Susan Malone


Susan Malone headshot

Susan Malone


Assistant Professor

1 212 992 7047

433 First Ave
Room 412
New York, NY 10010
United States

Accepting PhD students

Susan Malone's additional information

Susan Kohl Malone is a registered nurse with a focus on chronic disease prevention and management. This work inspired her research interests into the roles that modifiable lifestyle behaviors (sleep, physical activity, eating habits) and environmental factors (light exposure) play on cardio-metabolic disease risk. Of special interest are the timing and rhythmicity of these behaviors and exposures. 

Rhythms are the rule, not the exception, underlying almost all physiological functions. Thus, the rhythmicity and timing of behaviors and biology need to be measured and managed to move towards greater wellness. The goal of Prof. Malone’s research team is to incorporate timing and rhythmicity into behavioral interventions to ameliorate chronic disease. Prof. Malone has been the principle investigator on several funded sleep intervention studies. She has led a sleep health intervention to reverse metabolic syndrome in middle-aged adults as part of NYU’s P20 Exploratory Center for Precision Health in Diverse Populations. She also leads a randomized controlled trial to determine whether improving sleep improves glycemic control in adults with prediabetes. Prof. Malone has led several population-based studies examining the relationships between multiple dimensions of sleep, such as duration, timing, regularity, quality with cardio-metabolic risk behaviors, and cardio-metabolic outcomes.

Prof. Malone holds an undergraduate degree in nursing with a theology minor from Georgetown University and a MSN and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. She completed postdoctoral fellowship training in the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania under the mentorship of Dr. Allan Pack.


Postdoctoral Fellowship - University of Pennsylvania
PhD - University of Pennsylvania
MSN - University of Pennsylvania
BSN - Georgetown University

Community/population health

American Academy of Nursing
Eastern Nursing Research Society
National Association of School Nurses
Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society
Sleep Research Society
Society for Research in Biological Rhythms

Faculty Honors Awards

Marion R. Gregory Award for distinguished completed doctoral dissertation, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (2015)
Heilbrunn Nurse Scholar Award, Rockefeller University (2014)
Research Poster Winner, National Association of School Nurses Annual Conference (2013)
Leadership Identification Scholarship, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (1985)
Susan Kohl Award, Georgetown University


Addressing Challenges in Recruiting Diverse Populations for Research: Practical Experience from a P20 Center

Wright, F., Malone, S. K., Wong, A., Melkus, G. D., & Dickson, V. V. (2022). Nursing Research, 71(3), 218-226. 10.1097/NNR.0000000000000577
Background Improving the recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups in all research areas is essential for health equity. However, achieving and retaining diverse samples is challenging. Barriers to recruitment and retention of diverse participants include socioeconomic and cultural factors and practical challenges (e.g., time and travel commitments). Objectives The purpose of this article is to describe the successful recruitment and retention strategies used by two related studies within a P20 center funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research focused on precision health research in diverse populations with multiple chronic conditions, including metabolic syndrome. Methods To address the complexity, biodiversity, and effect of metabolic syndrome and multiple chronic conditions, we developed culturally appropriate, multipronged recruitment and retention strategies for a pilot intervention study and a longitudinal observational pilot study within our P20 center. The following are the underlying principles that guided the recruitment and retention strategies: (a) flexibility, (b) active listening and bidirectional conversations, and (c) innovative problem solving. Results The intervention study (Pilot 1) enrolled 49 participants. The longitudinal observational study (Pilot 2) enrolled 45 participants. Women and racial/ethnic minorities were significantly represented in both. In Pilot 1, most of the participants completed the intervention and all phases of data collection. In Pilot 2, most participants completed all phases of data collection and chose to provide biorepository specimens. Discussion We developed a recruitment and retention plan building on standard strategies for a general medical population. Our real-world experiences informed the adaption of these strategies to facilitate the participation of individuals who often do not participate in research - specifically, women and racial/ethnic populations. Our experience across two pilot studies suggests that recruiting diverse populations should build flexibility in the research plan at the outset.

