About Diana Wilkie
Diana Wilkie, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, joined UF in 2015 as the Prairieview Trust – Earl and Margo Powers Endowed Professor in the Department of Biobehavioral Nursing Science. She also is the director of the Center for Palliative Care Research & Education, co-leader of Cancer Population Sciences in the UF Health Cancer Center, and co-director of the Florida-California Cancer Research, Education and Engagement (CaRE2) Health Equity Center.
Dr. Wilkie, a member of the National Academy of Medicine, has devoted her research program to management of cancer pain and to palliative care and end-of-life issues. Her research builds on pain problems she recognized through her clinical experience as a staff nurse, hospice nurse, and an oncology clinical nurse specialist. Her research has been continuously funded since 1986 from numerous organizations such as the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society, Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation — totaling more than $64 million. This funding supports her biobehavioral and informatics research focused on pain, symptom science, and palliative care in populations spanning the life cycle with special focus on adults, older adults, and reducing health disparities.
Her clinical work with cancer patients led to the development of a tablet-based pain report system that allows a patient to describe his or her pain. The system automatically generates a report for the clinician with suggestions for appropriate interventions. The system also provides multimedia education on pain management for the patients and their family members. Wilkie recently completed a randomized clinical trial testing the effects of computerized pain tools on pain control for cancer patients receiving hospice care. She is testing a Turkish version of the pain report tool in Turkey with patients recovering from lung cancer surgery. She also recently completed a study focused on advanced care planning for African Americans with dementia, and three studies focused on understanding the mechanisms and genomics that contribute to the pain in sickle cell disease with a goal of improving outcomes for adults with sickle cell disease.
Currently she is leading a multi-site, randomized clinical trial of dignity therapy for elderly outpatients with cancer who are receiving palliative care. Study outcomes focus on key spiritual-related patient outcomes (dignity impact, existential tasks, and cancer prognosis awareness). The long-term goal of her research is to help clinicians effectively combine pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic therapies for management of pain as part of respectful care for individuals and families facing serious illness such as cancer and sickle cell disease.
Wilkie is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and served for five years as an American Cancer Society professor of oncology nursing. She has authored or co-authored more than 225 scholarly publications and 260 and serves as a reviewer on a number of journals, including the Journal of Palliative Medicine, Cancer Nursing and the Journal of Pain.
Wilkie has mentored more than 40 doctoral students, 13 postdoctoral scholars, and 9 junior faculty, including 2 supported by NRSA grants and 3 supported by diversity supplements with her as their primary mentor, and 21 individuals who were international scholars at the time she mentored them. She recently completed the University of Florida’s CTSI sponsored Mentorship Academy training and has a strong commitment to mentoring biobehavioral scientists who are focused on eliminating health disparities.