A University of California, San Francisco professor for nearly two decades before arriving at UVA, Dr. Kools is a child and adolescent psychiatric nurse scientist whose long-standing program of research centers on the health, mental health and development of adolescents. Her aim is to promote a greater understanding of developmentally and culturally appropriate interventions and contexts for care for young people. Dr. Kools has primarily studied adolescents in foster care and led an NIH funded intervention study to improve their health and development. Globally, she has had adolescent health projects in Malawi, Hong Kong, and China. Her current research is a community-based participatory design exploring sexual and reproductive health in very young adolescents (ages 10-14) in rural Uganda. This project is a training site for the UVA Minority Health International Research Training Program (MHIRT) funded by the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities, of which she is a Co-Director and supports students from around the country as well as from the Mbarara University of Science and Technology.

Dr. Kools is an internationally recognized expert on qualitative methods and known widely for her pioneering work in dimensional analysis, a methodology for generating grounded theory. She currently teaches qualitative research methods in the PhD Program.

A Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing since 2007, Dr. Kools serves on its Expert Panel on Children, Adolescents and Families. She received the Outstanding Service for Children and the Community Award from the San Francisco court system in 2000, the UCSF Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award in 2012 for her 18 years of leadership and service to diversity, and, most recently, USCF’s Outstanding Faculty Mentorship Award for 2014. Dr. Kools also served as an advisor to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing to develop cultural competencies for graduate nursing education.

As the Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, Dr. Kools is leading the development and implementation of IDEA: the Dean's Initiative on Inclusion, Diversity and Excellence Achievement. Under her leadership, we are now actively using best practices to improve faculty, staff and student diversity and working to promote an engaged and respectful community for all in which to learn and work.

In her role as the Director of Global Initiatives, she is transitioning our global health education experiences to a model of sustained partnership with host universities and communities. These partnerships are built around a core of faculty research that is mutually beneficial and student education experiences are centered on locally determined needs and priorities.

Research Focus

Adolescent health and development Foster care Adolescent sexual and reproductive health in low resource countries

Clinical Focus

Child and adolescent psychiatric nursing

Teaching Focus

Qualitative research methods


Journal Articles

Ross, C., Kools, S., & Laughon, K. (2020). “It was only me against the world. ” Female African American adolescents’ perspectives on their sexual and reproductive health learning and experiences while in foster care: implications for positive youth development. Children and Youth Services Review, 118, 105463. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2020.105463

St. Ivany, A., Kools, S., Sharps, P., & Bullock, L. (2018). Extreme control and instability: Insight into head injury from intimate partner violence. Journal of Forensic Nursing, 14(4), 198-205. doi:10.1097/JFN.0000000000000220

St. Ivany, A., Bullock, L., Schminkey, D., Wells, K., Sharps, P., & Kools, S. (2018). Living in fear and prioritizing safety: Exploring women’s lives after traumatic brain injury from intimate partner violence. Qualitative Health Review, 28(11), 1708-1718. doi:10.1177/1049732318786705

Smith, S. T., Blanchard, J., Kools, S., & Butler, D. (2017). Reconnecting to spirituality: Christian-identified adolescents and emerging adult young men’s journey from diagnosis of HIV to coping. Journal of Religion and Health, 56, 188. doi:10.1007/s10943-016-0245-4

Green, E. K., Chesla, K., Beyene, Y, & Kools, S. (2017). Ecological factors that impact adjustment processes and development of Ugandan adolescent immigrant females. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 27(1), 34-46. doi:10.1007/s10826-017-0867-5

Smith, S., Dawson-Rose, C., Blanchard, V., Kools, S., & Butler, D. (2016). “I am normal”: Claiming normalcy in Christian-identified HIV-infected adolescent and emerging adult males. Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, 27(6), 835-848. doi:10.1016/j.jana.2016.05.004

Kim, M., Chen, J. L., Kools, S. & Weiss, S. (2016). The impact of personality traits and acculturation on the mental health of Korean American adolescents. Psychology, 7(9), 1256-1265. doi:10.4236/psych.2016.79128

Chen, A., Rivera, J., Rotter, M., Green, E., & Kools, S. (2016). Interprofessional education in the clinical setting: A qualitative look at the preceptor’s perspective in training advanced practice nurses. Journal of Interprofessional Education and Practice, 21, 29-36. doi:10.1016/j.nepr.2016.09.006

Staveski, S., Parveen, V., Madathil, S. B., Kools, S., & Franck, L. (2016). Nurse and parent perceptions associated with the Parent Education Discharge Instruction Programme in Southern India. Cardiology in the Young, 26(6), 1168-1175. doi:10.1017/S1047951115002462