Best Interest Standard in School Health: A Concept Analysis

Grunin, L., & Malone, S. (2022). Journal of School Nursing, 38(1), 110-120. 10.1177/10598405211001459
The bioethical concept of best interest standard is cited in courts across America and considered to be an effective method of managing pediatric health care decision-making. Although the best interest standard is referred to in an abundance of nursing, medical, legal, and bioethical literature, refinement and a clear definition of the concept are lacking in the context of school health. An exhaustive and methodical search was conducted across six databases revealing 41 articles from the past decade. The Wilsonian methodology was used to analyze, refine, and clarify the concept of best interest standard by presenting original case vignettes (model, contrary, related, and borderline) and an innovative conceptual model as it applies to school nursing. This concept analysis provides school nurses with a deeper understanding of the best interest standard to navigate the complex nature of making school health care decisions.

Actigraphy-derived rest - Activity rhythms are associated with nocturnal blood pressure in young women

Hoopes, E. K., Patterson, F., Berube, F. R., D’agata, M. N., Brewer, B., Malone, S. K., Farquhar, W. B., & Witman, M. A. (2021). Journal of Hypertension, 39(12), 2413-2421. 10.1097/HJH.0000000000002966
Introduction:Misalignment between lifestyle behaviors and endogenous circadian rhythms is associated with elevated nocturnal blood pressure (BP) in experimental studies; however, less is known about free-living (i.e. nonlaboratory) circadian disruption and nocturnal BP. Additionally, sex-specific cardiovascular implications of circadian disruption are unclear.Objective:To examine the associations between rest - activity rhythms (RAR), a field-based estimate of circadian disruption, and nocturnal BP characteristics in young men and women.Methods:Fifty participants (20 ± 1 years; 20 men/30 women) underwent 24-h ambulatory BP monitoring following 14 days of wrist actigraphy. RAR variables of interdaily stability (day-to-day consistency in RAR), intradaily variability (within-day fragmentation of RAR), and relative amplitude (difference between peak vs. trough activity) were derived from actigraphy. Multivariable regression models of mean nocturnal SBP, DBP, and SBP dipping were generated to test main associations with RAR variables, and sex × RAR interactions. Daytime BP, race, BMI, physical activity, sleep duration, alcohol, caffeine, and sodium intake were considered as covariates.Results:In the full sample, no main associations between RAR and nocturnal BP characteristics were found. Sex interacted with RAR such that in women, higher interdaily stability (β = -5.39, 95% CI = -10.04 to -0.73, P = 0.024) and relative amplitude (β = -4.78, 95% CI = -9.22 to -0.34, P = 0.036) were both associated with lower nocturnal SBP. Sex-stratified multivariable models of nocturnal BP also revealed associations between interdaily stability and relative amplitude with SBP dipping in women (all P ≤ 0.01). No associations were apparent in men.Conclusion:Consistent and high-amplitude RAR are favorably associated with nocturnal BP characteristics in young women.

Characterizing Glycemic Control and Sleep in Adults with Long-Standing Type 1 Diabetes and Hypoglycemia Unawareness Initiating Hybrid Closed Loop Insulin Delivery

