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Karen Sousa, PhD, RN, FAAN


Karen Sousa

Karen Sousa's career goal is to improve patient care through research that focuses on developing and testing conceptual models of quality of life as a nursing practice outcome. She has expertise in developing and applying advanced statistical methods (e.g., structural equation modeling) as appropriate analytical strategies to yield a greater understanding of complex nursing outcomes. Dr. Sousa’s teaching interests include nursing theory/conceptualization and psychometrics.

Dr. Sousa has made outstanding contributions to nursing science in two important areas. The first is discovering the utility of Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) in analyzing nursing-related phenomena. As a nursing pioneer in the application of SEM, she has demonstrated its use in cluster analysis, instrument development, theory confirmation, construct validation, and establishment of conceptual equivalence in multi-group analyses (e. g., comparing English- and Spanish-speaking groups). Dr. Sousa's second major area of contribution is advancing health-related quality of life (HRQOL) as a supremely relevant patient outcome. Dr. Sousa has developed a conceptual model that captures HRQOL across time, allowing for exploration of care processes and identification of nursing best practices. 

Most recently, Dr. Sousa has developed a ground-breaking initiative, the Colorado Collaborative for Nursing Research (CCNR). Launched in 2013 with partners from 7 regional/national healthcare systems, the CCNR aims to (a) isolate and quantify quality nursing care by developing new, robust, nurse-sensitive patient-outcome metrics and (b) capture the impact of nursing care by demonstrating one-to-one links between nursing best practices and patient best outcomes. The CCNR is fulfilling its mission by building a nursing-focused, distributed data-sharing network. This network will get trending data to nurse leaders in near-real-time. 

Dr. Sousa was appointed to the Research and Scholarship Advisory Council by the President of Sigma Theta Tau International as well as recruited to be the co-director of the International Society of Quality of Life Research Annual Conference. She has been a member of the Academy of Nursing since 2009 and is a member of the American Nurses Association, Sigma Theta Tau International, and the International Society for Quality of Life Research. She was also recognized as an Emerging Leader at the University of Colorado in 2009.

