Eileen M. Sullivan Marx headshot

Eileen M Sullivan-Marx

Erline Perkins McGriff Professor

1 212 998 5303

433 First Avenue
Room 618
New York, NY 10010
United States

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Professional overview

Eileen Sullivan-Marx is dean of the New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing and the Erline Perkins McGriff Professor of Nursing since 2012. She is serving currently as president of the American Academy of Nursing. Prior to NYU, Dr. Sullivan-Marx had a distinguished career at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, where she was the associate dean for practice & community affairs, creating community partnerships for care of older adults and promotion of healthy activities entitled Healthy in Philadelphia. She is a distinguished nursing leader, educator and clinician known for research and innovative approaches in primary care, testing methods of payment for nurses particularly with Medicaid and Medicare, sustaining models of care using advanced practice nurses locally and globally, and developing health policy in community-based settings. With a strong belief in the integration of practice, research, education, and interdisciplinary team work, Dr. Sullivan-Marx has built and sustained models of team care including a private family practice, growing a Program of All Inclusive Care for Elders (PACE) from 75 persons to 525 persons in five years that saved the state of Pennsylvania fifteen cents on the dollar in Medicaid funding, and launched numerous older adult team programs in academic centers as well as the Veterans Administration. Dr. Sullivan-Marx has been on numerous community planning and advisory boards including the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Patient and Safety Board from 2009-2012.

She was the first nurse to serve as the American Nurses Association representative to the American Medical Association’s Resource Based Relative Value Update Committee and did so for 11 years, demonstrating through research that nurse practitioner and physician work can be valued equally in that payment structure. Dr. Sullivan-Marx has been active in regional, state, and national policy. She has served as Chair of the Pennsylvania Commission on Senior Care Services in 2008, as a member of the Philadelphia Emergency Preparation Review Commission in 2006, and as an American Political Science Congressional Fellow and Senior Advisor to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Medicaid and Medicare Coordination in 2010, just after passage of the Affordable Care Act. As part of this position, she worked to bring promising models of care to scale such as the PACE Programs. She is a former member of the American Academy of Nursing’s (AAN) Board of Directors and is currently an AAN Edge Runner. Dr. Sullivan-Marx is a Fellow in both the New York Academy of Medicine and the Gerontology Society of America.

Among the numerous awards that she has received are the international Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society Best of Image research award (1993) and its excellence in practice award (2011), the Springer Publishing Research Award, the Doris Schwartz Gerontological Nursing Research Award. She is a Distinguished Alumni of the University of Rochester School of Nursing.

Dean Sullivan-Marx began her nursing career in 1972 in Philadelphia, earned a BSN (1976) from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MS (1980) from the University of Rochester School of Nursing as a family health nurse practitioner. She received a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in 1995. Her nurse practitioner career was exemplified by forging and sustaining primary care practices which she successfully and uniquely integrated into her academic research and teaching career.


PhD, Gerontology - University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing (1995)
MS, Family Health Nurse Clinician - University of Rochester School of Nursing (1980)
BSN - University of Pennsylvania (1976)
Nursing Diploma - Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing (1972)


Home care

Professional membership

American Nurses Association
American Nurses Association, Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science, ANA-New York
Eastern Nursing Research Society
Gerontological Society of America
Fellow, Institute on Aging, University of Pennsylvania
Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics University of Pennsylvania
Sigma Theta Tau, Xi Upsilon Chapter

