PhD, MPH, RN
Health & Community Systems
Dr. Zelazny has over 35 years of psychiatric nursing experience in clinical and research settings. She is an early career investigator whose research is focused on the use of technology to identify and manage suicidal thoughts and behavior in youth. She is the principal investigator of a R21 funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) entitled “Social Media as a Predictor of Proximal Risk in Youth Suicide Attempt”. She is also a co-investigator on 3 additional NIMH funded studies: “Mobile Assessment for the Prediction of Suicide Study (MAPS)” (PI: Nicholas Allen, University of Oregon), a study using smartphone technology to conduct intensive longitudinal monitoring of proximal risk factors of adolescent suicidal thoughts and behavior; “The Role of Sleep Health in Proximal Suicide Risk among Ultra-High Risk Adolescents” (PIs: Tina Goldstein and Peter Franzen), a study comparing sleep-suicide associations and plausible affective, cognitive and arousal-related mechanisms using self-report, behavioral, lab task paradigms and physiology in adolescents at ultra-high risk for suicide; and the “Center for Enhancing Treatment and Utilization for Depression and Emergent Suicidality (ETUDES) in Pediatric Primary Care” (PI: David Brent), where she will be co-leading a Methods core study combining mobile sensing and social media data for the prediction of fluctuations in suicide risk in adolescents. In collaboration with colleagues at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), she is conducting 2 pilot studies examining ethical issues and using Human Centered Design for the implementation of a suicide risk prediction algorithm. She is a co-developer of a supportive safety plan phone application for patients with high levels of suicidal ideation or recent suicidal behavior and a co-author of the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS). In addition to these research interests, she has a strong interest in bioethics, specifically the protection of human subjects in research involving technology and in research involving suicidal individuals.
Dr. Zelazny teaches the undergraduate didactic course NUR1060: Nursing Care of Clients with Psychiatric Mental Health Problems.
Dr. Zelazny is a Vice Chair at the University of Pittsburgh Institutional Review Board. She is a member of the American Psychiatric Nurse Association, where she serves on the Child and Adolescent Steering Committee, the Research Committee, the Scholarly Review Committee, the Awards and Recognition Committee, as a Research Grant Reviewer, and a Poster Judge. In the past, she has served in leadership positions for Sigma Theta Tau, Eta Chapter and on the Board of Directors for Allegheny Health Choices.
At the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Zelazny serves as faculty advisor for Pitt’s Nursing Student Association (NSA) and Oakland Outreach. She is a member of the Campus Wellbeing Consortium and is dedicated to promoting mental health and overall wellbeing among the student body.
In the community, Dr. Zelazny is an active volunteer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), where she serves on the Education Committee and regularly provides mental health and suicide prevention education throughout the community. She also serves as the Pitt Campus Out of the Darkness Walk chair and a Project 2025 Champion.