Malone, S. K., Peleckis, A. J., Grunin, L., Yu, G., Jang, S., Weimer, J., Lee, I., Rickels, M. R., & Goel, N. (2021). Journal of Diabetes Research, 2021. 10.1155/2021/6611064
Nocturnal hypoglycemia is life threatening for individuals with type 1 diabetes (T1D) due to loss of hypoglycemia symptom recognition (hypoglycemia unawareness) and impaired glucose counter regulation. These individuals also show disturbed sleep, which may result from glycemic dysregulation. Whether use of a hybrid closed loop (HCL) insulin delivery system with integrated continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) designed for improving glycemic control, relates to better sleep across time in this population remains unknown. The purpose of this study was to describe long-term changes in glycemic control and objective sleep after initiating hybrid closed loop (HCL) insulin delivery in adults with type 1 diabetes and hypoglycemia unawareness. To accomplish this, six adults (median age=58 y) participated in an 18-month ongoing trial assessing HCL effectiveness. Glycemic control and sleep were measured using continuous glucose monitoring and wrist accelerometers every 3 months. Paired sample t-tests and Cohen's d effect sizes modeled glycemic and sleep changes and the magnitude of these changes from baseline to 9 months. Reduced hypoglycemia (d=0.47-0.79), reduced basal insulin requirements (d=0.48), and a smaller glucose coefficient of variation (d=0.47) occurred with medium-large effect sizes from baseline to 9 months. Hypoglycemia awareness improved from baseline to 6 months with medium-large effect sizes (Clarke score (d=0.60), lability index (d=0.50), HYPO score (d=1.06)). Shorter sleep onset latency (d=1.53; p<0.01), shorter sleep duration (d=0.79), fewer total activity counts (d=1.32), shorter average awakening length (d=0.46), and delays in sleep onset (d=1.06) and sleep midpoint (d=0.72) occurred with medium-large effect sizes from baseline to 9 months. HCL led to clinically significant reductions in hypoglycemia and improved hypoglycemia awareness. Sleep showed a delayed onset, reduced awakening length and onset latency, and maintenance of high sleep efficiency after initiating HCL. Our findings add to the limited evidence on the relationships between diabetes therapeutic technologies and sleep health. This trial is registered with (NCT03215914).

Habitual physical activity patterns in a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults

Malone, S. K., Patterson, F., Grunin, L., Melkus, G. D., Riegel, B., Punjabi, N., Yu, G., Urbanek, J., Crainiceanu, C., & Pack, A. (2021). Translational Behavioral Medicine, 11(2), 332-341. 10.1093/tbm/ibaa002
Physical inactivity is a leading determinant of noncommunicable diseases. Yet, many adults remain physically inactive. Physical activity guidelines do not account for the multidimensionality of physical activity, such as the type or variety of physical activity behaviors. This study identified patterns of physical activity across multiple dimensions (e.g., frequency, duration, and variety) using a nationally representative sample of adults. Sociodemographic characteristics, health behaviors, and clinical characteristics associated with each physical activity pattern were defined. Multivariate finite mixture modeling was used to identify patterns of physical activity among 2003-2004 and 2005-2006 adult National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey participants. Chi-square tests were used to identify sociodemographic differences within each physical activity cluster and test associations between the physical activity clusters with health behaviors and clinical characteristics. Five clusters of physical activity patterns were identified: (a) low frequency, short duration (n = 730, 13%); (b) low frequency, long duration (n = 392, 7%); (c) daily frequency, short duration (n = 3,011, 55%); (d) daily frequency, long duration (n = 373, 7%); and (e) high frequency, average duration (n = 964, 18%). Walking was the most common form of activity; highly active adults engaged in more varied types of activity. High-activity clusters were comprised of a greater proportion of younger, White, nonsmoking adult men reporting moderate alcohol use without mobility problems or chronic health conditions. Active females engaged in frequent short bouts of activity. Data-driven approaches are useful for identifying clusters of physical activity that encompass multiple dimensions of activity. These activity clusters vary across sociodemographic and clinical subgroups.

Rest-activity rhythms in emerging adults: implications for cardiometabolic health

