Kathy A. Baker

Kathy A. Baker, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, FAAN
Recipient of 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award

Dr. Baker has made a significant and sustained impact in nursing education, scholarship and clinical practice. She is currently an associate professor, director of Nursing Research and Scholarship, and deputy director at the Center for Translational Research, a Joanna Briggs Institute Center of Excellence, at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas.

Dr. Baker received her doctoral degree in 2003 from the UT Austin School of Nursing, a Master of Science in Nursing from Texas Woman’s University in Dallas in 1988, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Baylor University in 1981.

Her research has focused on quality of life among liver transplant recipients and through her work she has revealed the importance of physiologic, psychological, social, spiritual, family, and socioeconomic aspects of quality of life for liver transplant recipients.

She has conducted a large mixed methods multi-site study of quality of life, self-transcendence, illness distress and fatigue in liver recipients. Her findings emphasized the need to minimize post-transplant symptoms, such as fatigue and illness distress, while enhancing self-transcendence in order to enrich the transplant recipient’s quality of life experience.

As a follow up, Dr. Baker and a colleague extended this program of research exploring the experiences for cancer survivors with complex diagnoses. Her commitment to this field has influenced the quality and safety of patients receiving care at the national and international level.

Dr. Baker served from 1995 to 1996 as president of the Certification Board of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates. Since 1999, she has served as editor of the peer-reviewed journal, Gastroenterology Nursing. This journal informs nurses world-wide of the latest developments in research, evidenced based practice techniques, equipment, diagnostics and therapy.

Dr. Baker was appointed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing to represent Clinical Nurse Specialists on the APRN Competency Work Group and to the Texas Board of Nursing Advanced Practice Nursing Advisory Committee.

Her significant contributions to the Joanna Briggs Institute, an international organization promoting and supporting the synthesis, transfer, and usage of evidence-based practice to improve health care outcomes globally, have allowed her to consult with numerous institutions to recruit, train, and support nurse scholars in their contributions to gastroenterology practice.

Dr. Baker was recognized as the Outstanding Doctoral Graduate at the UT Austin School of Nursing in 2003 and was inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.