Lonnie Nelson
Assistant Professor 206-708-8623 SNRS 414B 412 Spokane Falls Blvd., Spokane, WA 99202

Lonnie Nelson is an Assistant Professor at the College of Nursing. He has extensive clinical and research experience in neurocognitive assessment and in rehabilitation interventions for people with brain injury. As an American Indian with origins in the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Dr. Nelson is also engaged in research, education, and training to improve the health and well-being of Native Americans. His research uses a community-based approach to ensure that all activities result in long-term improvements in the lives of participating community members. His past efforts include extensive assessment and rehabilitation of soldiers returning from military deployment with blast-related brain injury. Other previous research includes neurocognitive and physical assessments of American Indian elders for the Strong Heart Stroke Study, which enrolled members of twelve tribal communities in three states; and neurocognitive, physical, and brain MRI assessments of community-dwelling American Indians in the Seattle metropolitan area for a pilot program of the University of Washington Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. From 2006 to 2008, Dr. Nelson was a trainee in the long-running, highly successful Native Investigator Development Program of the Native Elder Research Center, which is funded by the National Institute on Aging. This program prepares American Indian and Alaska Native professionals at the PhD and MD level for independent careers in research to redress population health disparities. Since 2009, Dr. Nelson has been a faculty mentor with the Native Investigator Development Program.


  • PhD in Clinical Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ Postdoctoral Fellowship in Rehabilitation Neuropsychology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
  • MA in Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
  • BA in Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ


1) Research, education, and interventions to mitigate health disparities among American Indians and Alaska Natives, 2) career training to prepare underserved minorities at the professional level for independent research programs in population health disparities, and 3) screening, diagnosis, and treatment of traumatic brain injury.


  • National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Program Awardee, American Indian and Alaska Native health disparities, 2014-present
  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality/University of Washington Patient-Centered Outcomes Research K12 Career Development Award, 2012
  • Energy Medicine Fellowship, Canyon Ranch, Tucson, AZ, 1997
  • Sacred Mountain Science and Engineering Scholarship (NASA NGT-90028 1990), 1993


  • The University of Washington Patient Centered Outcomes Research Partnership
  • Innovative Multigenerational Intervention to Reduce Stroke and Cardiovascular Disease
  • Native Elder Research Center
  •  Behavioral Health Collaborative for Rural American Indian Communities


Nelson L, Rhoades D, Noonan C, Manson S. Traumatic brain injury and mental health among two American Indian populations. J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2007;22:105-112.

Nelson L, Yoash-Gantz R, Campbell T, Pickett T. Relationship between processing speed and executive functioning performance among OEF/OIF veterans: implications for postdeployment rehabilitation. J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2009;24:32-40.

Brenner L, Ivins BJ, Schwab K, Warden D, Nelson L, Jaffee M, Terrio H. Traumatic brain injury, posttraumatic stress disorder, and postconcussive symptom reporting among troops returning from Iraq. J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2010;25:307-312.

Terrio H, Nelson L, Betthauser L, Harwood J, Brenner L. Postdeployment traumatic brain injury screening questions: sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values in returning soldiers. Rehabil Psychol. 2011;56:26-31.

Cooper D, Nelson L, Armistead-Jehle P, Bowles A. Utility of the Mild Brain Injury Atypical Symptoms Scale as a screening measure for symptom over-reporting in Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom service members with post-concussive complaints. Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2011;26:718-727.

Nelson L, Macdonald M, Stall C, Pazdan R. Effects of interactive metronome therapy on cognitive functioning after blast-related brain injury: a randomized controlled pilot trial. Neuropsychology 2013;27:666-679.

Ney JP, van der Goes DN, Nuwer MR, Nelson L, Eccher MA. Continuous and routine EEG in intensive care: utilization and outcomes, United States 2005-2009. Neurology. 2013;81(23):2002-8.

Jacob MM, Gonzales KL, Calhoun Dthe s, Beals J, Muller CJ, Goldberg J, Nelson L, Welty TK, Howard BV. Psychological trauma symptoms and Type 2 diabetes prevalence, glucose control, and treatment modality among American Indians in the Strong Heart Family Study. J Diabetes Complications. 2013;27:553-557.

Nelson LA, Noonan CJ, Goldberg J, Buchwald DS. Social engagement and physical and cognitive health among American Indian participants in the health and retirement study. J Cross Cult Gerontol. 2013;28(4):453-3.

Bassett DR, Nelson L, Rhoades DA, Krantz EM, Omidpanah A. A national study of social networks and perceptions of health among urban American Indian/Alaska Natives and non-Hispanic Whites. J Biosoc Sci. 2014;46:556-559.

Huyser KR, Manson SM, Nelson LA, Noonan C, Roubideaux Y; Special Diabetes Program; Indians Healthy Heart Demonstration Project. Serious Psychological Distress and Diabetes Management among American Indians and Alaska Natives. Ethn Dis. 2015;25(2):145-51.

Harris R, Nelson LA, Muller C, Buchwald D. Stroke in American Indians and Alaska Natives: A Systematic Review. Am J Public Health. 2015;105(8):e16-26.

Nelson LA, Zamora-Kapoor A. Challenges in conducting mHealth research with underserved populations: Lessons learned. J Telemed Telecare. 2015 Oct 14. [Epub]

Zamora-Kapoor A, Nelson L, Buchwald D. Maternal correlates of body mass index in American Indian/Alaska Native and White adolescents: Differences between mother/son and mother/daughter pairs. Eat Behav. 2016;20:43-7.

Collins SE, Jones CB, Hoffmann G, Nelson LA, Hawes SM, Grazioli VS, Mackelprang JL, Holttum J, Kaese G, Lenert J, Herndon P, Clifasefi SL. In their own words: Content analysis of pathways to recovery among individuals with the lived experience of homelessness and alcohol use disorders. Int J Drug Policy. 2015 Aug 19. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2015.08.003. [Epub]


updated 1/29/16