School of Nursing’s Dr. Christopher Lee receives leadership award

Christopher Lee, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.H.A., an associate professor at the OHSU School of Nursing, has dedicated his career to improving the lives of patients with heart disease, the No. 1 killer for both men and women in the U.S. He was recently selected to receive the 2014 Nursing Leadership Award from the Heart Failure Society of America for his work with the HFSA’s Interdisciplinary Advocacy Committee and for research on improving outcomes of patients with heart failure. The award will be presented at the society’s annual meeting this fall.

As part of the HFSA’s advocacy committee, Dr. Lee led efforts to create a joint position statement with the American Association of Heart Failure Nurses advocating for nurses to be able to practice to the full extent of their training to improve the health of patients with heart failure. In several states, nurses are limited by laws or other policies that prevent them from writing prescriptions or require them to be supervised physicians. In the statement authored by Dr. Lee and collaborators, the HFSA and AAHFN advocate for changes to current policies which would allow nurses to be fully engaged as part of the patient care team as well as take on leadership roles in organizations where health policy decisions are made.

“All health care practitioners need to be able to engage as much as they have been trained to offset large health care expenditures and improve quality of life,” Dr. Lee said. “I was thrilled to represent the School of Nursing and OHSU at large in this process and to have formal recognition of my unyielding dedication to high-level national service in the name of nursing advocacy.”

In addition to his advocacy work, Dr. Lee runs a biobehavioral research program on heart failure that uses qualitative measures such as quality of life and symptom burden to provide new insights to a disease that is traditionally studied by looking at lab results and numbers. His goal is to learn as much as he can from patients living with heart failure so that scientists can improve the state of the field for patients in the future. He has received research funding from the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, and OHSU’s BIRCWH K12 Scholar Program.