Faculty

Gail D'Eramo Melkus headshot

Gail D'Eramo Melkus

Associate Dean for Research
Florence and William Downs Professor in Nursing Research

1 212 998 5300

433 First Avenue
Room 744
New York, NY 10010
United States

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Professional overview

Gail D’Eramo Melkus, EdD, C-NP, FAAN is the Florence and William Downs Professor in Nursing Research and Associate Dean for Research at NYU Meyers. She currently serves as Co-PI and co-investigator or research mentor on numerous funded projects specific to biobehavioral interventions for prevention and management of chronic conditions and related co-morbidities, in mid-life and older adults, including national and international work. Dr. Melkus serves as sponsor of K-awards focused on health disparities among vulnerable populations (women with T2D and depression; elderly Blacks at-risk for depression, glycemic control and infection in oncology stem cell recipients, CHD in older adult workers). In recognition of her mentorship, Dr. Melkus received the 1st Annual NYU CTSI Mentor Award in May 2011.

Previously Dr. Melkus was the Independence Foundation Professor of Nursing at the Yale University School of Nursing, where in collaboration with the Diabetes Research Center of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in NY, she developed and implemented the Diabetes Care Specialty for advanced practice nurses. Dr. Melkus’ sustained interest in eliminating health disparities among vulnerable populations earned her a reputation as a leader in the development and testing of culturally competent models of diabetes care. Her program of intervention research that focuses on physiological and behavioral outcomes of self-management interventions has served as an education and training ground for numerous multidisciplinary scientists.

Education

EdD(1983-87) - Columbia University Teachers College, Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
Columbia University Doctoral Candidate(1986, semester) - Yale School of Public Health
MS(1976-78) - Southern Connecticut State University
ASN/BS(1976) - University of Bridgeport (Nursing)
Honorary MS(2003) - Yale University
Nurse Practitioner Advanced Graduate Studies Program(1989) - Pace University School of Nursing
Yale University School of Nursing Adult Nurse Practitioner Program(1989)

Honors and awards

Diamond Jubilee Virginia Henderson Excellence in Nursing Research Award (2003)
Fellow in American Academy of Nursing (2003)
Endowed Chair, Independence Foundation, Yale University (2004)
Endowed Chair, Florence & William Downs, New York University (2008)
New York State Nurse Foundation Distinguished Nurse Researcher Award (2009)
Distinguished Scholar Award, New York University College of Nursing (2010)
NYU Clinical Translational Science Institute 1st annual Distinguished Mentor Award (2011)
Medicare Evidence Development & Coverage Advisory Committee Member (2013)
Faculty Scholar Appointment, Universita' Tor Vergata, Rome (2014)
Affiliated Faculty Appointment, University of Georgia, Tblisi, Republic of Georgia (2014)
Fellow, New York Academy of Medicine (2014)
Distinguished Alumni Award University of Bridgeport (2014)

Specialties

Primary care
Non-communicable disease
Women's health
Immigrants
Adult health
Global

Professional membership

American Diabetes Association
American Heart Association
American Academy of Nursing
CT Nursing Association
Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science
Society for Behavioral Medicine
Eastern Nursing Research Society

Publications

Publications

Inflammatory pathway genes associated with inter-individual variability in the trajectories of morning and evening fatigue in patients receiving chemotherapy

