Anita Thompson-Heisterman is an assistant professor of nursing and holds board certifications as a psychiatric mental health clinical nurse specialist and a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. She has been a member of the University of Virginia School of Nursing faculty since 1998. Her faculty practice is with the University of Virginia Department of Neurology in the Memory and Aging Care Clinic. She teaches communication skills and psychiatric mental health nursing in the undergraduate program; psychiatric mental health nursing and community health in the CNL program and pharmacology and graduate seminars in the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program.

Honors and Awards

  • Excellence in Teaching Award, University of Virginia Alumni Association (2013)

Research Focus

Family-centered care of elders in conjunction with Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) at the Department of Neurology Memory and Aging Care Clinic. Use of non-pharmacological interventions to ameliorate stress across the life span. Research Associate/Faculty Fellow Center for Global Health. Assist with the development of initiatives with the Water and Health in Limpopo Project (WHIL). Principal investigator for use of Appreciative Inquiry to develop a health curriculum in Limpopo. Posters presented at three international conferences in 2013. Use of red filtered flashlights to promote sleep on psychiatric acute care units.

Clinical Focus

Care of vulnerable populations, particularly persons and families with cognitive disorders and the care of persons with emotional and mental illness.

Teaching Focus

Communication and interpersonal skills, psychiatric mental health nursing, geriatric mental health and community/population based care in rural and global contexts.


Journal Articles

Innes, K.E., Selfe, T.K., Brown, C.J., Rose, K.M., & Thompson-Heisterman, A. (2012). The effects of meditation on perceived stress and related indices of psychological status and sympathetic activation in persons with Alzheimer's disease and their caregivers: A pilot study. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012, 1-9.

Book Sections

Heisterman, A. (2020). Mental health issues. In M. Stanhope & J. Lancaster (Eds.), Public health nursing: Population centered health care in the community (10th ed., pp. 0). Mosby Elsevier.

Aretakis, D. A., Connor, A., & Thompson-Heisterman, A. (2018). Poverty, homelessness, teen pregnancy and mental illness. In M. Stanhope & J. Lancaster (Eds.), Foundations for population health in community/public health nursing (pp. 392-414). Elsevier.

Thompson-Heisterman, A. (2017). Integrative management of disordered cognition. In K. Tusaie & J. Fitzpatrick (Eds.), Advanced practice psychiatric nursing: Integrating psychotherapy, psychopharmacology, and complementatry and alternative approaches across the life span (2nd ed.) (pp. 369-403). Springer Publishing Company.

Thompson-Heisterman, A. (2016). Mental health issues. In M. Stanhope & J. Lancaster (Eds.), Public health nursing: Population-centered health care in the community, 9th ed. (pp. 782-802). Elsevier.

Thompson-Heisterman, A. (2013). Integrative management of disordered cognition. In K. Tusaie and J. Fitzpatrick (Ed.), Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nursing: Integrating Psychotherapy, Psychopharmacology, and Complementary and Alternative Approaches (pp. 300-333). Springer Publishing Company

Thompson-Heisterman, A., (2012). Mental health issues. In M. Stanhope, & J. Lancaster (Eds.), Public Health Nursing: Population Centered Health Care in the Community, 8th Ed. (pp. 784-803). Mosby Elsevier, Inc.


  • Thompson-Heisterman, A., Manning, C, & Geldmacher, D. “Transcending borders in professional education.” A model for cross disciplinary education in a memory and aging care clinic.
    International Interprofessional Education Institute Biennial Conference. Received funding to attend through the Josiah Macy Grant as one of two presentations chosen from the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center. Tucson, AZ. November 19, 2011. 
    (March 3, 16)
  • Thompson-Heisterman, A., Richardson, J., Netshandama, V., Dillingham, R., Louis, G., Firehock, K. & Baernholdt, M. “Learning from Our Partners: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Discover Capacity and Nurture Community-centric Solutions to Water and Health Challenges in Limpopo Province."
    Poster, Consortium of Universities for Global Health 4th Annual Conference, Washington D.C. March 14-16, 2013.
    (March 3, 16)
  • Thompson-Heisterman, A. “Building Partnership: A Descriptive Analysis of Appreciative Inquiry as a Community-Centric Approach to Public Health Challenges in Rural Limpopo Province.”
    Poster at Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing 24th International Research Conference. Prague, CZ. July 21- 24, 2013.
    (March 3, 16)
  • Thompson Heisterman, A. “Resuscitating CARE in nursing education.” 
    Poster at International Congress on Communication in Healthcare. Montreal, CA. Sept 29-Oct 3, 2013.
    (March 3, 16)
  • Thompson Heisterman, A., Richardson, J., Netshandama, V, Dillingham, R.,Maluleke, M. & Baernholdt, M. “ Facilitating Mental Health One Village at a Time: The use of Appreciative Inquiry as a strengths-based approach to build community mental health capacity."
    Poster at American Psychiatric Nurses Association. San Antonio, TX. October 9-12, 2013.
    (March 3, 16)