Dr. Matthews is an Associate Professor in the College of Nursing. An advanced oncology certified nurse, her primary research focus is on understanding symptom physiology and improving symptom management in 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, Dr. Matthews compared the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTI) and behavioral placebo therapy in breast cancer survivors suffering from insomnia 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 sleep disturbances in cancer survivors and critically ill hospitalized patients, obstructive sleep apnea, symptom clusters, and adherence to behavioral therapy.
Dr. Matthews has explored sleep disturbances in other cancer 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) of mothers and children with acute lymphocytic leukemia compared with matched controls. Dr. 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).
Dr. Matthews utilizes both quantitative and qualitative methods in her research.