Faculty Sketch

Melanie Lutenbacher, PhD, MSN, FAAN

Associate Professor of Nursing and Medicine (Pediatrics)


Current Research Interests

  • Community and home-based interventions to prevent or reduce known risks associated with preterm births, at-risk parenting, family violence and infant mortality.
  • Family-centered systems of care for high-risk families (e.g., abuse/violence, children with special healthcare needs, poverty).
  • Maternal psychosocial predictors of abusive or at-risk parenting including depressive symptoms, stress, and self esteem.
  • Program efficacy and implementation fidelity

Grants/Scholarly Projects

Evaluating the Maternal Infant Outreach Worker (MIHOW) Program using a randomized clinical trial in a Latina population: A Promising Approach. Sinclair, W. – PI (Catholic Charities). Lutenbacher, M. – PI of Evaluation. State of Tennessee. Division of Family Health and Wellness. 2013 – 2016.

Planning for the Evaluation of a Community-Based Prenatal Intervention: Best Baby Shower. Hamilton, J. & Lutenbacher, M. (co-PIs). Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance Grant.

Perspectives of African American Women on Breastfeeding Support from Pediatric Providers. Lutenbacher, M. (Co-PI) & Karp, S. (Co-PI). Vanderbilt University, Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research & in-kind. (2013 – 2014). 

Competent Families = Safe Children. Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, Administration for Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services. Williams, S (PI). South Carolina Children's Trust. Lutenbacher, M., (PI), VU subcontract. (2009-2013)

Reducing Preterm Births through Tennessee Connections for Better Birth Outcomes. BlueCross BlueShield Tennessee Health Foundation. Lutenbacher, M., (Co-PI), Gabbe-Temple, P., (Co-PI), Walsh, W., Dietrich, M, Carpenter, L., Karp, S. & Garrison, E. (2006-2013)

Preventing Premature Births: Identifying the Needs of Hispanic Women. Vanderbilt University Center for Nashville Studies. Lutenbacher, M., (PI) & Salisbury, M. (2007-2009)

Comparing risk factors between African American mothers who deliver a term infant with African American mothers who deliver a preterm infant. VUMC Intramural Funding. Temple, P., Lutenbacher, M., (Co-PI) & Walsh, W. (2004-2006)

The Tennessee Family-to-Family Health Information Center. Maternal Child Health Bureau. Westlake, C. (PI) Tennessee Disability Coalition. Lutenbacher, M. (PI), VU subcontract. (2002-2010)

Representative Publications

Young, C. C., Dietrich, M. S., & Lutenbacher, M. (2014). Brooding and reflection as explanatory of depressive symptoms in adolescents experiencing stressful life events. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 35 (3), 175-180.

Lutenbacher, M., Gabbe, P.T., Karp, S.M., Dietrich, M.S, Narrigan, D., Carpenter, L., Walsh, W. (2014). Does additional prenatal care in the home improve birth outcomes for women with a prior preterm delivery? A randomized clinical trial. Maternal and Child Health Journal. 18 (5), 1142-1154. Advance online publication 2013: DOI 10.1007/s10995-013-1344-4.

Karp, S., Howe-Heyman, Abby, Dietrich, M., Lutenbacher, M. (2013). Breastfeeding initiation in the context of a home intervention to promote better birth outcomes. Breastfeeding Medicine, 8 (4): 381-387. DOI:10.1089/bfm.2012.0151

Lutenbacher, M., Karp, S., Dietrich, M., Sullivan, J. (2013). Are services to Tennessee children with special health care needs comparable with national achievement of MCHB Objectives? Public Health Nursing, 30 (1): 7-17. DOI: 10.1111/phn.12000

Karp, S., Lutenbacher, M., & Dietrich, M. (2011). The associations of psychosocial factors and infant feeding beliefs and practices of young, first time, low income mothers. Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing. 33(4):268-87.

Karp. S. &Lutenbacher, M. (2011). Infant feeding practices of young, first-time mothers. American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing. 36(2), March/April: 98-103

Temple, P., Lutenbacher, M., & Vitale, J. (2008). Limited access to care and home healthcare. Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology. 51(2), 371-384.

Lutenbacher, M., Karp, S., Ajero, G., Howe, D., & Williams, M. (2005). Crossing community sectors: Challenges faced by families of children with special health care needs. Journal of Family Nursing, 11(2), 162-182.

Lutenbacher, M., Cohen, A., & Conner, N. (2004). Breaking the cycle of family violence: Understanding the perspective of battered women. Journal of Pediatric Health Care18, 236-243.

Cooper, W. O., Lutenbacher, M., Faccia, K., & Hepworth, J. (2003). Planning of youth violence-prevention programs: Development of a guiding measure. Public Health Nursing, 20(6), 432-439.

Lutenbacher, M., Cohan, A., Mitzel, J. (2003). Do we really help? Perspectives of abused women. Public Health Nursing, 20(1), 56-64.

Lutenbacher, M. (2002). Relationships between psychosocial factors and abusive parenting attitudes in low-income single mothers. Nursing Research, 51(3), 158-167.

Lutenbacher, M., Cooper, W. O., & Faccia, K. (2002). Planning youth violence prevention efforts: Decision-making across community sectors. Journal of Adolescent Health, 30(5), 346-354.

Lutenbacher, M. (2001). Psychometric assessment of the Adult-Adolescent Parenting Inventory in a sample of low-income single mothers. Journal of Nursing Measurement, 9(3), 291-308.

Cooper, W. O., Lutenbacher, M., & Faccia, K. (2000). Components of effective youth violence prevention programs for 7- to 14-year olds. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 154(11), 1134-1139.

Lutenbacher, M. (2000). Perceptions of health status and the relationship with abuse history and mental health in low-income single mothers. Journal of Family Nursing, 6(4), 320-340.

Sachs, B., Hall, L. A., Lutenbacher, M., & Rayens, M. K. (1999). The physical health of rural mothers and their low birth weight children. Journal of Community Health Nursing, 16(4), 209-222.

Sachs, B., Hall, L. A., Lutenbacher, M., & Rayens, M. K. (1999). Potential for abusive parenting by rural mothers with low birth weight children. Image: Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 31, 21-25.

Lutenbacher, M., & Hall, L. A. (1998). The effects of maternal psychosocial factors on parenting attitudes of low-income, single mothers with young children. Nursing Research, 47(1), 25-34.

Norman, L., & Lutenbacher, M. (1996). Process of continual improvement in a school of nursing. Nursing and Healthcare: Perspectives on Community, 17, 292-297.

Hall, L. A., Sachs, B., Rayens, M. K., & Lutenbacher, M. (1993). Childhood physical and sexual abuse - Their relationships with depressive symptoms in adulthood. Image: Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 25, 317-323. (Awarded Best of Image Award, 1995)


Professional Organizations

  • American Academy of Nursing
  • American Nurses' Association
  • American Public Health Association
  • Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science
  • Sigma Theta Tau
  • Southern Nursing Research Society