Neuroscience Program

Kathy C. Richards

Kathy C. Richards

Kathy C. Richards

Assistant Professor, Assistant Dean of the Doctoral Division and Research Development

Dr. Kathy C. Richards, Assistant Dean of the Doctoral Division and Research Development, is a nationally renowned sleep and geriatrics researcher. Previously at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), she was the Director of the Center for Integrative Science in Aging. Prior to UPenn, Dr. Richards was at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Nursing, where she served as the Alice Sun Professor of Nursing and Director of the NIH funded Tailored Biobehavioral Interventions Research Center. Dr. Richards helped establish and was Co-Director of the John A. Hartford Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence. She was the Associate Director for Health Services Research, Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System.

Dr. Richards’ experience in translational sleep and aging research spans over 20 years. The focus of her research has been on improving sleep and delaying cognitive decline in older adults. She conducted randomized controlled clinical trials of interventions, such as massage, exercise and individualized social activity programs, resulting in large, clinically significant improvements in sleep and other debilitating symptoms in institutionalized and hospitalized older adults. She developed and validated measures, including a measure of sleep quality for use in critically ill older adults. Dr. Richards conducted studies that have illuminated relationships between sleep disorders, such as restless legs syndrome, and behavioral symptoms, such as wandering, in community-dwelling older adults with cognitive impairment. Her program of research has advanced the science regarding design of clinical trials to test the efficacy of tailored, patient-centered interventions. The results of her research are disseminated in over 100 publications. At George Mason, she is the Principal Investigator on the "Mild Cognitive Impairment and Obstructive Sleep Apnea" study funded by the National Institute on Aging.

In teaching, Dr. Richards mentored undergraduate, pre- and post-doctoral fellows, NIH Career Development awardees as well as supervised undergraduate, master's level and doctoral dissertation students. She taught in undergraduate and graduate courses, mainly research methods and sleep medicine. At the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Richards established the Biomarkers Special Interest Group in partnership with the Biobehavioral Research Center. This cross center think tank was designed to strengthen the research of faculty, scholars and fellows. She also headed bimonthly Geroscholar Sessions for all pre- and post-doctoral scholars in aging. At George Mason, Dr. Richards leads monthly "Excellence in Nursing Research" meetings on behalf of faculty and students to promote and facilitate quality research. In Spring 2012, she will launch an inter-disciplinary, scholarly, Sleep Special Interest Group forum open to all university-wide faculty and students interested in sleep research.

Dr. Richards serves as a grant reviewer for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Health Services Research and Development Scientific Review Board; the Department of Veterans Affairs, Nursing Research Initiative Scientific Review Board; the Alzheimer's Association Scientific Review Board; and the National Institute on Aging. She is a manuscript reviewer for the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, and Sleep.

Dr. Richards received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, her Master of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Arizona, and her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Nursing from the University of Texas. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.

Selected Publications

Song, Y.S., Jung, L., Richards, K.C. (2012). Dementia and Sleep Disturbances. Aging Health.

Zhou, Q.P., Jung, L., Richards, K.C. (2012). The Management of Sleep and Circadian Disturbance in Patients with Dementia. Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports.

Coleman, E.A., Goodwin, J.A., Coon, S.K., Richards, K.C., Enderlin, C., Kennedy, R., Stewart, C.B., McNatt, P., Lockhart, K., Anaissie, E.J., Barlogie, B. (2011). Fatigue, Sleep, Pain, Mood, and Performance Status in Patients with Multiple Myeloma. Cancer Nursing, 34(3), 219-227.

Rose, K.M., Beck, C., Tsai, P., Liem, P.H., Davila, D.D., Kleban, M., Gooneratne, N.S., Kalra, G., Richards, K.C. (2011). Sleep disturbances and nocturnal agitation behaviors in older adults with dementia. Sleep, 34(6), 779-786.

Tsai, P., Kuo, Y., Beck, C., Richards, K.C., Means, K., Pate, B., Keefe, F. (2011). Non-verbal cues to osteoarthritic knee and/or hip pain in elders. Research in Nursing and Health, 34, 218-227.

Riegel, B., Glaser, D., Richards, K.C., Sayers, S.L., Marzolf, A., Weinstraub, W.S., Goldberg, R. (2011). Modifiable factors associated with sleep dysfunction in adults with heart failure. European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing.

Sawyer, A.M., Canamucio, A., Moriarty, H., Weaver, T.E., Richards, K.C., Kuna, S.T. (2011). Do cognitive perceptions influence CPAP use? Patient Education and Counseling, 85(1), 85-91.

Gooneratne, N., Tavaria, A., Patel, N., Madhusudan, L., Nadaraja, D., Onen, F., Richards, K.C. (2011). Perceived Effectiveness of Diverse Sleep Treatments in Older Adults. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 59(2), 297-303.

Sawyer, A.M., Gooneratne, N., Marcus, C.L., Ofer, D., Richards, K.C., Weaver, T.E. (2011). A systematic review of CPAP adherence across age groups: clinical and empiric insights for developing CPAP adherence interventions.Sleep Medicine Reviews.

Gooneratne N.S., Richards K.C., Joffe M., Lam R.W., Pack F., Staley B., Dinges D., Pack A.I. (2011). Sleep-disordered breathing with excessive daytime sleepiness is a risk factor for mortality in older adults. Sleep, 34(4), 435-442.

Beck, C., Richards, K.C., Lambert, C., Doan, R., Landes, R., Whall, A., Algase, D., Kolanowski, A., Feldman, Z. (2011). Factors associated with problematic vocalizations in nursing home residents with dementia. The Gerontologist.

Richards, K.C., Lambert C., Beck, C.K., Bliwise, D.L., Evans, W.J., Kalra, G. K., Kleban, M.H., Lorenz, R., Rose, K., Gooneratne, N., Sullivan, D. (2011). Strength training and walking exercise and social activity improve sleep.Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 59: 214-223.