Degree Awarding Institution Field of Study Graduation Date
BS University of California, San Francisco, California Nursing 1978
MS University of California, San Francisco, California Perinatal Nursing 1983
PhD University of California, San Francisco, California Nursing 1996
  1. Sousa, K. H., Weiss, J., Welton, J., Reeder, B., & Ozkaynak, M. (2015). The Colorado Collaborative for Nursing Research: Nurses shaping nursing's future. Nursing Outlook, 63(2), 204-210.
  2. Sousa, K. H., Kwok, O., Schmiege, S., & West, S. G. (2014). A longitudinal approach to understanding the relationship between symptom status and QOL. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 36(6), 732-747.
  3. Yen, P. Y., Sousa, K. H., & Bakken, S. (2014). Examining construct and predictive validity of the Health-IT Usability Evaluation Scale: Confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling results. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 21, E2.
  4. Gilmartin, H., Grota, P. G., & Sousa, K. H. (2013). Isolation: A concept analysis. Nursing Forum, 48(1), 54-60.
  5. Sousa, K. H., West, S. G., Moser, S. E., Harris, J. A., & Cook, S. W. (2012). Establishing measurement invariance: English and Spanish Paediatric Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire. Nursing Resarch, 61(3), 171-180.
  6. Corwin, E., Meek, P., Cook, P., Lowe, N., & Sousa, K. H. (2012). Shape Shifters: Biobehavioral determinants and phenomena in symptom research. Nursing Outlook, 60, 191-197.
  7. Ryu, E., West, S. G., & Sousa, K. H. (2012). Distinguishing between-person and within-person relationships in longitudinal health research: Arthritis and quality of life. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 43, 330-342.
  8. Matthews, E. E., Schmiege, S. J., Cook, P., & Sousa, K. H. (2011) Breast cancer and symptom clusters during radiotherapy. Cancer Nursing, 35(2), E1.
  9. Sousa, K. H., McDermott, C. M. (student), & Weiss, J. (student) (2011). The importance of assessing symptoms and symptom clusters in critical care units. Advanced Critical Care Journal, 22(3), 275-282.
  10. Cook, P. F., Sousa, K. H. , Matthews, E., Meek, P., & Kwong, J. (2011). Patterns of change in symptom clusters with HIV disease progression. Journal of Pain & Symptom Management, 42(1), 12-23.
  11. Ryu, E., (student) West, S. G., & Sousa, K. H. (2009). Combining mediation and moderation: Testing relationships between symptom status, functional health, and quality of life in HIV patients. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 44(2), 213-232.
  12. Sousa, K. H., Kwok, O. (student), Ryu, E. (student), & Cook, S. W. (2008). Confirmation of the validity of the HAQ-DI in two populations living with chronic illnesses. The Journal of Nursing Measurement, 16(1), 31-42.
  13. Sousa, K. H., Ryu, E. (student), Kwok, O. (student), Cook, S. W., & West, S. G. (2007) Development of a model to measure symptom status in persons living with rheumatoid arthritis. Nursing Research, 56(6). 434-440.
  14. Lucero, R. (student), & Sousa, K. H. (2006) Participation and change in the nurse work environment. Visions: The Journal of Rogerian Nursing Science, 14(2), 48-59.
  15. Sousa, K. H., & Kwok, O. (student) (2006) Putting Wilson and Cleary to the test: Analysis of a HRQOL conceptual model using structural equation modeling. Journal of Quality of Life Research, 15, 725-737.
  16. Sousa, K. H., Tann, S., & Kwok, O. (student) (2006). Reconsidering the assessment of symptom status in HIV-AIDS care. Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, 17(2), 36-46.
  17. Chen, F. F. (student), West, S. G., & Sousa, K. H. (2006). A comparison of bifactor and second-order models of quality of life. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 41(2), 189-224.
  18. Tann, S., Sousa, K. H., & Kwok, O. (student) (2005). Cross-cultural model testing: Quality of life in a Latino population living with HIV. Hispanic Health Care International, 3(2), 103-115.
  19. Chen, F. F. (student), Sousa, K. H., & West, S. G. (2005). Testing measurement invariance of second-order factor models. Journal of Structural Equation Modeling, 12(3), 471-492.
  20. Velayos, F. S., Williamson, A., Sousa, K. H., Lung, E., Bostrom, A., Weber, E. J., Ostroff, J. W., & Terdiman, J. P. (2004). Early predictors of severe lower gastrointestinal bleeding and adverse outcomes: A prospective study. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 2, 485-490.
  21. Sousa, K. H., & Chen, F. F. (student) (2003). Latent mean structure analysis: A technique to compare group differences in a second-order quality of life model. The Journal of Nursing Measurement, 11(3), 253-66.
  22. Sousa, K. H., Zunkel, G. M., & Holman, E. J. (2003). Optimizing mental health in an academic nurse-managed clinic. The Journal of American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, 15(7), 313-318.
  23. Sousa, K. H., & Williamson, A. (2003). Symptom status and health-related quality of life: Clinical relevance. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 42(6), 571-577.
  • 2015 Co-Investigator, Electronic Data Methods Forum, Analyzing Pain in Electronic Health Data to Improve Patient Care Quality (funded 2015-16).
  • 2015 Principal Investigator, Vice Chancellor Funds, Understanding Symptom Cluster Trajectories for Acute Care Patients--Colorado Collaborative for Nursing Research Project (funded 2015-16).
  • 2011 Consultant, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Submitted November 2011, The Seamless Integrated Pathway to Baccalaureate Education: A Collaborative Model with a Community College and a University College of Nursing (Round 2).
  • 2011 Principal Investigator, National Institutes of Health, R13 CA162880-01, Pushing the Boundaries: Frontiers of Health-Related Quality of Life Research, (funded).
  • 2010 Co-Sponsor, National Institutes of Health (NRSA), Improve Sleep in Rural Breast Cancer Survivors, (funded).
  • 2008 Principal Investigator, National Institutes of Health, R15NR010632, Pediatric Quality of Life: Is it lost in traduccion?
  • 2002-04 Principal Investigator, National Institutes of Health, R01 NR04817-03S1, supplement to Health-Related Quality of Life in Arthritis and AIDS.
  • 2001-02 Principal Investigator, Agency for Healthcare Research and Policy, R13 HS12061-01 Program Grant, Optimizing Outcome Research for Nursing Practice.
  • 2000-04 Principal Investigator, National Institutes of Health, R01 NR04817-01A2, Health-Related Quality of Life in Arthritis and AIDS.