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Ellen Giarelli

Contact Information

Ellen Giarelli


Associate Professor

Graduate Nursing
Nursing PhD

Ellen Giarelli, EdD, is an advanced practice nurse with a post-doctorate in Psychosocial Oncology and HIV/AIDS from the University of Pennsylvania. She is associate professor in the PhD Nursing Program and the Doctor of Health Science Program (DHSc) at the College of Nursing and Health Professions at Drexel University.

Giarelli has over 18 years experience as PI conducting research with patients, family members, and health care providers, including multiple intervention studies. For the past decade, she has studied the life-long medical, psychological, and social problems and healthcare needs of people with genetic disorders diagnosed in childhood, that require life-long enhanced surveillance and self-management. Study populations include individuals with Marfan syndrome, cancer syndromes such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2a MEN2s) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Academic Distinctions

As president of the International Society of Nurses in Genetics (ISONG) in 2011-2012, and a three-term chair of the ISONG ethics and public policy committee, she has lectured extensively on the ethical, legal and social implication of advances in genetic/genomic sciences. She is liaison to the NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research, Bethesda, MD.

  • Celebration of Drexel Authors. Office of the Provost. Drexel University. February 2018
  • Distinguished Alumni Award. School of Nursing, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY. May 2014
  • Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) Upsilon Nu Chapter Membership. Universidad Nationional de Colombia, Bogata. November 2013
  • Celebration of Drexel Authors of 2012. Office of the Provost. Drexel University. February 28, 2013
  • President Emerita.International Society of Nurses in Genetics. 2012-present
  • Quality of Life Award, Oncology Nursing Society, for publication “Bringing Threat to The Fore: Participation in Life-long Surveillance for Genetic risk of Cancer, Oncology Nursing Forum. Dec/Jan 2003. 2004
  • Award for Excellence in Dissertation. Student Scholarship Award Alumni Association, Graduate School of Education, Rutgers, New Brunswick, NJ. May 1990

Faculty Fellowships

  • Fellow. NINR/NIH Summer Genetics Institute. 2009 Georgetown, University, School of Nursing. Summer Genetics Institute, NINR/NIH. Bethesda MD. 12 Doctoral Credits Genetics
  • Fellow. Leadership Development Institute (LDI), Oncology Nursing Society, Atlanta, GA October 2-5, 1999

Professional Society

International Society of Nurses in Genetics
American Association of University Professors

Selected Publications

Giarelli, E., Nocera, R., Jobes, M., Lopez, J. Boylan, C &. Knerr, J.* (2017) Aggression/violence among adult patients admitted for short-term, acute-care mental health care. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, Http://

Reiff, M., Giarelli, E., Bugos, E., Bernhardt, B.A., Spinner, N., Sankar, P.L. & Mulchandani, S. (2017) “Set in Stone” or “Ray of Hope”: Parents’ beliefs about cause and prognosis after genomic testing of children diagnosed with ASD. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, DOI 10.1007/s10803-017-3067-7

Giarelli, E. & Fisher, K.M. (eds). (2016). Integrated health care for people with autism spectrum disorder: Interdisciplinary perspectives. Charles C. Thomas Publishers

Giarelli, E., DeNigris, J., Fisher, K.M., Malley, M., & Nolan, E*. (2016). Perceived quality of work life and risk for compassion fatigue among oncology nurses: A mixed-methods study. Oncology Nursing Forum (May issue).Online.

Giarelli, E., & Reiff, M. (2015 June 26). Mothers’ appreciation of chromosomal microarray analysis for children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Specialists in Pediatric Nursing, [Epub ahead of print]

Google Scholar citations

Grant participation:

Before coming to Drexel she was research associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing where she was principal investigator for the Pennsylvania Autism and Developmental Disabilities Surveillance Program (PADDSP) funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and co-i for the CDC-funded Study of Epidemiology of Early Development (SEED).

