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Diane F. Mahoney, PhD, ANP-BC, FGSA, FAAN

Office Location:

B39 - 146

Phone: (617) 643-2745

Jacques Mohr Research Professor, Nursing

Full-Time Faculty

Dr. Diane Feeney Mahoney is the Institute's Jacque Mohr Professor of Geriatric Nursing Research, and Director of Gerontechnology Research and Development. She is also Senior Scientist at the Massachusetts General Hospital Munn Center for Nursing Research.

Dr. Mahoney is a geriatric nurse practitioner, senior social science researcher, and gerontologist who has been developing and testing innovative ways to use telecommunication and wireless sensor based technologies with frail and cognitively impaired older adults and their family caregivers for the last twenty years.

As an internationally acknowledged pioneer in the field of Gerontechnology (aging and technology), she has developed:

  • Wireless sensor based technology interventions to help elders, family members and professional caregivers better manage health and safety issues faced in home/ residential settings
  • The first smart dresser to enable persons with dementia to dress independently
  • The first multi-corporate remote home monitoring of elder activities by working caregivers
  • The first successful triage of activity and safety alert reporting among staff, NP clinicians, and families of residents in independent and assisted living residences
  • The first evidence based computerized consumer educational program that differentiates serious memory loss from normal forgetfulness

Her main interest is in conducting applied research that informs elder caregiving, geriatric practice, and health policy. She conducts feasibility and usability qualitative studies for new technologies and quantitative randomized outcome studies for matured interventions. Dr. Mahoney also serves as a consultant to businesses seeking to improve geriatric product designs, appeal, and usability.

Her research program has been primarily funded federally by the National Institutes of Health through the National Institute of Aging, National Institute of Nursing Research, and the Technology Opportunity Program at the Dept of Commerce, and privately through Foundation grants from the Alzheimer's Association and Intel Corporation. She has published original research findings in the leading informatics, social science, nursing, and gerontology journals and has been the recipient of numerous awards for her research and scholarship. Mahoney is a fellow in both the Gerontological Society of America and the American Academy of Nursing.


BS, Nursing, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA
MS, Gerontological Nursing/Geriatric Nurse Practitioner, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
PhD, Health Policy and Aging Research, Heller School, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA

Research Interest:

Dr. Mahoney is developing a "smart dresser" that senses and interacts with persons in middle stage dementia to guide them in real time according to their responsiveness through the dressing process. DRESS ultimately aims to reduce the demand on family caregivers for constant cueing and guidance and provide a respite break period. The proof of concept research was funded by the Alzheimer’s Association ETAC program (2011-13) for the original design and alpha prototype development of DRESS – (Developing a Responsive Emotive Sensing System). DRESS won the 2014 International Society of Gerontechnology Leading Edge Award for the best innovative technology.

Through funding from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Nursing Research, the system is being refined to incorporate feedback from cross cultural caregivers' focus groups to ensure adaptation to a variety of caregiving settings and users. She and her research team colleagues at NYU led by Dr. Winslow Burleson, PhD and Arizona State University School of Nursing headed by Dr. David Coon, PhD are collaborating in this project.

Publications & Presentations:

D.F. Mahoney, W. Burleson, C. Lazano, V. Ravishankar, E. Mahoney. 2015. Prototype Development of a Responsive Emotive Sensing System (DRESS) to aid persons with dementia to dress independently. Gerontechnology 13(3)345-358. doi:10.4017/gt.2015.

V.K. Ravishankar, W. Burleson, D. Mahoney. 2015. Smart Home Strategies for User-Centered Functional Assessment of Older Adults. International Journal of Automation and Smart Technology in press

C. Lozano, W. Burleson, V. Ravishankar, J. Lee, K. Muldner, D. Mahoney. 2014. Assisting with Dressing Activities for People with Dementia via Adaptive Prompting. Alzheimer’s & Dementia 14 (10):443; doi:10.1016/jalz.2014.05.597

D.F. Mahoney, W. Burleson, C. Lazano, V. Ravishankar, E. Mahoney. 2014. Development of a Responsive Emotive Sensing System (DRESS) to aid persons with dementia to dress independently. Gerontechnology 13(2):259; doi:10.4017/gt.2014.

D.F. Mahoney, S. LaRose, E. Mahoney. 2013. Family caregivers’ perspectives on dementia related dressing difficulties at home: The Preservation of Self Model. Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice. Available online before print, September 11, 2013, doi:10.1177/1471301213501821

See Curriculum Vitae for complete list. 

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