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

Lopez, R.P., Hendricksen M., McCarthy E.P., et al. (2022) Association of Nursing Home Organizational Culture and Staff Perspectives With Variability in Advanced Dementia Care: The ADVANCE Study. JAMA Intern Med. 182(3):313–323. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.7921

Lopez, R. P., McCarthy, E. P., Mazor, K. M., Hendricksen, M., McLennon, S., Johnson, K. S., & Mitchell, S. L. (2021). ADVANCE: Methodology of a qualitative study. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 69(8), 2132–2142.

Yuan, F., Klavon, E., Liu, Z., Lopez, R. P., & Zhao, X. (2021). A Systematic Review of Robotic Rehabilitation for Cognitive Training. Frontiers in robotics and AI, 8, 605715.

Akunor, H. S., McCarthy, E. P., Hendricksen, M., Roach, A., Hendrix Rogers, A., Mitchell, S. L., & Lopez, R. P. (2022). Nursing Home Staff Perceptions of End-of-Life Care for Residents With Advanced Dementia: A Multisite Qualitative Study. Journal of hospice and palliative nursing : JHPN : the official journal of the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association, 10.1097/NJH.0000000000000843. Advance online publication.

Roach, A., Rogers, A. H., Hendricksen, M., McCarthy, E. P., Mitchell, S. L., & Lopez, R. P. (2022). Guilt as an Influencer in End-of-Life Care Decisions for Nursing Home Residents With Advanced Dementia. Journal of gerontological nursing, 48(1), 22–27.

Hendricksen, M., Mitchell, S. L., Lopez, R. P., Mazor, K. M., & McCarthy, E. P. (2021). Facility Characteristics Associated With Intensity of Care of Nursing Homes and Hospital Referral Regions. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, S1525-8610(21)00935-X. Advance online publication.

Rogers, A. H., Epps, F., Hendricksen, M., Roach, A., Akunor, H. S., & Lopez, R. P. (2021). Trust of Nursing Home Staff Caring for Residents with Advanced Dementia: A Qualitative Descriptive Study of Family Caregivers' Perspectives. Geriatric nursing (New York, N.Y.), 42(6), 1362–1366.