Ruth Palan Lopez PhD, GNP-BC, FAAN

Profile photo of Ruth Palan Lopez, she has cropped brown hair and wears a long strand of pearls over her dark blue turtleneck sweater
Professor and Associate Dean of Research, Jacques Mohr Chair
(617) 726-1015
Office Location: 
Shouse 216

Dr. Ruth Palan Lopez is Professor and Associate Dean of Research, Jacques Mohr Chair, and Director of the Office of Nursing Research and Scholarship in the School of Nursing at MGH Institute of Health Professions.  

Dr. Lopez is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN) and the Gerontological Society of America, and currently serves as a reviewer for the National Institute of Health (NIH).  She has served on several international scientific review panels in countries such as the Netherlands, Israel and the Alzheimer’s Society in the United Kingdom.

With  more than 25 years of experience as a gerontological nurse practitioner, Dr. Lopez has achieved international recognition as a visiting expert in geriatric nursing and is published widely in numerous prestigious journals. Additionally, Dr. Lopez has served as Vice-President of the Massachusetts Coalition of Nurse Practitioners and was inducted to Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society.

She  received several awards for her accomplishments in research, education, and clinical practice including the Partners in Excellence Award for Outstanding Community Service and an established researcher award from the Gerontological Advance Practice Nurses Association.

Dr. Lopez is dedicated to developing and implementing innovative programs to improve the care of older adults in both hospitals and long-term care facilities and is pioneering a nurse-led movement to ensure accessibility of Intensive Individualized Comfort Care.

Dr. Lopez is funded by the NIH National Institute on Aging for her current projects entitled: ADVANCE: Assessment of Disparities and Variations for Alzheimer's Disease Nursing Home Care at End of Life, and ADVANCE Covid-19. (R01AG058539 02)

Research Interests

  • The needs of nursing home residents with advanced dementia and their family caregivers
  • Nurses’ perceptions of end-of-life care in nursing homes
  • Family caregivers’ perceptions of treatment decision making
  • The influence of nursing home culture on feeding decisions in advanced dementia
  • Uncertainty among family caregivers of nursing home residents with dementia


BS, Nursing, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA
MS, Gerontological Nursing, Boston University, Boston, MA
PhD, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA
Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania



Most Recent Publications

Brewster, G. S., Bonds, K., McLennon, S., Moss, K. O., Epps, F., & Lopez, R. P. (2020). Missing the Mark: The Complexity of African American Dementia Family Caregiving. Journal of Family Nursing, 1074840720945329.

Holle, C., Sundean, L., Dellefield, M., Wong, J., & Lopez, R. (2019). Examining the Beliefs of Skilled Nursing Facility Directors of Nursing Regarding BSN Completion and the Impact of Nurse Leader Education on Patient Outcomes. JONA, 49(2), 57-60.

Epps, F., Rose, K. M., & Lopez, R. P. (2019). Who's Your Family? African American Caregivers of Older Adults With Dementia. Research in Gerontological Nursing, 12(1), 20-26.

Lopez, R. P., & Molony, S.L., (2018). Dementia: Weight loss and mealtime challenges. Journal for Nurse Practitioners.14(3), 153-159. doi.