Faculty Sketch

Susan M. Adams, PhD, RN, PMHNP, FAANP

Faculty Scholar for Community Engaged Behavioral Health


Current Research Interests

Dr. Adams' current research concerns are efficacy of trauma-informed interventions and sustained recovery for women with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders in community-based programs. She completed a study investigating predictors of retention in a community-based residential treatment program for women with substance use and mental health problems.  Findings from this initial study guide her interest in piloting and evaluating trauma-informed interventions such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) in community-based treatment settings for women with co-occurring disorders. Dr. Adams collaborates with an interdisciplinary team of researchers involved in program evaluation for SAMSHA funded substance abuse treatment for vulnerable populations including jail diversion programs, intensive outpatient programs (IOP) for individuals with co-occurring disorders, and HIV risk. Dr. Adams is also a member of the Southeast Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Regional Training Center in collaboration with Meharry Medical College, Department of Family and Community Medicine, interdisciplinary research team in addictions.



Adams, S. M. (2009). Behavioral and Integrative Treatment Development Grant: Feasibility and efficacy of EMDR in women offenders with substance use disorders. NIH/NIDA (R21). Initial submission June 2009.

Adams, S. M. & Sneed, C. (2009). Meharry-Vanderbilt Community Engaged Research Program, "Seeking Safety" at The Next Door. Community partnership mini-grant.

Adams, S. M., Hogan, M., & Wahid, Z. (2003-2004). Integrating substance abuse screening into medical, dental, and nursing school curricula. HRSA/AMERSA Faculty Development Fellowship, Project Mainstream.


Representative Publications

Choi, S., Adams, S. M., Macmaster, S. A., & Seiters, J. (2012). Predictors of residential treatment retention among individuals with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. (Under review.)

Zoorob, R. J., Durkin, K. M., & Adams, S. M. (2012). Training nurses and nursing students about prevention, diagnoses and treatment of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). Journal of Nursing Education. (Under review.)
Adams, S. M., Peden, A. R., Hall, L. A., Rayens, M. K., Staten, R. R., & Leukefeld, C. G. (2011). Predictors of retention of women offenders in a community-based substance abuse treatment program. Journal of Addictions Nursing, 22, 103-116.

Beebe, L. H., Adams, S. M., & El-Mallakh, P. (2011). Putting the “Evidence” in evidence-based practice: Meeting research challenges in community psychiatric settings. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 32, 537-543.

Cooper, R.L., Seiters, J., Davidson, D.L., MacMaster, S.M., Rasch, R.F.R., Adams, S.A., & Darby, K. (2010). Outcomes of Integrated Assertive Community Treatment for Homeless Consumers with Co-Occurring Disorders. Journal of Dual Diagnosis, 6, 152-170.

Macmaster, S. A., Rasch, R. F. R., Kinzly, M., Cooper, R. L., & Adams, S. (2009). Perceptions of sexual risks and injection for HIV among African American women who use crack cocaine in Nashville, TN. Health and Social Work, 34, 283-291.

Jones, J. L., Rasch, R. F. R., Macmaster, S. A., Adams, S. M., & Cooper, R. L. (2009). The experience of African American male commercial sex workers at-risk for HIV: Accessing outreach services. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services, 14, 1-12.

Adams, S. M., Leukefeld, C. G., & Peden, A. R. (2008). Substance abuse treatment for women offenders: A research review. Journal of Addictions Nursing, 19, 61-75.

Vadlamudi, R. S., Adams, S. M., Hogan, B., Wu, T., Florence, J. E., Roh, C. Y., & Wahid, Z. (2007). Nurses attitudes, beliefs and confidence levels regarding care for those who abuse alcohol: Impact of educational intervention. JNursing Educating in Practice. [Epub in advance of print.]

Hogan, M. B. & Adams, S. M. (2007). Screening and referral for alcohol problems: What will it take? Substance Abuse, 28(1), 59.

Hogan, M. B., Adams, S. M., Wahid, Z., & Wilson, S. (2005). Screening and brief intervention for alcohol problems in an underserved population: Development of baseline data via patient interviews. Substance Abuse, 26(3/4), 53-57.


Professional Organizations

American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, member, 2007-present; inducted as Fellow, 2008.

American Nurses Association, member 1990-present; Publishing Advisory Group 2002-2004.

American Nurses Credentialing Center, Item-writer for the initial Psychiatric NP Exam, 2000-2001; Seminar speaker for PMHNP Exam Review, 2006-present.

American Psychiatric Nurses Association, member 1995-present; Legislative Issues Committee, 1999-2001; member of APNA/ANCC Logical Job Analysis Task Group, 2003; member Combined Psych NP/CNS Program Task Force, 2009-2010, Board of Directors Member-at-Large, 2011-2013.

Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse, member and conference presenter 2002-present; inducted as Fellow 2004; Executive Board, Member-at-Large 2009-2012; Chair-Elect Conference Program 2010; Chair Conference Program 2011.

International Nurses Society on Addictions, member 2009-present.

International Society of Psychiatric Nurses, member 1999-2007; Clinical Practice Committee 2000-2002.

National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, member 2001-present; member of Expert Panel for Development of PMHNP Competencies 2003; member of Psychiatric-Mental Health Special Interest Group (Psych SIG) 2004-present; Chair-Elect of Psych SIG 2009-2010; Abstract Reviewer for National Conference, 2008-2009; Task Force on PMHNP Program, Director and Faculty Requirements, 2009-2010.

Journal of Nurse Practitioners, Editorial Board, 2005-2009.
Manuscript Reviewer: Alcoholism: Experimental and Clinical Research, Substance Abuse: Journal of the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse; Journal of Addictions Nursing, Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, Perspectives in Psychiatric Care.


Honors & Awards





Nashville March of Dimes Nurse of the Year, Graduate Nursing Education

International Nurses Society on Addictions, Excellence in Education


Japan Academy of Psychiatric Nurses, Invited Keynote Address, "Expanding the role of psychiatric and mental health nurses: Processes, achievements and challenges." Yokohama, Japan.



American Psychiatric Nurses Association Excellence in Nursing Education



Fellow in the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners



Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Centennial "100 Leaders"



Sigma Theta Tau International, Rising Star in Research



Fellow in the AMERSA Academy of Faculty Scholars



Tennessee Nurses Association Excellence in Nursing Award



Policy & Advisory Board Memberships

Foundations Recovery Network - Research Advisory Group 2009-present

Grace House - Transitional Housing and Recovery Program - Board Member 2009 to present.

Mental Health Cooperative - Board Member and Secretary, 1998 to present.

Vanderbilt Home Care Professional Advisory Board - Member, 1997 to present.