MaryJo Gilmer

MaryJo Gilmer

Associate Professor, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennesee, USA


Mary Jo Gilmer is Director of the Pediatric Palliative Care Research Team and Professor in the Vanderbilt School of Nursing and Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital. A graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Nursing, Mary Jo began her career in nursing at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois while she completed her MSN degree at the University of Illinois. She worked as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Pediatric Cardiovascular Surgery before receiving a Commonwealth Fund Executive Nurse Fellowship to pursue an MBA at Queens University.  Dr. Gilmer earned her PhD in nursing at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. 

Before coming to Vanderbilt, Dr. Gilmer was on the faculty at Queens University from 1983-1998. Throughout her career, she has received numerous awards for her research and teaching expertise: National Co-Alliance for Teaching Excellence Award; Great 100, North Carolina Foundation for Nursing Award; Sigma Theta Research Award; McColl Faculty Research Award; Julia Hereford Teaching Award and Excellence in Teaching Award from Educational Resources, Inc. She has been a leader in several international healthcare projects, including initiatives in Belize, Uganda, China, Italy and Ecuador.Dr. Gilmer’s research and practice have focused on enhancing care of children with life-threatening conditions. Her work at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt  involved establishment of an interdisciplinary team to develop research initiatives; clinical services in palliative care; education and training and support services in palliative care. Her current research is focused on parent-sibling bereavement after a child dies from cancer; parent-child communication about cancer; legacy-making to reduce suffering of children with cancer and the role of animal-assisted therapy in children newly diagnosed with cancer.

Research Interest

intercultural competence, nursing shortage, overseas recruitment

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