Hoopes, E. K., Witman, M. A., D’Agata, M. N., Berube, F. R., Brewer, B., Malone, S. K., Grandner, M. A., & Patterson, F. (2021). Chronobiology International, 38(4), 543-556. 10.1080/07420528.2020.1868490
Emerging adulthood (18–25 years) represents a window of opportunity to modify the trajectory of cardiometabolic disease risk into older adulthood. Not known is the extent to which rest-activity rhythms (RAR) may be related to biomarkers of cardiometabolic health in this population. In this cross-sectional, observational study, 52 healthy emerging adults wore wrist accelerometers (14 consecutive days; 24 h/day) for assessment of nonparametric RAR metrics, including interdaily stability (IS; day-to-day RAR consistency), intradaily variability (IV; within-day RAR fragmentation), and relative amplitude (RA; robustness of RAR), as well as autocorrelation (correlation of rest/activity levels at 24-h lag-times). Cardiometabolic biomarkers, including body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage, blood pressure (BP), fasting lipids, glucose, and C-reactive protein (CRP) were assessed. Additional measures including physical activity, sleep duration, and habitual caffeine and alcohol consumption were also evaluated. A series of multivariable regression models of cardiometabolic biomarkers were used to quantify associations with RAR metrics. On average, participants were 20 ± 1 years of age (21 males, 31 females), non-obese, and non-hypertensive. All were nonsmokers and free of major diseases or conditions. In separate models, which adjusted for sex, BMI, moderate-vigorous physical activity, sleep duration, caffeine, and alcohol consumption, IS was inversely associated with total cholesterol (p ≤ 0.01) and non-HDL cholesterol (p < .05), IV was positively associated with CRP (p < .05), and autocorrelation was inversely associated with total cholesterol (p < .05) and CRP (p < .05). Conversely, associations between RA and cardiometabolic biomarkers were nonsignificant after adjustment for BMI, alcohol, and caffeine consumption. In conclusion, RAR metrics, namely, a higher IS, lower IV, and higher autocorrelation, emerged as novel biomarkers associated with more favorable indices of cardiometabolic health in this sample of apparently healthy emerging adults.

Sleep and Alertness Among Interns in Intensive Care Compared to General Medicine Rotations: A Secondary Analysis of the iCOMPARE Trial

Cordoza, M., Basner, M., Asch, D. A., Shea, J. A., Bellini, L. M., Carlin, M., Ecker, A. J., Malone, S. K., Desai, S. V., Katz, J. T., Bates, D. W., Small, D. S., Volpp, K. G., Mott, C. G., Coats, S., Mollicone, D. J., & Dinges, D. F. (2021). Journal of Graduate Medical Education, 13(5), 717-721. 10.4300/JGME-D-21-00045.1
Background: Medical interns are at risk for sleep deprivation from long and often rotating work schedules. However, the effects of specific rotations on sleep are less clear. Objective: To examine differences in sleep duration and alertness among internal medicine interns during inpatient intensive care unit (ICU) compared to general medicine (GM) rotations. Methods: This secondary analysis compared interns during a GM or ICU rotation from a randomized trial (2015-2016) of 12 internal medicine residency programs assigned to different work hour limit policies (standard 16-hour shifts or no shift-length limits). The primary outcome was sleep duration/24-hour using continuous wrist actigraphy over a 13-day period. Secondary outcomes assessed each morning during the concomitant actigraphy period were sleepiness (Karolinska Sleepiness Scale [KSS]), alertness (number of Brief Psychomotor Vigilance Test [PVT-B] lapses), and self-report of excessive sleepiness over past 24 hours. Linear mixed-effect models with random program intercept determined associations between each outcome by rotation, controlling for age, sex, and work hour policy followed. Results: Of 398 interns, 386 were included (n = 261 GM, n = 125 ICU). Average sleep duration was 7.00±0.08h and 6.84±0.10h, and number of PVT lapses were 5.5±0.5 and 5.7±0.7 for GM and ICU, respectively (all P > .05). KSS was 4.8±0.1 for both rotations. Compared to GM, ICU interns reported more days of excessive sleepiness from 12am-6am (2.6 vs 1.7, P < .001) and 6am-12pm (2.6 vs 1.9, P = .013) and had higher percent of days with sleep duration < 6 hours (27.6% vs 23.4%, P < .001). GM interns reported more days with no excessive sleepiness (5.3 vs 3.7, P < .001). Conclusions: Despite ICU interns reporting more excessive sleepiness in morning hours and more days of insufficient sleep (<6 hours), overall sleep duration and alertness did not significantly differ between rotations.


