UMass Boston Professor Honored for Work Looking at Fall Risks in Older People

March 30, 2011

Office of Communications


The Eastern Nursing Research Society (ENRS) has honored Professor of Nursing Suzanne Leveille with the John A. Hartford Geriatric Research Award for her research looking at the relationship between pain and fall risks in older people.

The Eastern Nursing Research Society, a group of RNs and others interested in promoting nursing research, gives out awards annually to members who have demonstrated outstanding contributions in nursing research.

“It’s a wonderful honor. The Eastern Nursing Research Society is a very highly-regarded nursing research organization,” Leveille said.

Leveille’s colleagues nominated her for her work on the MOBILIZE Boston study. The study found older adults who had muscular skeletal pain in two or more locations (e.g., knees, ankles, hips), had a more than 50 percent increase in risk for having a fall.

UMass Boston worked on the study with the Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew SeniorLife; the project was funded through a major grant from the National Institute on Aging.

Leveille was unable to attend the March 25 award ceremony in person, but one of her students, Hermine Poghosyan, accepted the award on her behalf.

Leveille thanked her UMass Boston colleagues for their enthusiasm and support in her acceptance speech, which Poghosyan delivered: “The University of Massachusetts Boston is a very special institution with a brilliant faculty that has tremendous spirit and commitment to our outstanding nursing students.”

Leveille said she is expecting the MOBILIZE Boston study to get renewed for another five years.

“In this new study, we’re hoping to look further into some of the pathways whereby pain contributes to falls,” Leveille said. “So we’re looking at some of the cognitive effects of pain and also ways in which pain can interfere in some of the cognitive aspects of mobility.”

Leveille’s other projects include: