunteer roles. We explored perceptions of interdisciplinary clinicians who implemented HELP-ME to inform its development and testing. This was a qualitative descriptive study of HELP-ME among older adults on medical and surgical services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants included HELP-ME staff at 4 pilot sites across the United States who implemented HELP-ME.We held five 1-hour video focus groups (5-16 participants/group) to review specific intervention protocols and the overall program. We asked participants open-endedly about positive and challenging aspects of protocol implementation. Groups were recorded and transcribed. We used directed content analysis to analyze data. Participants identified general, technology-related, and protocol-specific positive and challenging aspects of the program. Overarching themes included the need for enhanced customization and standardization of protocols, need for increased volunteer staffing, digital access to family members, patient technological literacy and comfort, variation in the feasibility of remote delivery among intervention protocols, and preference for a hybrid program model. Participants offered related recommendations. Participants felt that HELP-ME was successfully implemented, with some modifications needed to address limitations of remote implementation. A hybrid model combining remote and in-person aspects was recommended as the preferred option.

CommunityRx, a social care assistance intervention for family and friend caregivers delivered at the point of care: two concurrent blinded randomized controlled trials

Abramsohn, E. M., De Ornelas, M. D. S., Borson, S., Frazier, C. R., Fuller, C. M., Grana, M., Huang, E. S., Jagai, J. S., Makelarski, J. A., Miller, D., Schulman-Green, D., Shiu, E., Thompson, K., Winslow, V., Wroblewski, K., & Lindau, S. T. (2023). Trials, 24(1). 10.1186/s13063-023-07697-z
Background: CommunityRx is an evidence-based social care intervention delivered to family and friend caregivers (“caregivers”) at the point of healthcare to address health-related social risks (HRSRs). Two CommunityRx randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are being fielded concurrently on Chicago’s South Side, a predominantly African American/Black community. CommunityRx-Hunger is a double-blind RCT enrolling caregivers of hospitalized children. CommunityRx-Dementia is a single-blind RCT enrolling caregivers of community-residing people with dementia. RCTs with caregivers face recruitment barriers, including caregiver burden and lack of systematic strategies to identify caregivers in clinical settings. COVID-19 pandemic-related visitor restrictions exacerbated these barriers and prompted the need for iteration of the protocols from in-person to remote operations. This study describes these protocols and methods used for successful iteration to overcome barriers. Methods and findings: CommunityRx uses individual-level data to generate personalized, local community resource referrals for basic, health and caregiving needs. In early 2020, two in-person RCT protocols were pre-tested. In March 2020, when pandemic conditions prohibited face-to-face clinical enrollment, both protocols were iterated to efficient, caregiver-centered remote operations. Iterations were enabled in part by the Automated Randomized Controlled Trial Information-Communication System (ARCTICS), a trial management system innovation engineered to integrate the data collection database (REDCap) with community resource referral (NowPow) and SMS texting (Mosio) platforms. Enabled by engaged Community Advisory Boards and ARCTICS, both RCTs quickly adapted to remote operations. To accommodate these adaptations, launch was delayed until November (CommunityRx-Hunger) and December (CommunityRx-Dementia) 2020. Despite the delay, 65% of all planned participants (CommunityRx-Hunger n = 417/640; CommunityRx-Dementia n = 222/344) were enrolled by December 2021, halfway through our projected enrollment timeline. Both trials enrolled 13% more participants in the first 12 months than originally projected for in-person enrollment. Discussion: Our asset-based, community-engaged approach combined with widely accessible institutional and commercial information technologies facilitated rapid migration of in-person trials to remote operations. Remote or hybrid RCT designs for social care interventions may be a viable, scalable alternative to in-person recruitment and intervention delivery protocols, particularly for caregivers and other groups that are under-represented in traditional health services research. Trial registration: CommunityRx-Hunger (NCT04171999, 11/21/2019); CommunityRx for Caregivers (NCT04146545, 10/31/2019).

Development of the Palliative Care Law and Policy GPS to Assess National Policies in Palliative Care

Feder, S. L., Schulman-Green, D., Huer, J., Hoffman, L., Martins, L. B., Sinclair, S., Gluck, A. R., & Rusyn, E. (2023). Journal of Palliative Medicine. 10.1089/jpm.2023.0200
Background: State policy-making to address disparities in access to and quality of palliative care is increasing. Yet, there is no mechanism to systematically assess palliative care policies nationally. Methods: We describe the development of the Palliative Care Law and Policy GPS by the Center to Advance Palliative Care and the Yale Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy. The GPS is an online, searchable repository of national palliative care policies. We developed the GPS by conducting a systematic search of Lexis+, LegiScan, and state health departments for palliative care-related statutes and proposed legislation, categorizing policies into workforce, payment, quality/standards, clinical skill-building, public awareness, telehealth, and pediatric palliative care, and creating an interactive website. Conclusions and Implications: The GPS is a critical tool that can advance palliative care research, practice, and policy. Next steps include the expansion of data from 2010 onward as well as gathering state-level regulations and partially automating search and updating functions.

