Jonas V Nurse Leader Scholar

Michelle Graf, RN, MSN, CFNP

Vanderbilt University
PhD Student

I am a PhD student at Vanderbilt University, and I currently work as a nurse practitioner in primary care. Previously, I worked as a NICU nurse, and then as a nurse practitioner in pediatrics. As an undergraduate nursing student at the University of Virginia, I first became interested in research during an independent study focused on rural health. I designed and carried out a mixed-methods research study investigating maternal perceptions of preterm birth and prenatal care in women who had given birth to late preterm infants. My research interests have continued during my time working as a nurse practitioner in primary care; I have identified many gaps in the understanding of health behaviors, specifically in the pediatric population. My undergraduate research project, along with my experience as a NICU nurse and a nurse practitioner, allowed me to appreciate the relevance and importance of nursing research. I am interested in studying maternal mental health and infant feeding styles in relation to obesity in early childhood, because I recognize that health behaviors are established at the beginning of life.