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Justine S. Sefcik, PhD, RN

Contact Information

Justine S. Sefcik


Assistant Professor

Graduate Nursing
Nursing PhD

Sefcik completed her PhD in Nursing (2017) at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) School of Nursing where she was a Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Fellow (F31), a 2012-2014 National Hartford Centers of Gerontological Nursing Excellence Patricia G. Archbold Scholar and a Jonas Hartford Scholar. She also completed a Master of Bioethics degree simultaneously at the Penn School of Medicine. Sefcik’s dissertation topic was informed from her nursing practice in long term care and was titled “A Multi-Methods Observational Study of Persistent Vocalizations in Nursing Home Residents with Advanced Dementia".

Sefcik is a recipient of a 3-year K23 Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health National Institute of Nursing Research. Her project is titled, “A Person-Centered Environmental and Sensory Intervention for Nursing Home Residents with Dementia who Exhibit Persistent Vocalizations”. This project aims to test the acceptability and feasibility of using a person-centered nature-based intervention in the nursing home setting.

Working with several interdisciplinary research teams to date, Sefcik has several publications on topics important to the field of gerontology including: behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia, care of persons living with dementia and their caregivers, innovative interventions to support frail older adults and post-acute care decision-making. Sefcik is a nationally recognized expert, author, presenter and researcher.

Professional Society

Gerontological Society of America
Eastern Nursing Research Society – Co-Chair of the Aging Research Interest Group

Selected Publications

Sefcik, J. S., McDermott, C., Heid, A. R., Moloney, S., Van Haitsma, K., Best, I., Resnick, B., Galik, E., Boltz, M., & Kolanowski, A. (in press). Whole-person behavioral assessment and planning for nursing home residents with dementia and behavioral symptoms. Journal of Gerontological Nursing.

Sefcik, J. S., Hirschman, K. B., Petrovsky, D. V., Hodgson, N. A., & Naylor, M. D. (2020). Satisfaction with outdoor activities among Northeastern U.S. long-term services and supports recipients. Advanced online publication. Journal of Applied Gerontology.

Sefcik, J.S., Ersek, M., & Cacchione, P. Z. (2020). Nursing home residents with advanced dementia and persistent vocalizations: Observations of surrounding context. Advanced online publication. International Journal of Older People Nursing, oo:e12322.

Sefcik, J. S., Ersek, M., Libonati, J., Hartnett, S., Hodgson, N., & Cacchione, P. (2020). Heart rate of nursing home residents with advanced dementia and persistent vocalizations. Health and Technology, 10(3), 827-831. doi: 10.1007/s12553-019-00397-2

Sefcik, J. S., Kondo, M. C., Klusaritz, H., Sarantschin, E., Solomon, S., Roepke, A., South, E., & Jacoby, S. F. (2019). Perceptions of Nature and Access to Green Space in Four Urban Neighborhoods. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(13), 2313.

Grant participation:

NIH/NINR K23 Awardee (K23NR018673) - “A Person-Centered Environmental and Sensory Intervention for Nursing Home Residents with Dementia who Exhibit Persistent Vocalizations”

Research Interests

Dementia Care, Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia, Nursing Homes, Nature-based Interventions, Multi-methods Research, Qualitative Description

Postdoctoral Fellow, Research, 9/2019 to 8/2020
Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions
Philadelphia, PA

Postdoctoral Fellow, Nursing Research, 9/2017 to 8/2019
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
Philadelphia, PA

MBE/PhD, Bioethics/Nursing Research, 2010 to 2017
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
Philadelphia, PA

BS/MS, Nursing Administration, 2007
State University of New York Institute of Technology
Utica, NY

AS, Nursing, 2003
State University of New York Delhi
Delhi, NY

BA, Art, 2001
State University of New York College at Oneonta
Oneonta, NY