Honors and awards

Faculty Honors Awards

Top 50 Health Care Leaders, Irish America Magazine (2019)
United Hospital Fund Special Tribute (2019)
VillageCare Distinguished Service Award (2016)
Doris Schwartz Gerontological Nursing Research Award, Gerontological Society of America (2013)
Herman Briggs Society, NY (2013)
Fellow, Gerontological Society of America (2013)
American Academy of Nursing Edge Runner Designation (2012)
Research Associate, Penn Institute for Urban Research University of Pennsylvania (2012)
Fellow, New York Academy of Medicine (2012)
Health and Aging Fellowship, American Political Science Association (2011)
Marie Hippensteel Lingeman Award for Excellence in Nursing Practice, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society (2011)
American Academy of Nursing Edge Runner Designation (2011)
Dean’s Professional Practice Award, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing (2011)
Board Member, American Academy of Nursing (2011)
Distinguished Alumni Award, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing (2011)
Health and Aging Fellowship, American Political Science Association (2010)
Legislative Award, Pennsylvania State Nurses Association Advocacy (2010)
American Academy of Nursing Edge Runner Designation (2010)
Faculty Fellow, Penn Institute for Urban Research (2009)
American Academy of Nursing Edge Runner Designation (2009)
American Academy of Nursing Edge Runner Designation (2008)
Eastern Nursing Research Society, The John A. Hartford Foundation Geriatric Research Award (2008)
American Academy of Nursing Edge Runner Designation (2007)
American Academy of Nursing Edge Runner Designation (2006)
Department of Health & Human Services Primary Care Health Policy Fellowship (2004)
Society of Primary Care Policy Fellows (2004)
Undergraduate Student Advising Award, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing (2002)
Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Rochester, School of Nursing (2001)
Society for Advancement of Nursing Science (2000)
Springer Publishing Company Research Award for most outstanding project, “Relative Work Values of Nurse Practitioner Services,” American Nurses Association Council for Nursing Research 1998 Research Utilization Conference (1998)
Sigma Theta Tau International Best of Image Award for scholarly excellence in research, "Functional Status Outcomes of a Nursing Intervention in Hospitalized Elderly" (1993)
Ethel F. Lord Fellowship, Soroptomist Organization scholarship for graduate study in field of gerontology (1993)
Nursing Practice Award, Pennsylvania Nurses' Association (1986)
Louise Wilson Haller Memorial Prize for Excellence in Professional Nursing, University of Rochester, School of Nursing (1980)
fellow, American Academy of Nursing



Inflammation, functional status, and weight loss during recovery from cardiac surgery in older adults: A pilot study

DiMaria-Ghalili, R. A., Sullivan-Marx, E. M., & Compher, C. (2014). Biological Research for Nursing, 16(3), 344-352. 10.1177/1099800413503489
Objective: To determine the nutritional, inflammatory, and functional aspects of unintentional weight loss after cardiac surgery that warrant further investigation. Research Methods and Procedures: Twenty community-dwelling adults ≥ 65 years old undergoing cardiac surgery (coronary artery bypass graft [CABG] or CABG + valve) were recruited for this prospective longitudinal (preoperative and 4-6 weeks postdischarge) pilot study. Anthropometrics (weight, standing height, and mid-arm and calf circumference), nutritional status (Mini-Nutritional Assessment™ [MNA]), appetite, physical performance (timed chair stand), muscle strength (hand grip) and functional status (basic and instrumental activities of daily living), and inflammatory markers (plasma leptin, ghrelin, interleukin [IL]-6, high-sensitivity[hs] C-reactive protein, and serum albumin and prealbumin) were measured. Results: Participants who completed the study (n = 11 males, n = 3 females) had a mean age 70.21 ± 4.02 years. Of these, 12 lost 3.66 ± 1.44 kg over the study period. Weight, BMI, activities of daily living, and leptin decreased over time (p <.05). IL-6 increased over time (p <.05). Ghrelin, hs-CRP, and timed chair stand increased over time in those who underwent combined procedures (p <.05). Grip strength decreased in those who developed complications (p =.004). Complications, readmission status, and lowered grip strength were found in those with low preoperative MNA scores (p <.05). Conclusion: After cardiac surgery, postdischarge weight loss occurs during a continued inflammatory response accompanied by decreased physical functioning and may not be a positive outcome. The impacts of weight loss, functional impairment, and inflammation during recovery on disability and frailty warrant further study.

The Bear and the Canyon: Toward an Understanding of Personal Leadership

Sullivan-Marx, E. M. (2013). Nursing Science Quarterly, 26(4), 373-375. 10.1177/0894318413501961
Using Carper's fundamental patterns of knowing in nursing as a framework, the author reflects upon and intertwines experiences as a nurse leader and experiences in nature that called for resilience and courage.

Is it time for a public health nursing approach to aging?

Sullivan-Marx, E. M. (2013). Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 39(9), 13-16. 10.3928/00989134-20130731-02
Following the enactment of Medicare in 1965, access to health care for older adults in the United States improved. At the same time, nurse researchers and policy leaders developed individual and family-centered care interventions and programs that led to improvements in quality of health and life. In the next 20 to 30 years, U.S. and global projections of an expanding aging cohort with potential increases in health care needs, coupled with continued nursing shortage projections, present challenges and opportunities to enhance gerontological nursing's approach to aging care. Invigorating a public health nursing focus on the needs of a population of older adults could enhance nursing's ability to create policy and programs of care that promote quality of life for older adults and their families. Nurses using public health approaches can lead and support social policies regarding the physical environment and daily life circumstances that contribute to health equity. Heightened attention to competencies in community/public health nursing education and promotion of public health nursing careers will be important policy considerations as we face the looming increase in a population of older adults throughout the world.

