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Cynthia Connelly

Cynthia D. Connelly, Ph.D.

Scholars Professor and Director of Nursing Research
University of San Diego

Contact Information

University of San Diego
Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science
(619) 260-7938


Dr. Connelly is the Scholars Professor and Director of Research at the University of San Diego Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science Beyster Institute for Nursing Research. She is also a research scientist at CASRC and a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing. She works with nationally and internationally recognized scientists and practitioners to develop, evaluate, and refine early intervention/prevention strategies. In her work targeting diverse populations to lead healthier lives now and for future generations her scholarship provides empirically derived knowledge to inform practice and health policy. As an internationally recognized expert in health services research she can offer expertise in conducting research studies which focus on behavioral and social functioning at the level of the individual, small group, institution, or community, with translation into effective intervention strategies to facilitate more effective health service delivery in real world settings.

Research Interests

  • Co-occurrence of substance abuse, domestic violence, and mental health issues for women of childbearing age. 
  • Improving the identification of and intervention for these co-occurring problems in community maternal child health settings using culturally appropriate early identification and intervention strategies.

Research Focus

Dr. Connelly’s research and clinical practice focuses on prevention science and early intervention with populations experiencing health disparities, with an overall aim to evoke individual, family, community, and social change.

Her expertise is in the areas of: decreasing disparities and improving care for diverse populations; and dissemination, evaluating methods by which appropriate interventions are introduced and adopted in clinical practice, including factors that inhibit or facilitate such adoption.


  • Bush, R., Stahmer, A.C., & Connelly, C.D. (in press). Exploring Perceptions and Use of the Electronic Health Record by Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Qualitative Study. Health Informatics Journal, 1–10. First published on May 19, 2015 as DOI: 10.1177/1460458215581911
  • James, K.S., Matsangas, P., & Connelly, C.D. (2014). Maternal Self-Efficacy and Family Routines. ICAN: Infant, Child, & Adolescent Nutrition, 6(6), 351-356.
  • James, K.S., Matsangas, P., & Connelly, C.D. (2013). Childhood Obesity Risk in Overweight Mothers Support for Screening. ICAN: Infant, Child, & Adolescent Nutrition, 1941406413501865.
  • Miklush, L., & Connelly, C.D. (2013). Maternal Depression and Infant Development: Theory and Current Evidence. MCN: The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing, 38(6), 369-374.
  • Connelly, C.D., Hazen, A.L., Baker-Ericzén, M.J., Landsverk, J., & Horwitz, S.M. (2013). Is screening for depression in the perinatal period enough? The co-occurrence of depression, substance abuse, and intimate partner violence in culturally diverse pregnant women. Journal of Women's Health, 22(10), 844-852.
  • Baker-Ericzén, M.J., Connelly, C.D., Hazen, A.L., Landsverk, J., & Horwitz, S.M. (2012). A collaborative care telemedicine intervention to overcome treatment barriers for Latina women with depression during the perinatal period. Families, Systems, & Health, 30(3), 224-240.

Current Projects

Since starting her research career with a NIDA funded postdoctoral fellowship, followed by a NIDA K01, she has served on and led, numerous NIH funded studies in promoting health through prevention/early intervention. As PI on a NIMH funded R01 study (R01MH075788), she recently completed a successful randomized clinical trial evaluating the effectiveness of an intervention incorporating telehealth to improve the screening, referral, and treatment for maternal depression among low-income culturally diverse women during the perinatal period. She has conducted 6 major studies (as PI) focusing on women and family physical and mental health issues and health inequities, as well as developing and testing culturally responsive interventions in the health care system to improve its response to families and co-occurring health inequities. She has a strong commitment and demonstrated achievement in mentoring aspiring interdisciplinary junior faculty and doctoral students to build research capacity by engaging in team science and is currently a mentor in the Robert Wood Johnson Future of Nursing Scholars program and a Jonas Scholar faculty mentor.