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Lauren S. Aaronson, Ph.D., RN, FAAN

Lauren Aaronson portrait
Professor Emerita

Professional Background

Dr. Lauren S. Aaronson retired in 2016 after 27 years at KUMC. She was recruited from the University of Michigan to be the associate dean for research in the SON in 1989 and served in that role for 12 years. During her tenure as associate dean for research the SON enjoyed a better than 60% success rate for external grants submitted and achieved a top15 ranking among all SONs in NIH funding for research. In the mid-90s Dr. Aaronson obtained NIH funding to establish a Center for Fatigue Management in the SON that facilitated launching the research programs of several SON faculty. Dr. Aaronson’s own research focused on understanding and promoting positive health behaviors among a variety of populations.  She has published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles and gave or was co-author on over 100 peer-reviewed and invited presentations. 

During her time at KU Medical Center Dr. Aaronson spent 2 years at NIH as senior advisor to the director of the National Institute of Nursing Research, largely focused on cross-NIH initiatives in the then NIH Roadmap for Research. When she returned to KUMC in 2006 she partnered with Dr. Richard Barohn to establish the Frontiers program. After obtaining initial NIH and other start-up funding to launch Frontiers, they jointly submitted and were awarded a $20M Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) for Frontiers. The CTSA program began out of the NIH Roadmap for Research and is one of the largest single programs currently supported by NIH. Dr. Aaronson also was principally involved in developing and writing the competitive renewal for Frontiers that was funded shortly after she retired. When she retired, the Frontiers pilot funding program was named the ‘Lauren S Aaronson Frontiers Clinical and Translational Research Pilot Funding Program’ in her honor. Frontiers continues to thrive under new leadership following Dr. Aaronson’s retirement and Dr. Barohn’s departure from KUMC. 

  • 1983, University of Washington, Seattle‑‑Ph.D. in Sociology. Major Areas: Medical Sociology, Social Psychology, Research Methods and Statistics
  • 1974, University of California, Los Angeles‑‑M.N. With Distinction. Clinical Specialization in Community Mental Health Nursing
  • 1969, California State University, Los Angeles‑‑B.S. With Honors. Major in Nursing
  • 1993, Elected to Fellowship in American Academy of Nursing
  • 1995, Midwest Nursing Research Society Distinguished Contribution to Research in the Midwest Award
  • 2002, Faculty Investigator Research Award, University of Kansas Medical Center
  • 2014, Honorary Mentoring Award, University of Kansas Medical Center School of Medicine
  • 2015, Marjorie S. Sirridge, MD, Excellence in Medicine & Science Award, KUMC Women in Medicine & Science
  • 2018, Lifetime Achievement Award, Midwest Nursing Research Society

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