Faculty Sketch

Terrah Foster Akard, PhD, RN, CPNP

Assistant Professor of Nursing and Medicine (Pediatrics)



Current Research Interests

  • Psychosocial interventions to reduce suffering and improve quality of life in pediatric palliative care populations
  • Relationships among continuing bonds, grief, and coping in bereaved families who experience the death of a child
  • Changes experienced by bereaved siblings after the cancer-related death of their brother or sister

Representative Publications

Foster TL, Contreras R, Gordon JE, Roth M & Gilmer MJ. (In press). Comparison of continuing bonds in Ecuador and the United States Bereavement Care.


Gilmer MJ, Foster TL, Vannatta K, Barrera M, Davies B, Dietrich MS, Fairclough DL, Grollman J & Gerhardt CA. (2012). Changes in parents after the death of a child from cancer. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. Jul 10. [Epub ahead of print]


Gilmer MJ, Carter B, Bell CJ & Foster TL. (2012). Parental perceptions of care of children at end-of-life. American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. May 8. [Epub ahead of print]


Foster TL, Bell C, McDonald C, Harris J & Gilmer MJ. (2012 Invited). Palliative nursing care for children and adolescents with cancer. Nursing: Research and Reviews. 2012: 17-25.


Foster TL, Dietrich MS, Friedman DL, Gordon JE & Gilmer MJ. (2012). National Survey of Children’s Hospitals on Legacy-Making Activities. Journal of Palliative Medicine. 15: 573-578.


Foster, TL, Bell CJ & Gilmer MJ. (2012 Invited). Symptom management of spiritual suffering in pediatric palliative care. Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing. 14: 116-117.


Foster TL, Gilmer MJ, Vannatta K, Davies B, Barrera M, Fairclough DL & Gerhardt CA. (2012). Changes in siblings after the death of a brother or sister to cancer. Cancer Nursing. 15(5).


Gerhardt CA, Fairclough DL, Grossenbacher JC, Barrera M, Gilmer MJ, Foster TL, Compas BE, Davies B, Hogan NS & Vannatta K. (2011), Peer relationships of bereaved siblings and comparison classmates after a child’s death from cancer. Journal of Pediatric Psychology. 37(2): 209-19. [Epub 2011 Sep 24].

Thompson AL, Miller KS, Barrera M, Compas B, Davies B, Fairclough DL, Foster TL, Gilmer MJ, Hogan N, Vannatta K & Gerhardt CA. (2011). A qualitative study of advice from bereaved parents and siblings. Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life and Palliative Care. 7: 153-172


Foster TL, Gilmer MJ, Davies B, Dietrich M, Barrera M, Fairclough DL, Vannatta K & Gerhardt CA. (2011). Comparison of continuing bonds reported by parents and siblings after a child’s death from cancer. Death Studies. 35: 420-440.


Foster TL, LaFond D, Reggio C &Hinds P. (2010 Invited). State of the science on pediatric palliative care. Seminars in Oncology Nursing. 26: 205-221.


Foster TL. (2010). Personal reflections on legacy-making. Journal of Palliative and Supportive Care. 8: 1-2.


Foster TL, Gilmer MJ, Davies B, Barrera M, Fairclough DL, Vannatta K & Gerhardt CA. (2009). Bereaved parents’ and siblings’ reports of legacies created by children with cancer. Journal of Pediatric Oncology. 26(6): 369-376.


Foster, TL & Gilmer MJ. (2008). Continuing bonds: A human response within paediatric palliative care. International Journal of Palliative Nursing. 14(2): 85-91.


Foster TL. (2007). Pediatric palliative care revisited: A vision to add life. Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing. 9: 212-219.


Professional Organizations

  • Nurse Faculty Scholars, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Research Committee Member, Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association
  • Oncology Nursing Society
  • Southern Nursing Research Society
  • Sigma Theta Tau