Wright, F., Hammer, M., Paul, S. M., Aouizerat, B., Kober, K. M., Conley, Y. P., Cooper, B. A., Dunn, L. B., Levine, J. D., D’Eramo Melkus, G., & Miaskowski, C. (2017). Cytokine, 91, 187-210. 10.1016/j.cyto.2016.12.023
Abstract
Fatigue, a highly prevalent and distressing symptom during chemotherapy (CTX), demonstrates diurnal and interindividual variability in severity. Little is known about the associations between variations in genes involved in inflammatory processes and morning and evening fatigue severity during CTX. The purposes of this study, in a sample of oncology patients (N = 543) with breast, gastrointestinal (GI), gynecological (GYN), or lung cancer who received two cycles of CTX, were to determine whether variations in genes involved in inflammatory processes were associated with inter-individual variability in initial levels as well as in the trajectories of morning and evening fatigue. Patients completed the Lee Fatigue Scale to determine morning and evening fatigue severity a total of six times over two cycles of CTX. Using a whole exome array, 309 single nucleotide polymorphisms SNPs among the 64 candidate genes that passed all quality control filters were evaluated using hierarchical linear modeling (HLM). Based on the results of the HLM analyses, the final SNPs were evaluated for their potential impact on protein function using two bioinformational tools. The following inflammatory pathways were represented: chemokines (3 genes); cytokines (12 genes); inflammasome (11 genes); Janus kinase/signal transducers and activators of transcription (JAK/STAT, 10 genes); mitogen-activated protein kinase/jun amino-terminal kinases (MAPK/JNK, 3 genes); nuclear factor-kappa beta (NFkB, 18 genes); and NFkB and MAP/JNK (7 genes). After controlling for self-reported and genomic estimates of race and ethnicity, polymorphisms in six genes from the cytokine (2 genes); inflammasome (2 genes); and NFkB (2 genes) pathways were associated with both morning and evening fatigue. Polymorphisms in six genes from the inflammasome (1 gene); JAK/STAT (1 gene); and NFkB (4 genes) pathways were associated with only morning fatigue. Polymorphisms in three genes from the inflammasome (2 genes) and the NFkB (1 gene) pathways were associated with only evening fatigue. Taken together, these findings add to the growing body of evidence that suggests that morning and evening fatigue are distinct symptoms.

Predictors and trajectories of morning fatigue are distinct from evening fatigue

Wright, F., D’Eramo Melkus, G., Hammer, M., Schmidt, B., Knobf, M. T., Paul, S. M., Cartwright, F., Mastick, J., Cooper, B. A., Chen, L. M., Melisko, M., Levine, J. D., Kober, K., Aouizerat, B., & Miaskowski, C. (2015). Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 50(2), 176-189. 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2015.02.016
Abstract
Context Fatigue is the most common symptom in oncology patients during chemotherapy. Little is known about the predictors of interindividual variability in initial levels and trajectories of morning fatigue severity in these patients. Objectives An evaluation was done to determine which demographic, clinical, and symptom characteristics were associated with initial levels as well as the trajectories of morning fatigue and to compare findings with our companion paper on evening fatigue. Methods A sample of outpatients with breast, gastrointestinal, gynecological, and lung cancer (n = 586) completed demographic and symptom questionnaires a total of six times over two cycles of chemotherapy. Fatigue severity was evaluated using the Lee Fatigue Scale. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to answer the study objectives. Results A large amount of interindividual variability was found in the morning fatigue trajectories. A piecewise model fit the data best. Patients with higher body mass index, who did not exercise regularly, with a lower functional status, and who had higher levels of state anxiety, sleep disturbance, and depressive symptoms reported higher levels of morning fatigue at enrollment. Variations in the trajectories of morning fatigue were predicted by the patients' ethnicity and younger age. Conclusion The modifiable risk factors that were associated with only morning fatigue were body mass index, exercise, and state anxiety. Modifiable risk factors that were associated with both morning and evening fatigue included functional status, depressive symptoms, and sleep disturbance. Using this information, clinicians can identify patients at higher risk for more severe morning fatigue and evening fatigue, provide individualized patient education, and tailor interventions to address the modifiable risk factors.

Self-management for adult patients with cancer an integrative review: An integrative review

Hammer, M., Ercolano, E. A., Wright, F., Vaughan Dickson, V., Chyun, D., & D’Eramo Melkus, G. (2015). Cancer Nursing, 38(2), E10-E26. 10.1097/NCC.0000000000000122
Abstract
Background: Individuals with cancer are surviving long term, categorizing cancer asa a chronic condition, and with it, numerous healthcare challenges. Symptoms, in particular, can be burdensome and occur from prediagnosis through many years after treatment. Symptom severity is inversely associated with functional status and quality of life. Objective: Management of these millions of survivors of cancer in a stressed healthcare system necessitates effective self-care strategies. The purpose of this integrative review is to evaluate intervention studies led by nurse principal investigators for self-care management in patients with cancer. Methods: PubMed, CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied health Literature), and the Cochrane Database were searched from January 2000 through August 2012. Search terms included "symptom management and cancer," "self-management and cancer," and "self-care and cancer." All articles for consideration included intervention studies with a nurse as the primary principal investigator. Results: Forty-six articles were included yielding 3 intervention areas of educational and/or counseling sessions, exercise, and complementary and alternative therapies. Outcomes were predominately symptom focused and often included functional status and quality of life. Few studies had objective measures. Overarching themes were mitigation, but not prevention or elimination of symptoms, and improved quality of life related to functional status. No one intervention was superior to another for any given outcome. Conclusions: Current interventions that direct patients in self-care management of symptoms and associated challenges with cancer/survivorship are helpful, but incomplete. No one intervention can be recommended over another. Implications for Practice: Guiding patients with cancer in self-care management is important for overall functional status and quality of life. Further investigation and tailored interventions are warranted.