Grant Reviewer, CDC/NCBDDD. National Center of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers of Disease Control, RFA-DD17-001.Coordinating Center for Research and Training to Promote the Health of People with Developmental and Other Disabilities. July 2018

Grant Reviewer, NIH/NIMH Implementation Science for the Prevention and Treatment of Mental and/or Substance Use Disorders in Low- and Middle-income Countries. (U01), June 2017

Grant Reviewer, IAR Reviewer. Special Emphasis Panel/Scientific Review Group ZMH1 ERB-K (07) R - Services Research for ASD for TAY and Adults (SERV ASD) NIH/NIMH. Pilot research on Service for Transition –age Youth (R34) and Adults with ASD (R34). June 2016.

Grant Reviewer, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Center for Disease Control and prevention. Panel Reviewer RFA-DD12-006. April 25, 2016.

Grant Reviewer, National Institutes of Health/National Institute for Nursing Research (NIH/NINR). Centers of Excellence in Self-management (p20/P30) Scientific Review. June 26-27, 2014, Bethesda, MD. Ad Hoc. Meeting Chair.

External Advisor, Grant Reviewer, UPENN Center for the Integration of Genetic Healthcare Technology (CIGHT). Internal Advisory Board Member. Center of Excellence in ELSI Research. University of Pennsylvania. 2007-2012

Reviewer, Special Emphasis Panel (SEP), Coordinating Center for Health Promotion (CCHP) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Applications DD08EM-801 Autism Therapy Evaluation Effects of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy on children with Autism. February 2009, February 2010.

Editorial review board membership:

Associate Editor, PODCASTS, Oncology Nursing Forum, April 2008 to May 2011

Associate Editor, Leadership and Professional Development Feature Oncology Nursing Forum, 2001 – 2004

Reviewer, American Journal of Human Genetics, 2010 to present

Reviewer, Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 2009 – 2012

Reviewer, Autism Research, 2008 to Present

Reviewer, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 2010 to present

Reviewer, Journal of Genetic Counseling, 2003 to present

Research Interests

Giarelli's most recent funding includes a grant from the WITH Foundation to develop treatment algorithms for patients with autism who are admitted to an acute care facility. She has been principal investigator or co-investigator on multiple projects involving these populations, including an R21 funded by the NINR/NICHD (1R21NR009661-2) to study Self-management of Chronic Genetic Disorders and the Philadelphia Health Care Trust. She was principal investigator for the Pennsylvania Autism and Developmental Disabilities Surveillance Program (PADDSP) funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and co-i for the CDC- Funded Study of Epidemiology of Early Development (SEED, PI: Pinto-Martin).

She is editor of two books: Nursing of Autism Spectrum Disorder: Evidence-based Integrated Care across the Lifespan (2012) and Integrated Health Care For People with Autism Spectrum Disorder (2016), published by Springer Publishing and Charles C. Thomas Publishers, respectively. These are the only texts, to date, that address the integration of knowledge of ASD with the delivery of healthcare services. She is coordinator of the certificate program in the Integrated Care of People with ASD.

View Research Profile


Giarelli is an expert in Grounded Theory and other qualitative methodologies, as well as strategies for public health surveillance of autism spectrum disorder.

Postdoctoral Fellowship
Psychosocial Oncology and HIV/AIDS
University of Pennsylvania
School of Nursing NINR/NIH T32. 2000-2002

Postmaster Certification
Advanced Practice
Adult Oncology
University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing, 1997-1998

EdD, Social and Philosophical Foundations
Graduate School of Education
Rutgers University
New Brunswick, NJ, 1983-1989

MA, Nursing Education
New York University
School of Education, Health, Nursing and Arts Professions
New York, NY, 1979-1981

BSN, Nursing
State University of New York at Stony Brook
School of Nursing, Stony Brook, NY, 1975-1977

BS, Biology
State University of New York at Stony Brook
Stony Brook, NY, 1973-1975