Exploring the Relationship Between Health–Illness Transition Experiences and Distress Among Patients With Pancreatic Cancer

Goldberg, J. I., Flynn, J. R., Baser, R. E., Nelson, J. E., Capezuti, E., & Schulman-Green, D. (2023). Oncology Nursing Forum, 50(5), 625-633. 10.1188/23.ONF.625-633
OBJECTIVES: To explore the correlation between health–illness transition (HIT) experiences and distress among patients with pancreatic cancer. SAMPLE & SETTING: 55 patients with a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer receiving chemotherapy at a tertiary cancer center in New York. METHODS & VARIABLES: A prospective correlational study was performed to explore the frequency, extent, and management of HITs. HITs were evaluated using the Measurement of Transitions in Cancer Scale, and distress was measured with the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Distress Thermometer. RESULTS: All patients experienced at least one HIT. The extent of HITs decreased over time. Patients reported that they managed HITs moderately well. There was a significant correlation between unmanaged HITs and distress. As distress increased, the extent of the physical and emotional HITs increased and management worsened. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING: HITs are ubiquitous among patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Associated distress inhibits management. Nurses are well suited to assess for potential HITs and to support self-management of HITs.

Improving Breast Cancer Family Caregivers’ Palliative Care Literacy: A Pilot Randomized Trial

Schulman-Green, D., Linsky, S., Blatt, L., Jeuland, J., Kapo, J., & Jeon, S. (2023). Journal of Family Nursing, 29(1), 99-114. 10.1177/10748407221099541
Self- and family management (SFM) refers to patients’ and family caregivers’ activities to co-manage illness. Two barriers to SFM are low palliative care literacy and lack of goals of care communication, which potentially result in SFM activities that are unsupportive of patients’ goals. Managing Cancer Care: A Caregiver’s Guide (MCC-CG) aims to improve palliative care literacy and communication within a SFM training program. In this pilot randomized trial, we enrolled breast cancer family caregivers and collected data at 0, 1, and 3 months on palliative care literacy, SFM engagement, communication, transitions management, uncertainty, caregiver burden, and caregiver competence/personal gain. Participants (n = 35) had a mean age of 54 (range: 18–81) and were 66% white and 34% racial/ethnic minorities. Intervention participants improved their palliative care literacy and SFM engagement, reduced uncertainty and caregiver burden, increased competence/personal gain, and had more goals of care conversations over time. MCC-CG has preliminary efficacy, warranting further study.

Integrating Palliative Care Into Self-management of Breast Cancer: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

Schulman-Green, D., Linsky, S., Jeon, S., Holland, M. L., Kapo, J., Blatt, L., Adams, C., & Chagpar, A. B. (2023). Cancer Nursing, 46(3), E169-E180. 10.1097/NCC.0000000000001078
Background Breast cancer patients may not be well-informed about palliative care, hindering its integration into cancer self-management. Objective The aim of this study was to test Managing Cancer Care: A Personal Guide (MCC-PT), an intervention to improve palliative care literacy and cancer self-management. Methods This was a single-blind pilot randomized controlled trial to evaluate the feasibility/acceptability and intervention effects of MCC-PT on palliative care literacy, self-management behaviors/emotions, and moderation by demographic/clinical characteristics. We enrolled 71 stages I to IV breast cancer patients aged at least 21 years, with >6-month prognosis at an academic cancer center. Patients were randomized to MCC-PT (n = 32) versus symptom management education as attention-control (n = 39). At baseline, 1 month, and 3 months, participants completed the Knowledge of Care Options Test (primary outcome), Control Preferences Scale, Goals of Care Form, Medical Communication Competence Scale, Measurement of Transitions in Cancer Scale, Chronic Disease Self-efficacy Scale, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and the Mishel Uncertainty in Illness Scale. Results Mean participant age was 51.5 years (range, 28-74 years); 53.5% were racial/ethnic minority patients, and 40.8% had stage III/IV cancer. After adjusting for race/ethnicity, MCC-PT users improved their palliative care literacy with a large effect size (partial η2 = 0.13). Patients at late stage of disease showed increased self-management (partial η2 = 0.05) and reduced anxiety (partial η2 = 0.05) and depression (partial η2 = 0.07) with medium effect sizes. Conclusions Managing Cancer Care: A Personal Guide is feasible and appears most effective in late-stage cancer. Research is needed to elucidate relationships among cancer stage, race/ethnicity, and self-management outcomes. Implications for Practice Integration of palliative care into cancer care can assist in creation of appropriate self-management plans and improve emotional outcomes.

