Q & A with Johns Hopkins Catalyst Award Winner Carlton Haywood Jr.


Carlton Haywood Jr., a core faculty member of the Berman Institute of Bioethics, is one of 37 early-career Johns Hopkins faculty members to receive up to $75,000 from the university’s new Catalyst Awards program. Dr. Haywood will use the funds to pursue his research project titled “Improving the Quality of Nursing Care for Sickle Cell Disease.”


We asked him about the project’s scope and where he sees it fitting into his career trajectory, which the Catalyst Award is specifically designed to support.



Q: Tell us about your project – what are your goals?


A: The goal of this project is to test the impact of a video-based intervention designed to improve healthcare provider attitudes and beliefs about patients with sickle cell disease.  In prior work we have found evidence to suggest that our video can successfully improve healthcare provider attitudes towards these patients.  We are now moving on to the important next step in determining whether or not these improvements in attitudes will actually lead to changes in the behavior of healthcare providers that patients will perceive and report as an improved quality of care they receive from these providers.


Q: Why did you focus specifically on nursing care?


A: Despite the integral role that nurses play in the process of caring for hospitalized sickle cell patients, most discussions of sickle cell quality of care and interventions designed to improve that care tend to focus on the patient-physician relationship alone or primarily. Yet the relationship between hospitalized patients and the nurses who care for them goes a long way towards shaping how patients perceive the quality of their experiences while in the hospital.  Nurses typically spend more one-on-one time with the hospitalized patient engaging in the interpersonal aspects of care that hospitalized patients rely upon.  Nurses also can serve as important advocates for the patient in situations where there may be some level of disagreement or conflict between the values and preferences of the patients and the physicians involved in their care.


Q: What methods do you plan to pursue in the course of this research?


A: This particular study will rely upon fairly common methods of social science research.  We will use surveys to assess nursing attitudes about sickle cell patients, as well as to assess sickle cell patient perceptions of the quality of their experiences of nursing care while they were hospitalized.


Q: How does this project fit within the larger scope of your research career?


A: The primary aim of my research career is to contribute to and lead efforts that will improve the quality of life of persons and families affected by sickle cell disease.  Persons with sickle cell disease spend much more time in the hospital or interacting with healthcare providers than many other patient groups.  Because of this, the relationship between persons with sickle cell and healthcare providers, and the experiences that persons with sickle cell have while in the hospital, has a significant impact on that person’s perceived quality of life.


Unfortunately, many persons with sickle cell report having more negative interactions with hospitals and/or healthcare providers than they report positive ones.  To the extent that we can improve relationships between nurses and persons with sickle cell, we can improve the quality of healthcare that is delivered by providers and received by patients, we can improve one important aspect of the quality of life of these patients, and we can improve the experiences of nurses who care for these patients… which currently is an experience that nurses report finding frustrating nearly as often as patients do.




Carlton Haywood Jr., PhD, MA, is a core faculty member at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, core faculty at the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research, and an assistant professor in the Division of Hematology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

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Carlton Haywood Jr.
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