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About Keela A. Herr

Keela Herr, PhD, RN, FAAN, AGSF is Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty Services in the College of Nursing at The University of Iowa and Academic Associate, Department of Nursing Services and Patient Care, University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics in Iowa City. Previous academic leadership positions include serving as Interim Head of the Division of Nursing at Truman State University and as the Director of the RN-BSN Program at the University of Iowa. She is currently Research Director for the Iowa John A. Hartford Foundation Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence, and Co-Director of the Regional Training Core of the Gerontological Nursing Interventions Research Center. Herr is a current Fellow in the Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow Program. Dr. Herr received her MSN degree in medical-surgical nursing with emphasis in gerontology and education in 1977 and her PhD in nursing from the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing in 1986. She was employed at Northeast Missouri State University from 1977 until 1987 when she joined the faculty at the College of Nursing in Iowa City.
Over the past 20 years, Dr. Herr has been engaged in a program of research and scholarly and professional activities that has focused on the problem of pain in older adults. She is currently Principal Investigator of a study funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) on “Cancer Pain in Elders: Facilitating Use of Evidence Based Practices in Hospices” and Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI) on a project funded by NINR testing a clinical algorithm for pain management in the nursing home setting. In addition, she has conducted NIH-National Institute of Nursing Research-funded research to establish appropriate tools for evaluating pain intensity in this population and has extended that with a colleague to pain tool use in minority older adults. Dr. Herr was also Co-PI on the Robert Wood Johnson funded project “Improving the Quality of End-of-Life Care in Iowa” and provided leadership for a project that focused on establishing Pain as a 5th Vital Sign in Iowa health care organizations as a step toward improving end of life care. She also was Co-PI on an AHRQ-funded research project “Evidence-Based Practice: From Book to Bedside-Acute Pain Management in the Elderly”, that examined interventions to improve adoption of clinical practice guidelines for pain management in elders in health care organizations.. Dr. Herr has been principal or co-investigator of 22 research projects totaling over $11 million focused on the problem of geriatric pain. Dr. Herr presents broadly on pain-related topics to interdisciplinary geriatric audiences across the country and the world, and has numerous publications on the topic of geriatric pain, including an annual handbook, Geriatrics at Your Fingertips, and is editor of a guidebook, Improving the Lives of Older Adults with Persistent Pain: An Interdisciplinary Guide.

Dr. Herr is an active member of several professional organizations related to geriatric pain, including the American Society for Pain Management Nurses (ASPMN), the American Geriatric Society (AGS). The American Society (APS), and the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP). She completed service on the Board of Directors for the American Society for Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN) and the American Pain Society (APS), and is currently serving on the Board of Directors for the American Geriatrics Society (AGS). She served on the expert panels of the AGS to develop national clinical practice guidelines for chronic/persistent pain management in older adults. Dr. Herr was honored with the Nurse Exemplar Award from the ASPMN (2003) in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the field of pain management nursing, was the recipient of the Elizabeth Narcessian Award for Outstanding Educational Achievements in professional education in the field of pain by the APS (2005), and received the award for Nurse Excellence in Pain Management of the Older Adult from the ASPMN (2006). She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and the American Geriatric Society.
PhD in Nursing, University of Texas at Austin
MSN in Medical-Surgical Nursing, University of Texas at Austin
BSN, Northeast Missouri State University


Present Chair of the Adult and Gerontology Area of Study, University of Iowa
Present Professor, College of Nursing, University of Iowa
Present Research Director, John A. Hartford Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence
Present Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow, University of Iowa

Curriculum Vitae


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Contact Information

452 College of Nursing Building


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