Dr. Tracey Vitori, Assistant Professor of Nursing at University of Tennessee, Knoxville, was selected to participate in the prestigious Butler-Williams Scholars Program for emerging researchers in 2020.
The program, an initiative of the NIH’s National Institute on Aging (NIA), provided a series of lectures, seminars and small group discussions virtually this year in early July. The focus was on topics related to aging across the racial/ethnic spectrum, including the biology of aging, genetics and Alzheimer’s disease, and other issues dealing with health, behavior and aging. Additional discussion sessions focused on methodological approaches and policy-based interventions. Approximately forty international scholars and researchers are invited to participate each year.
The basis for Dr. Vitori’s selection as a B-W Scholar stems from her innovative program of study including, postoperative complications following cardiac surgery. Dr. Vitori is investigating how risks understood by patient and caregivers including those unforeseen risks impact their quality of recovery. Her initial research on the psychological distress following cardiac surgery in patients and caregivers provided an excellent foundation for further exploration in postoperative complications and recovery expectations in patients and caregivers.
Thus, investigating expectations of surgical success determined by medical facilities may be very different those determined by patients, especially when their quality of life has shifted significantly and results are different than anticipated. Her study will examine if better ways of risk stratification and communication may help tame postoperative expectations and recovery strain. Dr. Vitori hopes that her study will illuminate a potentially critical link for helping patients avoid negative cardiovascular outcomes as they live longer, healthier lives.
The program provides qualified individuals an opportunity to further their knowledge through lectures, seminars, and small-group discussions in research design relative to aging, including issues relevant to aging of racial and ethnic minorities.
Dr. Vitori received her PhD from the University of Kentucky and her Master’s degrees from Wright State University in Dayton OH, Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, OH. She is an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and clinically practices with the cardiothoracic surgery and critical care teams.
The Butler-Williams Scholars Program is sponsored by the NIA with support from the National Hartford Centers of Gerontological Nursing Excellence.