Linking nursing outcomes classification to the self- and family management framework

Chae, S., Oh, H., Da Costa Ferreira Oberfrank, N., Schulman-Green, D., Moorhead, S., & Swanson, E. A. (2023). Journal of Advanced Nursing, 79(2), 832-849. 10.1111/jan.15503
Aim: Establish linkages between components of the Self- and Family Management Framework and outcomes of the Nursing Outcomes Classification to evaluate the comprehensiveness of outcomes addressing self- and family management in the Nursing Outcomes Classification. Design: Descriptive study. Methods: Experts conducted a six-step process to establish linkages: (1) preliminary mapping of all relevant nursing outcomes to the framework; (2) development of checklists for team members serving as ‘identifiers’ and ‘reviewers’; (3) mapping all relevant nursing outcomes to the framework; (4) final agreement on mapped outcomes; (5) establishment of inter-rater reliability; and (6) discussion of findings with authors of the Self- and Family Management Framework. Results: Three hundred and sixty-three nursing outcomes were identified as related to the management of chronic disease across all components of the framework: outcomes related to patient self-management (n = 336), family functioning (n = 16) and family caregivers (n = 11). Conclusion: The Nursing Outcomes Classification outcomes comprehensively address self-management, and, less so, family functioning, and caregivers. Implications: Established linkages can be used by nurses to track and support patient and family management outcomes across the care continuum. Patient or public contribution: Linking standardized nursing outcomes to the Self- and Family Management Framework can assist in goal setting and measurement of nursing care during chronic disease management. This work can help describe to funders, policy makers and others invested in health care reform the specific contributions of nurses to self- and family management of chronic disease. Impact: This paper demonstrates the linkages between components of the Self- and Family Management Framework and Nursing Outcomes Classification outcomes. The results of this study offer the opportunity to quantify the impact of nursing care and enhance nursing practice for patients with chronic conditions as well as contribute to developing Nursing Outcomes Classification outcomes that consider self-management processes.

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.

Quality of Telehealth-Delivered Inpatient Palliative Care During the Early COVID-19 Pandemic

Soliman, A. A., Akgün, K. M., Coffee, J., Kapo, J., Morrison, L. J., Hopkinson, E., Schulman-Green, D., & Feder, S. L. (2023). Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 65(1), 6-15. 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2022.09.014
Context: Consequent to increasing COVID-19 infection rates, the Palliative Care (PC) service at a large New England hospital shifted from in-person to telehealth-delivered PC (TPC). Objectives: We compared the quality of TPC to in-person PC during the early COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: We conducted an electronic health record review of PC consultations of patients hospitalized during three periods: pre-COVID January, 2020-February, 2020 (in-person); peak-COVID March, 2020-June, 2020 (majority TPC); and post-peak September, 2020-October, 2020 (majority in-person). We examined the relationship between these periods and PC delivery characteristics and quality measures using descriptive and bivariate statistics. Results: Of 377 patients, 50 were pre-COVID (TPC=0%), 271 peak-COVID (TPC=79.3%), and 56 post-peak (TPC<2%) (representation of PC consult: pre- and post-peak=samples; peak-COVID=all consults). Mean age was 69.3 years (standard deviation=15.5), with 54.9% male, 68.7% White, and 22.8% Black. Age and sex did not differ by period. PC consultations were more likely for goals of care (pre=30.0% vs. peak=53.9% vs. post=57.1%; P = 0.005) or hospice (4.0% vs. 14.4% vs. 5.4%, P = 0.031) during peak-COVID compared to pre-COVID. Rates of assessment of physical (98.0% vs. 63.5% vs. 94.6%, P < 0.001) and psychological symptoms (90.0% vs. 33.1% vs. 67.9%, P < 0.001) were lower during peak relative to pre-COVID and post-peak periods. There were no differences in assessment of patients’ social needs, family burden, or goals of care across periods. Conclusion: The PC service provided high-quality inpatient PC using TPC despite significant strain during the early COVID-19 pandemic. Developing and testing strategies to promote comprehensive symptom control using TPC remains a priority to adjust to potential unmet PC needs.

Use of the Self- and Family Management Framework in quantitative studies

Park, J. H., Rada, L., Feder, S. L., Montano, A. R., Batten, J., Tan, H., Grey, M., & Schulman-Green, D. (2023). Nursing Outlook, 71(1). 10.1016/j.outlook.2022.10.003
Background: The Self- and Family Management Framework (SFMF) identifies factors and outcomes of patient and family management of chronic illness. In a previous citation analysis, we reported the frequency and nature of use of the SFMF. Purpose: We conducted a sub-analysis of quantitative articles in the citation analysis to examine testing of relationships depicted in the SFMF. Methods: We analyzed study purposes, independent and dependent variables, study implications, and text that referred to the SFMF in 40 articles. Findings: The SFMF has been used largely to explore factors affecting SFM behaviors, focusing on patient versus family self-management. Independent variables included all categories of facilitators/barriers specified in the SFMF. Dependent variables included all SFMF components (Facilitators/Barriers, Processes, Proximal and Distal Outcomes). Racial/ethnic diversity was limited among study participants. Study implications pertained mostly to psychosocial outcomes. Most studies referred to the SFMF generally. Discussion: Findings will contribute to revision of the SFMF.