Ellyn Matthews is an associate professor in the College of Nursing and an advanced oncology certified nurse specialist (AOCNS). She is certified by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine in behavioral sleep medicine (CBSM). Her primary research focus is to understand symptom science and improve symptom management in populations with chronic illness with a focus on cancer patients. Specific areas of interest include interventions for sleep disturbance and psychosocial distress, among other symptoms, in a variety of cancer populations. In a recent randomized controlled trial, Matthews tested cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTI) compared to behavioral placebo therapy in breast cancer survivors following completion of primary cancer treatment (1K23 NR010507-01). In an extension of this research, she addressed the issues of adherence to CBTI in an American Nurses Foundation award (#2010-049) titled, “Motivational Enhancement to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia in Women after Breast Cancer Treatment.” She has published articles and book chapters on topics including sleep disturbances in cancer survivors, critically ill hospitalized patients, and pregnant women; obstructive sleep apnea; and adherence to behavioral therapy.
Matthews has explored sleep disturbances in other populations. As the co-PI in a Colorado Center for Translational Research and Clinical Translational Research Center funded study, she extended her research to include sleep patterns and stress indicators (e.g., salivary cortisol, perceived stress) of mothers and children with acute lymphocytic leukemia compared with matched controls. Matthews is the primary sponsor of a College of Nursing PhD student through a NIH/NINR National Research Service Award (NRSA). This NRSA research study will test internet-based therapy to improve sleep in rural breast cancer survivors, (PI, M. McCarthy; 1F31NR012097). Currently, she is the PI of the study, Sleep Disturbances in Veterans with Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury, at the Denver Veterans Administration Medical Center, VISN 19 Mental Illness Research Education Clinical Center (MIRECC). She is also a co-investigator of a VA Office of Rural Health funded study, Rural Women Veterans Psycho-education and Skill Building Retreat, which includes strategies to address sleep disturbances.