Dr. Barbosa-Leiker is the PhD Program Director, Assistant Professor, and Director of our Program of Excellence in Addictions Research (PEAR). She has a PhD in psychology from Washington State University and has an extensive research portfolio. To learn more about Dr. Barbosa-Leiker and her research, visit her profile page.

Why did you accept the role as PhD program director at WSU College of Nursing?

I want to help nurses become independent researchers and scholars. Patient-related research is essential for improved healthcare, and nurses have the clinical experiences to fully understand how their research can better the lives of patients and families.

What do you feel is the best part of our program? What should prospective applicants know before applying?

The main comment we receive from our students is that our faculty and staff are very supportive, collegial, and attentive. Since we are on a Health Sciences campus, we work closely with colleagues in Pharmacy and Medicine, and our students take courses with other PhD students from other health science programs. Our College of Nursing faculty are from numerous health professions (psychology, health policy, epidemiology, health informatics) and this leads to a rich and interprofessional experience for our students.

Who should apply to our program?

Nurses who want to generate new knowledge directed toward changing nursing science, healthcare, and nursing practice change should apply to our PhD program. Our PhD students learn how to design, conduct, and disseminate research that will benefit patients and the field of nursing. Our research focuses on behavioral health, veteran’s health, addictions, pedagogy, and health disparities.

What support, financial and other, do we give our students in our program?

Our PhD students have research and teaching assistantships, funding from the Jonas Center, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Johnson & Johnson/AACN scholarships. The PhD students enter a comprehensive, mentored program and have access to our research office, health sciences library, and an interdisciplinary faculty.

What support is available for students to conduct research and complete their dissertation?

PhD students are matched with a dissertation advisor that aligns best with the student’s research interest. Students are able to network, present at conferences, and publish research papers during their time at WSU. A dissertation is made up of at least 3 faculty members that work closely with the student to plan, design, implement, and disseminate their dissertation. We also help students apply for scholarships, grants, and awards.

What would you tell prospective applicants thinking of earning their PhD from WSU?

Come and talk to us and learn more about how a PhD in Nursing from WSU can help you achieve your professional goals!
Sarah Wilson
Program Coordinator