Dr. Karen Devereaux Melillo is Professor and Chair, Department of Nursing, and former Coordinator of the Gerontological Nurse Practitioner Program at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. This program was named to the top tier of graduate nursing programs for this specialty by U.S. News and World Report, the only New England College or University recognized.
She earned her Ph.D. from Brandeis University’s Florence Heller School for the Advanced Study of Social Welfare in 1990, where her studies focused on aging, long-term care and health policy. She received her Master of Science Degree in Gerontological Nursing from the University of Lowell in 1978, which prepared her as a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner; in 1998, she was awarded the Francis Cabot Lowell Outstanding Alumni Award for the College of Health Professions at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She was also selected as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and for the Distinguished Alumni Award from Massachusetts Bay Community College, both in 2001. In 2009, she was selected as a Fellow in the Gerontological Society of America. Since coming to the University in 1982, she has established an active research program on the utilization of Nurse Practitioners in institutional long-term care, for which she received the American College of Health Care Administrators Long-Term Care Research Award.
Her research has focused on health promotion, specifically physical fitness and exercise activity of older adults, as well as the application of a wandering technology device for older adults with Alzheimer’s disease. She is Co-Investigator, for U.S. Bureau of Health Professions, Division of Nursing, Health Resources and Services Administration, Advanced Education in Nursing (1 D09HP19005, 2010 to 2013) grant entitled, "UMass Lowell DNPs Caring for the Underserved". She is also Co-Investigator for the "On the move for nursing's future: Bring diversity to nursing mobile simulation laboratory, HRSA Workforce Diversity Equipment Grant, (2010-2011). She is currently Principal Investigator on a 3-year funded study from the Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Health Professions, Division of Nursing, Nursing Workforce Diversity (D19HP009221) and from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities: Workforce Development grant (2007-2012), for the Bring Diversity to Nursing project, totaling over $1M. She was a Co-Investigator on a 5-year, $3.5M National Institutes of Health, NIOSH-funded study on “Health Disparities Among Healthcare Workers,” where she led the qualitative case study research effort in two nursing homes.
Dr. Melillo has over 70 peer-reviewed publications. The second edition of Melillo, K.D. & Houde, Geropsychiatric and mental health nursing (2011) is now available, by Jones and Bartlett Publishers. She is a manuscript reviewer for a number of journals, including Geriatric Nursing, and is an Editorial Advisory Board member for the Journal of Gerontological Nursing. She is an abstract reviewer for the Gerontological Society of America, National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. From 2008-2010, she served as an Expert Panel member on the American Academy of Nursing/Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing, Geropsychiatric Nursing Core Competency Workgroup and on the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing’s, Transitioning to Adult-Gerontology APRN Education: Ensuring the APRN Workforce is Prepared to Care for Older Adults, NP Expert Panel. She is active in a number of national professional associations, state task forces, and local Boards, including D’Youville Senior Care.
She is Past-President of the Eta Omega Chapter, Sigma Theta Tau International, the Honor Society of Nursing.
Research Interests and Collaborations