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College of Nursing Researcher Takes Diabetes Education to the Community

UC's Trudy Gaillard harnesses her personal passion for healthy living with an educational focus on minority health research.

Date: 5/29/2015
By: Kara Driscoll
Phone: (513) 556-6415
Photos By: Provided
University of Cincinnati researcher Trudy Gaillard uses community-based, preventative education to help patients with diabetes manage their diagnoses.

With extensive experience in teaching and research, Gaillard joined the UC community as an assistant professor in the College of Nursing in August 2014. Coming up on her one-year anniversary at the university, Gaillard has already immersed herself in work, including a new nursing research study.

In June, Gaillard and a team of UC collaborators will start research focused on assessing mild cognitive impairment in persons with pre-diabetes in the elderly community residents. She will partner with Maple Knoll Village in Springdale, Ohio. Gaillard works with students, nurses, physicians and members of the community to enrich her research.

Originally from New Jersey, Gaillard attended Rutgers University for her undergraduate years, and earned her master’s in community health from Jersey City University.

From there, she earned another master’s in nursing from Johns Hopkins University. It was there that she found her passion for nursing research.

“I was really exposed to nurses who were independent researchers,” she said. “They taught me the importance of community involvement, collaboration and forming a team but must importantly the role of nurses as researchers. I just became really excited about the opportunities of seeing how well your research can go when you engage with others.”

Prior to coming to UC, Gaillard was a member of the faculty at Ohio State University’s Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. Her research at OSU also focused on prevention of diabetes.

Aiming to improve the understanding of cardiovascular health disparities between African-American and Caucasian-American women, Gaillard worked on an OSU-funded pilot study that led the way for the development of a relatively inexpensive preventive therapy for cardiovascular disease in African-American women.

Gaillard’s research examined the effects of aspirin on the functionality of HDL-C, called the “good cholesterol.” The functionality has a role in the prevention of heart disease. Her study looked at whether aspirin increased the activity of a certain enzyme in African-American and Caucasian-American women.

Gaillard said her diabetes research felt like a natural progression because of the effect the disease has had on her family.

“I am a person with diabetes and I come from a strong family history of people with diabetes,” she said. “My mom had diabetes, both of my grandmothers had diabetes. It made sense for me to focus on the importance of education and management as a way to live healthy with diabetes.”

Gaillard said she’s appreciated the collaborations she’s made and the support she has received at UC. Her increased interactions with students have enabled her to shape the next crop of nursing researchers. She encourages students interested in research to throw themselves into a topic that they are passionate about and committed to.

“Nurses are important because they help bridge the gap in understanding,” she said. “Nurses take the time to explain chronic diseases to patients, try and take the time to understand barriers, and help patients comprehend what their condition means. They help them put an action plan together, with the hope of leading to a healthier more productive life.”