Trajectories of evening fatigue in oncology outpatients receiving chemotherapy

Wright, F., D’Eramo Melkus, G., Hammer, M., Schmidt, B., Knobf, M. T., Paul, S. M., Cartwright, F., Mastick, J., Cooper, B. A., Chen, L. M., Melisko, M., Levine, J. D., Kober, K., Aouizerat, B., & Miaskowski, C. (2015). Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 50(2), 163-175. 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2015.02.015
Abstract
Context Fatigue is a distressing persistent sense of physical tiredness that is not proportional to a person's recent activity. Fatigue impacts patients' treatment decisions and can limit their self-care activities. Although significant interindividual variability in fatigue severity has been noted, little is known about predictors of interindividual variability in initial levels and trajectories of evening fatigue severity in oncology patients receiving chemotherapy. Objectives To determine whether demographic, clinical, and symptom characteristics were associated with initial levels and the trajectories of evening fatigue. Methods A sample of outpatients with breast, gastrointestinal, gynecological, and lung cancer (N = 586) completed demographic and symptom questionnaires a total of six times over two cycles of chemotherapy. Fatigue severity was evaluated using the Lee Fatigue Scale. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to answer the study objectives. Results A large amount of interindividual variability was found in the evening fatigue trajectories. A piecewise model fit the data best. Patients who were white, diagnosed with breast, gynecological, or lung cancer, and who had more years of education, childcare responsibilities, lower functional status, and higher levels of sleep disturbance and depression reported higher levels of evening fatigue at enrollment. Conclusion This study identified both nonmodifiable (e.g., ethnicity) and modifiable (e.g., childcare responsibilities, depressive symptoms, sleep disturbance) risk factors for more severe evening fatigue. Using this information, clinicians can identify patients at higher risk for more severe evening fatigue, provide individualized patient education, and tailor interventions to address the modifiable risk factors.

Associations between multiple chronic conditions and cancer-related fatigue: An integrative review

Wright, F., Hammer, M., & D’Eramo Melkus, G. (2014). Oncology Nursing Forum, 41(4), 399-410. 10.1188/14.ONF.41-04AP
Abstract
Problem Identification: To summarize the current state of nursing knowledge related to the association of multiple chronic conditions (MCCs) and cancer-related fatigue (CRF) in patients with solid tumors during chemotherapy. Literature Search: A systematic literature search of PubMed, CINAHL®, EMBASE, Cochrane, and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses for primary nursing research from January 2000 to June 2012 that examined the prevalence and/or severity of CRF with MCCs or a single comorbidity. Data Evaluation: The studies were appraised for the clarity and focus of the research question and the appropriateness of the method and research design. A 13-item quality criteria checklist evaluated the data from each article on a 0-2 scale (0 = poor, 1 = fair, 2 = good). Data Analysis: Of 329 abstracts, 21 studies were included in the analysis. The association of MCC and CRF was mostly reported in aggregate, with a mean of three MCCs per patient. Presentation of Findings: Having one or more other comorbidities was significantly associated with the prevalence and severity of CRF. Specifically, arthritis, hypertension, and cardiac disease, although not consistently or clinically defined across studies, are associated with an increased prevalence and severity of CRF. The association of MCC and CRF prevalence and severity was inconsistent because of the variability in the measures used and the time span identified to measure changes. Implications for Nursing Practice: Awareness of the prevalence of MCCs is essential to support patients experiencing CRF. Holistic nursing assessment of the patient's symptoms-with an awareness of MCCs-would help improve symptom management to limit the effect of CRF.