Preventing waterborne diseases: Analysis of a community health worker program in rural Tamil Nadu, India

Gupta, N., Mutukkanu, T., Nadimuthu, A., Thiyagaran, I., & Sullivan-Marx, E. (2012). Journal of Community Health, 37(2), 513-519. 10.1007/s10900-011-9472-5
Community health worker (CHW) programs have become popular tools in reducing the burden of childhood illnesses. However, the efficacy of CHWs in facilitating behavior change, as a means of preventing waterborne diseases, remains unclear. Using a household survey (n = 225),in rural Tamil Nadu, South India, we assessed the effects of a CHW program on knowledge, attitudes and practices related to diarrheal illness through comparison with a control population that was not enrolled in the program. The CHW program in the experimental village entailed behavior change aimed at preventing diarrheal illness through home visits, community events and health education. Correlates of four key variables on knowledge of drinking water contamination and behavior change were examined by using logistic regression models. We found that while the program was effective in raising awareness of drinking water contamination, it did not significantly increase hygiene and water sanitation practices in the village community in comparison to the control population. Furthermore, villagers enrolled in the CHW program were unable to recognize the connections between contaminated drinking water and disease. The results of our survey indicated the CHW program did not significantly affect behavior in the experimental village. Possible shortcomings in the program are discussed.

Recruitment and retention strategies among older African American women enrolled in an exercise study at a PACE program

Sullivan-Marx, E. M., Mangione, K. K., Ackerson, T., Sidorov, I., Maislin, G., Volpe, S. L., & Craik, R. (2011). Gerontologist, 51, S73-S81. 10.1093/geront/gnr001
Purpose: This study examined employment of specific recruitment and retention strategies in a study evaluating outcomes of a moderate activity exercise program for older African American women with functional impairments attending a Program for All-Inclusive Care of Elders (PACE). Design and Methods: Recruitment and retention strategies focused on (1) partnership between researchers and participants, (2) partnership between researchers and clinicians, (3) overcoming administrative issues, and (4) reducing burden on clinicians and participants. The exercise protocol consisted of strength and endurance activity 2 to 3 times per week for 16 weeks. Results: Fifty-two African American women (61.2% of target) were enrolled and 37 (71.2%) completed the 16-week exercise program. Fifteen did not complete due to non-descript reasons and/or preference for other program activities (n = 11), medical problems (n = 2), or need for physical therapy (n = 2). Implications: Success in recruitment and retention included use of a PACE program, hiring an advanced practice nurse to improve retention, and integration with site activities and sustaining the exercise program at the site. Challenges for recruitment and retention remain to engage older, frail adults in exercise as a life habit, and availability of time and place to do so.

Detectable changes in physical performance measures in elderly African Americans

Kline Mangione, K., Craik, R. L., McCormick, A. A., Blevins, H. L., White, M. B., Sullivan-Marx, E. M., & Tomlinson, J. D. (2010). Physical Therapy, 90(6), 921-927. 10.2522/ptj.20090363
Background. African American older adults have higher rates of self-reported disability and lower physical performance scores compared with white older adults. Measures of physical performance are used to predict future morbidity and to determine the effect of exercise. Characteristics of performance measures are not known for African American older adults. Objective. The purpose of this study was to estimate the standard error of measurement (SEM) and minimal detectable change (MDC) for the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB), Timed "Up & Go" Test (TUG) time, free gait speed, fast gait speed, and Six-Minute Walk Test (6MWT) distance in frail African American adults. Design. This observational measurement study used a test-retest design. Methods. Individuals were tested 2 times over a 1-week period. Demographic data collected included height, weight, number of medications, assistive device use, and Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE) scores. Participants then completed the 5 physical performance tests. Results. Fifty-two participants (mean age=78 years) completed the study. The average MMSE score was 25 points, and the average body mass index was 29.4 kg/m2. On average, participants took 7 medications, and the majority used assistive devices. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC [2,1]) were greater than .90, except for the SPPB score (ICC=.81). The SEMs were 1.2 points for the SPPB, 1.7 seconds for the TUG, 0.08 m/s for free gait speed, 0.09 m/s for fast gait speed, and 28 m for 6MWT distance. The MDC values were 2.9 points for the SPPB, 4 seconds for the TUG, 0.19 m/s for free gait speed, 0.21 m/s for fast gait speed, and 65 m for 6MWT distance. Limitations. The entire sample was from an urban area. Conclusions. The SEMs were similar to previously reported values and can be used when working with African American and white older adults. Estimates of MDC were calculated to assist in clinical interpretation.