Keim-Malpass, J., Stegenga, K., Loudin, B., Kennedy, C., & Kools, S. (2016). "It's back! My remission is over”: Online communication of disease progression among adolescents with cancer. Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing, 33(3), 209-17. doi:10.1177/1043454215600424

Staveski, S. L., Parveen, V. P., Madathil, S. B., Kools, S., & Franck, L. S. (2015). Parent Education Discharge Instruction Program for care of children at home after cardiac surgery in southern India. Cardiology in the Young, 2015(11), 1-8. doi:10.1017/s1047951115002462

Staveski, S. L., Parveen, V. P., Madathil, S. B., Kools, S., & Franck, L. S. (2015). Nurse and parent perceptions associated with the Parent Education Discharge Instruction Programme in southern India. Cardiology in the Young, 2015(10), 1-8. doi:10.1017/s1047951115002164

Schapiro, N. A., Kools, S., Brindis, C., & Weiss, S. (2015). Impact of gender on separation-reunification experiences of Latino adolescent immigrants. FACTS Reports, 13(2015), 1-9. Retrieved from

Staveski, S., Zhelva, B., Paul, R., Conway, R., Carlson, A., Soma, G., Kools, S., & Franck, L. (2015). Pediatric cardiac surgery Parent Education Discharge Instruction (PEDI) program: A pilot study. World Journal for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery, 6(1), 18-25. doi:10.1177/2150135114554659

Schneiderman, J. U., Kools, S., Negriff, S., Smith, S., & Trickett, P. K. (2015). Differences in caregiver-reported health problems and health care use in maltreated adolescents and a comparison group from the same urban environment. Research in Nursing and Health, 38(1), 60-70. doi:10.1002/nur.21634

Mullen, K., Gillen, M., Kools, S., & Blanc, P. (2015). Hospital nurses working wounded: Motivations and obstacles to return to work as experienced by nurses with injuries. Work, 50(2), 295-304. doi:10.3233/WOR-131800

McLemore, M. R., Kools, S., & Levi, A. J. (2015). Calculus formation: Nurses’ decision-making in abortion-related care. Research in Nursing & Health, 38(3), 222-231. doi:10.1002/nur.21655

Kools, S., Chimwaza, A., & Macha, S. (2015). Cultural humility and working with marginalized populations in developing countries. Global Health Promotion, 22(1), 52-59. doi:10.1177/1757975914528728

Shade, K., Kools, S., Pinderhughes, H., & Weiss, S. J. (2013). Adolescent fathers in the justice system: Hoping for a boy and making him a man. Qualitative Health Research, 23(4), 435-449. doi:10.1177/1049732312470520

Schapiro, N. A., Kools, S. M., Weiss, S. J., & Brindis, C. D. (2013). Separation and reunification: The experiences of adolescents living in transnational families. Current Problems in Pediatric and Adolescent Health Care, 43(3), 48-68. doi:10.1016/j.cppeds.2012.12.001

Anderson, W. G., Kools, S., & Lyndon, A. (2013). Dancing around death: Hospitalist-patient communication about serious illness. Qualitative Health Research, 23(1), 3-13. doi:10.1177/1049732312461728

Shade, K., Kools, S., Pinderhughes, H., & Weiss, S. J. (2012). Choosing fatherhood: How teens in the justice system embrace or reject a father identity. Journal of Community Health Nursing, 29(2), 91-105. doi:10.1080/07370016.2012.670573

Clark, L., Calvillo, E., Dela Cruz, F., Fongwa, M., Kools, S., Lowe, J., & Masten, B. (2011). Cultural competencies for graduate nursing education. Journal of Professional Nursing, 27(3), 133-139. doi:10.1016/j.profnurs.2011.02.001

Beaulieu, R., Kools, S., Kennedy, H. P., & Humphreys, J. (2011). Misconceptions about missed conceptions: The meanings of emergency contraceptive pills use among young adult couples. Journal of Family Nursing, 17(4), 463-484. doi:10.1177/1074840711424158

Beaulieu, R., Kools, S. M., Kennedy, H. P., & Humphreys, J. (2011). Young adult couples' decision making regarding emergency contraceptive pills. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 43(1), 41-48. doi:10.1111/j.1547-5069. doi:10.1111/j.1547-5069.2010.01381.x

Trompeta, J. A., Chen, J. -., Cooper, B. A., Ascher, N. L., & Kools, S. M. (2010). Development of the organ donation and transplantation knowledge survey for use in asian american adolescents. Transplantation Proceedings, 42(5), 1427-1431. doi:10.1016/j.transproceed.2010.03.136