Melanie, L. M., Li, C., Malone, S. K., Shang, S., Zhang, S., & Weaver, T. E. (2021). National Medical Journal of China, 101(22), 1642-1645. 10.3760/cma.j.cn112137-20210202-00322
Sleep health becomes an important component of global public health. The incidence of sleep disorders is increasing rapidly worldwide, which seriously affects people's quality of life. In China, the lack of professional sleep physicians and technicians, the distribution of sleep centers and the unbalanced development of medical resources have seriously restricted the development of sleep medicine and the improvement of sleep health guarantee level. In Europe and America and other developed countries, sleep medicine has become a new interdisciplinary discipline. The development of nurses as sleep coordinator has become an irresistible trend. Nurses have been trained to become the main force of sleep technicians. These successful attempts in the field of sleep medicine provide reference for promoting the development of nursing care in China from the aspects of medical care, teaching and research.

Efficacy of a sleep health intervention to optimize standard smoking cessation treatment response: Results from a pilot randomized controlled trial

Patterson, F., Grandner, M. A., Malone, S. K., Pohlig, R. T., Ashare, R. L., & Edwards, D. G. (2020). Journal of Smoking Cessation. 10.1017/jsc.2020.8
BackgroundWe tested if an adjunctive sleep health (SH) intervention improved smoking cessation treatment response by increasing quit rates. We also examined if baseline sleep, and improvements in sleep in the first weeks of quitting, were associated with quitting at the end of treatment.MethodsTreatment-seeking smokers (N = 29) aged 21-65 years were randomized to a SH intervention (n = 16), or general health (GH) control (n = 13) condition. Participants received six counseling sessions across 15-weeks: SH received smoking cessation + SH counseling; GH received smoking cessation + GH counseling. Counseling began 4-weeks before the target quit date (TQD), and varenicline treatment began 1-week prior to TQD. Smoking status and SH were assessed at baseline (week 1), TQD (week 4), 3 weeks after cessation (week 7), week 12, and at the end of treatment (EOT; week 15).ResultsSH versus GH participants had higher Carbon Monoxide (CO) -verified, 7-day point prevalence abstinence at EOT (69% vs. 54%, respectively; adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 2.10, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.40-10.69, P = 0.77). Higher baseline sleep efficiency (aOR = 1.42, 95% CI = 1.03-1.96, P = 0.03), predicted higher EOT cessation. Models were adjusted for age, sex, education, and baseline nicotine dependence.ConclusionsImproving SH in treatment-seeking smokers prior to cessation warrants further examination as a viable strategy to promote cessation.

Self-care in People with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Research Protocol of a Multicenter Mixed Methods Study (SCUDO)

Luciani, M., Fabrizi, D., Rebora, P., Rossi, E., Di Mauro, S., Kohl Malone, S., & Ausili, D. (2019). Professioni Infermieristiche, 72(3), 203-212. 10.7429/pi.2019.723203
About 11% of the adult global populations is estimated to be living with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) by 2040. T2DM requires people to make decisions regarding complex therapeutic regimes, to maintain their well-being and quality of life, to manage symptoms and to reduce disease complications. All these behaviours, requiring knowledge, motivation, experience, and skills, have been referred to the concept of self-care. The intricacy and multidimensionality of T2DM self-care requires a complex approach to its overall comprehension. This Embedded Mixed Method study aims to investigate the experience of self-care in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus adult patients. It comprises a prospective observational design, and an interpretive description. Quantitative data will be collected with validated questionnaires from 300 patients at baseline and once a year for two years on: diabetes self-care, quality of life, diabetes related distress, and sleep quality. Socio-demographic and clinical data will be collected from medical records. Qualitative data will be collected using semi-structured interviews on circa 10-20 patients, at baseline and once a year for two years, analysed according to interpretive description. Quantitative and qualitative data will be analysed separately and then merged and interpreted. This study will expand our understanding of self-care in people with T2DM. The expected outcome will be a better understanding of the effect of self-care on glycaemic control and therefore clinical outcomes and costs.