Developing a financial framework for academic service partnerships: Models of the United States and Europe

De Geest, S., Sullivan Marx, E. M., Rich, V., Spichiger, E., Schwendimann, R., Spirig, R., & Van Malderen, G. (2010). Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 42(3), 295-304. 10.1111/j.1547-5069.2010.01355.x
Purpose: Academic service partnerships (ASPs) are structured linkages between academe and service which have demonstrated higher levels of innovation. In the absence of descriptions in the literature on financial frameworks to support ASPs, the purpose of this paper is to present the supporting financial frameworks of a Swiss and a U.S. ASP. Methods: This paper used a case study approach. Results: Two frameworks are presented. The U.S. model presented consists of a variety of ASPs, all linked to the School of Nursing of the University of Pennsylvania. The structural integration and governance system is elucidated. Each ASP has its own source of revenue or grant support with the goal to be fiscally in the black. Joint appointments are used as an instrument to realize these ASPs. The Swiss ASP entails a detailed description of the financial framework of one ASP between the Institute of Nursing Science at the University of Basel and the Inselspital Bern University Hospital. Balance in the partnership, in terms of both benefit and cost between both partners, was a main principle that guided the development of the financial framework and the translation of the ASP in budgetary terms. The model builds on a number of assumptions and provides the partnership management within a simple framework for monitoring and evaluation of the progress of the partnership. Conclusions: In operationalizing an ASP, careful budgetary planning should be an integral part of the preparation and evaluation of the collaboration. The proposed Swiss and U.S. financial frameworks allow doing so. Clinical Relevance: Outcomes of care can be improved with strong nursing service and academic partnerships. Sustaining such partnerships requires attention to financial and contractual arrangements.

Innovative collaborations: A case study for academic owned nursing practice

Sullivan-Marx, E. M., Bradway, C., & Barnsteiner, J. (2010). Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 42(1), 50-57. 10.1111/j.1547-5069.2009.01324.x
Purpose: Academic service partnerships are critical for schools of nursing to maintain credibility regarding their missions of education, research, service, and practice.Methods: In this paper, we describe a case study of a ten year program, the Living Independently For Elders (LIFE) Program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing that has provided community-based long-term care to high-risk older adults.Findings: Quality of care and financial outcomes were met with nurse faculty engagement, administrative commitment, and integration of business practices.Conclusions: As a result, high risk older adults receive care in their communities rather than nursing homes, and the school- owned and -operated program is a nationally recognized innovative nursing model of care.Clinical Relevance: Strategies are described that can be used globally as more schools of nursing embrace and strengthen service partnerships.

Care management: Building community capacity to support aging in place

Davitt, J., Sullivan-Marx, E., Steinberg, H., Wormley, D., Kerman, L., & Cohen, R. (2008). Geriatric Case Management Journal, 18(3), 10-15.

Exercise among urban-dwelling older adults at risk for health disparities.

Sullivan-Marx, E. M., Cuesta, C. L., & Ratcliffe, S. J. (2008). Research in Gerontological Nursing, 1(1), 33-41. 10.3928/19404921-20080101-07
This study assessed factors that contribute to exercise in older adults at risk for health disparities living in a predominantly African American urban community. A local health database was used to gain an understanding of these factors, which then could be used to develop programs to improve health within a specific urban community. The sample included 112 participants (mean age = 81); the majority were women and African American. Participants were more likely to exercise if not insured by Medicaid, compared with those who did receive Medicaid. Adults with two or more limitations in instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) were less likely to exercise. Among those who exercised, those with two or more limitations in IADLs were more likely to exercise less than adults with no such limitations, and adults with high blood pressure were more likely to exercise less than those without high blood pressure. The findings of this study will help generate discussion in both the community and outreach programs to invigorate exercise among older adults at risk for health disparities.

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