Rankin, S. H., Lindgren, T., Kools, S. M., & Schell, E. (2008). The condom divide: Disenfranchisement of malawi women by church and state. Jognn-Journal of Obstetric Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing, 37(5), 596-606. doi:10.1111/j.1552-6909. doi:10.1111/j.1552-6909.2008.00280.x

Kools, S. (2008). From heritage to postmodern grounded theorizing: Forty years of grounded theory. Studies in Symbolic Interaction, Vol 32, 32, 73-86. doi:10.1016/S0163-2396(08)32007-9

Kools, S., Kennedy, C., Engler, M., & Engler, M. (2008). Pediatric hyperlipidemia: child and adolescent disease understandings and perceptions about dietary adherence. J Spec Pediatr Nurs, 13(3), 168-79. doi:10.1111/j.1744-6155.2008.00151.x

Crandall, M., Kools, S., Miaskowski, C., & Savedra, M. (2007). Adolescents' pain experiences following acute blunt traumatic injury: Struggle for internal control. Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing, 12(4), 224-237. doi:10.1111/j.1744-6155. doi:10.1111/j.1744-6155.2007.00118.x

Chen, J. L., Kennedy, C., Yeh, C. H., & Kools, S. (2005). Risk factors for childhood obesity in elementary school-age Taiwanese children. Progress in Cardiovascular Nursing, 20(3), 96-103. doi:10.1111/j.0889-7204.2005.04456.x

Tong, E., & Kools, S. (2004). Health care transitions for adolescents with congenital heart disease: Patient and family perspectives. Nursing Clinics of North America, 39(4), 727-737. doi:10.1016/j.cnur.2004.07.011

Gale, G., Franck, L., Kools, S., & Lynch, M. (2004). Parents' perceptions of their infant's pain experience in the NICU. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 41(1), 51-58. doi:10.1016/S0020-7489(03)00096-8

Kools, S., Kennedy, C., Kong, S. KF., Chen, J. L., Franck, L., & Wong, T. KS. (2004). Psychosocial functioning of hospitalized Chinese adolescents and their families. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 19(2), 95-103. doi:10.1016/S0882-5963(03)00142-8

Franck, L. S., Kools, S., Kennedy, C., Kong, S. K F., Chen, J. L., & Wong, T. K S. (2004). The symptom experience of hospitalised Chinese children and adolescents and relationship to pre-hospital factors and behavior problems. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 41(6), 661-669. doi:10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2004.02.001

Kennedy, C., Kools, S., Kong, S. K., Chen, J. L., Franck, L., & Wong, T. K. (2004). Behavioral, emotional and family functioning of hospitalized children in China and Hong Kong. Int Nurs Rev, 51(1), 34-46. doi:10.1111/j.1466-7657.2003.00204.x

Chen, J. L., Kennedy, C., Kools, S., Slaughter, R. E., Franck, L., Kong, S. KF., & Wong, T. KS. (2003). Culturally appropriate family assessment: analysis of the Family Assessment Device in a pediatric Chinese population. Journal of Nursing Measurement, 11(1), 41-60.

Kools, S., Tong, E., Hughes, R., Jayne, R., Scheibly, K., Laughlin, J., & Gilliss, C. L.. (2002). Hospital experiences of young adults with congenital heart disease: Divergence in expectations and dissonance in care. American Journal of Critical Care, 11(2), 115-125.

Kennedy, C. M., Strzempko, F., Danford, C., & Kools, S. (2002). Children's perceptions of TV and health behavior effects. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 34(3), 289-294.

Kools, S., & Kennedy, C. (2002). Child sexual abuse treatment: misinterpretation and mismanagement of child sexual behavior. Child Care Health and Development, 28(3), 211-218.

Kools, S., Kennedy, C. (2002). Foster child health and development: implications for primary care. Pediatric Nursing, 29(1), 44-46.

Kennedy, C., Kools, S., & Krueger, R. (2001). Methodological considerations in children's focus groups. Nursing Research, 50(3), 184-187.

Kools, S. (1997). Adolescent identity development in foster care. Family Relations, 46(3), 263-271. doi:10.2307/585124

Kools, S., McCarthy, M., Durham, R., & Robrecht, L. (1996). Dimensional analysis: Broadening the conception of grounded theory. Qualitative Health Research, 6(3), 312-330. doi:10.1177/104973239600600302

Advance Online Publications

Piriyasart, J., Songwathana, P, & Kools, S. (2018). Perceptions of sexual abstinence among Muslim adolescent girls in Southern Thailand. International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health. Advance online publication. doi:10.1515/ijamh-2017-0119

Columns, Editorials and Op-Eds

Kools, S., & Fontaine, D. (2015, December 29). Nursing diversity: Why backstories matter [Editorial]. Huffington Post. Retrieved from

Kools, S. (2014, November 17). When there's no going home [Column]. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from