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Sheila Gephart, PhD, RN, FAAN, is an Associate Professor and Nurse scientist at the University of Arizona College of Nursing. She began her nursing career working on a neuro unit in 1997, moved to maternal-child nursing in 1999 and to neonatal intensive care in 2001. Her long-term passion has been to improve the quality of care for fragile infants, especially those at risk for necrotizing enterocolitis (also known as “N-E-C” or “NEC”).

Her dissertation work involved the development and testing of a risk score for NEC named GutCheckNEC. She has continued to refine GutCheckNEC and has created a clinical decision support dashboard including it. Her current work combines GutCheckNEC with evidence-based NEC prevention practices. Her team created a toolkit for NEC prevention called the NEC-Zero toolkit. She continues to lead a program of research to improve care quality in the NICU, study of technology-based tools and using dissemination and implementation science. Since 2011 she has served on the Editorial Board for NANN’s journal, Advances in Neonatal Care and currently co-leads the “Evidence-based reviews” section. 

She obtained her nursing training and associates degree at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon; her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, Oregon; and her PhD in nursing with a minor in health informatics from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona. She was inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing in 2019. Her research has been funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Lawrence B. Emmons fund. She enjoys mentoring doctoral students, cooking, traveling, hiking, and spending time with her family.

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