Heidi Donovan

Professor of Nursing and Medicine
PhD Program Director, School of Nursing
Co-Director, National Rehabilitation Research & Training Center on Family Support
Health & Community Systems


Dr. Donovan’s research interests are in the development and testing of  interventions to improve symptoms and quality of life among individuals with cancer and their family caregivers (NINR R01NR010735; NR01370; 90RTGE0002). She has specific expertise in the integration of theory and evidence to design and test e-health interventions to improve self-management for families facing chronic and life threatening illnesses and disabilities. Her work has been grounded in the Representational Approach (RA) to patient education, an intervention theory that she co-developed. The RA has been used to guide a wide range of interventions in cancer symptom management, family caregiving, heart failure, end stage renal disease and palliative care. Currently, she is the corresponding PI and co-Director of the National Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Family Support (NCFS; 90RTGE0002; www.caregiving.pitt.edu). NCFS’ mission is to partner with government, academia, and the broad family support stakeholder community to translate state-of-the-art research and training into services and support programs to improve the care, health, and quality of life of all persons with disabilities and the families who support them. Her current research within NCFS is focused on integrating family caregiver assessments and interventions into an established platform to be relevant to caregivers across a wide range of care recipient illnesses and disabilities.



Dr. Donovan is the PhD Program Director in the School of Nursing. She teaches Theoretical Foundations of Research (NUR 3044) and Theory Guided Intervention Research (NUR3289). She also enjoys teaching the Freshman Seminar.


Dr. Donovan’s service focuses on cancer survivorship and family caregiving. She has been on the Medical Advisory Board of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) and most recently has collaborated to develop their TealCares© family caregiver support program and is a co-facilitator for their national caregiver support Group. She is on the Patient Education Committee for the Foundation for Women’s Cancer where she served as an expert stakeholder to develop an interactive family caregiver training program. She serves on the Cancer Care Delivery Committee and Membership Committee for the NRG Oncology Cooperative Group.  She is the founder and Director of the GynOnc Family CARE Center at Magee Womens Hospital where her team has integrated evidence-based family caregiver support into inpatient and outpatient gynecologic cancer care.