faculty profile

Cathy Maxwell   PhD, RN, FAAN



Dr. Maxwell co-chairs the Vanderbilt Center for Gerontological Nursing Excellence and serves on national advisory boards to promote best practices among professional organizations and policy advocates. Dr. Maxwell’s research is directed at mitigating decline associated with aging and frailty. She has developed interventions to promote healthy aging among adults age 50+ and to assist health care providers in guiding older adults to take a more proactive role in managing their aging trajectories. Interventions include a booklet, titled, Aging: Important Things to Know, the AFRESH health and wellness program, and most recently, a video series, titled, “How to Slow Down Aging Through Mitochondrial Fitness.”

Download a free pdf copy of Aging: Important Things to Know by Cathy Maxwell, PhD, RN, FAAN.

Current Research/Scholarly Interests

 Aging, Frailty, Geroscience, Mitochondrial Fitness

Current Projects

2021-2023 Maxwell, CA (PI). Vanderbilt Seeding Success- Faculty Seed Funding Program. Mitochondrial Fitness and the AFRESH Wellness Program. Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN) (completed December 2023)


 2023-2026 HRSA-T48HP52038-01-00 Holt, J, Ketel, C, McNelis, A, Jeffries, P, Pfieffer, ML, Kleinpell, R, Steed, J, Walker, J, Maxwell, CA (Co-I), Plummer, C. Nurse education, practice, quality and retention simulation education training program. ($1, 500,000)

2022-2026 NSF-SCC IRG Track 1 (2225890) Sarkar, N, Mion, LC,...Maxwell, CA (Co-I). Reducing loneliness for long term care older adults through collaborative augmented reality. ($2,250,000)

2022-2024 NIH-NIA (R21 AG078480-01) Sarkar, N, Mion, LC, ... Maxwell, CA (Co-I). Reducing loneliness of older adults in long term care facilities through collaborative augmented reality. ($243,987)

2022-2025 NIH-NIA (R01 AG062685) Sarkar, N, Mion, LC, ... Maxwell, CA (Co-I). Impact of Socially Assistive Robotic Architecture on Engaging Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Related Dementia in Long Term Care Settings. ($3,130,000)

Submitted:February 2024 Stolldorf, DP, Moser, D, Maxwell, CA (Co-I), Dietrich, MS. Implementation Effectiveness of a Tailored Support Intervention for Caregivers of Hospital at Home Patients. (NIH-R01, PAR-22-105) (December 2024- 2029)

January 2024 Kleinpell, R, McNellis, A, Maxwell, CA (Co-PD), Muchira, J, Dietrich, MS. Project ATTAIN: Social Determinants of Health Education in Nursing Research. (NIH-NINR R25, RFA-NR-24-002) (July 2024- 2027)

Representative Publications


 Kimpel, C.C., Lauderdale, J., Schlundt, D.G., Dietrich, M.D., Ratcliff, A.C., Maxwell, C.A. Life-stage and contextual factors of advance care planning among older adults with limited income. Journal of Applied Gerontology. (Accepted for publication- January 16, 2024).

Moloney, E, O’Donovan, M, ... Maxwell, C, O’Caoimh, R., et al. (2024) Core components of frailty screening in the emergency department: An International Delphi consensus study. (accepted to Age and Aging; in press )

Rhoten, B, Jones, AC, Maxwell, CA, Stolldorf, DP. (2024) Hospital adaption to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic effects on MARQUIS Toolkit implementation and sustainability. Journal of Healthcare Quality, 46(1), 1-11.

Saucier, JA, Dietrich, MS, Maxwell, CA, Lane-Fall, M, Minnick, A. (2023). Trauma patient transitions from critical care: A survey of U.S. trauma centers. Journal of Trauma Nursing, 30(6), 318-327.

Boon, J, Dietrich, MS, Schirle, L, Maxwell, CA. (2023). Caregiving self-efficacy and pain assessment by family caregivers of people living with dementia. Geriatric Nursing, 53: 146-152.

Kimpel, C.C., Lauderdale, J., Schlundt, D.G., Dietrich, M.D., Ratcliff, A.C., Maxwell, C.A. (2023). The impact of COVID on end-of-life planning views, social connection, and quality of life for low-income older adults: A qualitative study. Palliative and Supportive Care, 4:1-7

Boon, J, Dietrich, MS, Schirle, L, Maxwell, CA. (2023) People living with dementia: dementia characteristics and family caregiver pain assessment. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 49(7), 17-23. https://doi.org/10.3928/00989134-20230515-04

Kovaleva, MA, Hepburn, K, Kleinpell, R, Dietrich, MS, Jones, AC, Boon, JT, Duggan, MC, Dennis, BM, Lauderdale, J, Muhimpundu, S, Maxwell, CA. (2023) Addressing Caregiver Burden during Persons’ Living with Dementia Post-Hospitalization Period. MedSurg Nursing, 32(6), 386- 394.

Kovaleva, MA, Hepburn, K, Kleinpell, R, Dietrich, MS, Jones, AC, Boon, JT, Duggan, MC, Dennis, BM, Lauderdale, J, Maxwell, CA. (2023) Caregivers’ experience with Tele-Savvy caregiver program post-hospitalization. Geriatric Nursing, 51: 156-166.

Frechman, E, Dietrich, MS, Buck, HG, Rhoten, BA, Maxwell, CA. (2023) Readiness to plan for aging and frailty: Examining contextual factors. J Gerontological Nursing, 49(2), 27-35.

Frechman, E, Dietrich, MS, Buck, HG, Rhoten, BA, Maxwell, CA. (2023) Planning for aging and frailty: A qualitative study on older adults’ perceptions, facilitators, and barriers. J Ageing and Longevity, 3(1), 72-89.

Maxwell, C.A., Roberts, C., Oesmann, K., Muhimpundu, S., Archer, K. R., Patel, M., Mulubrhan, M., Muchira, J., Boon, J., LaNoue, M. Health and wellness for disadvantaged older adults: The AFRESH pilot study. PEC Innovation, December (2022).

Frechman, E, Dietrich, MS, Buck, HG, Rhoten, BA, Maxwell, CA. (2022) PLAN: Preparing and living for aging now- A descriptive study investigating older adults’ readiness to plan for aging and frailty. Geriatric Nursing, 47: 164-170.

Frechman, E, Dietrich, MS, Buck, H, Maxwell, CA. (2022) Development of a planning for aging and frailty questionnaire. Research in Gerontological Nursing, 15(5), 239-244.

Niehoff, K., Stolldorf, D., Maxwell, C.A., Kripilani, S. (2022). Hospital at home: Development of pharmacy services. Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, 79(22), 1981-1987.

Joseph, B., Salijuqi, A.T., Phuong, J. et al. & the Geriatric Trauma Panel Group (i.e., Maxwell, C.A.). (2022) Developing a national trauma research action plan (NTRAP): Results from the geriatric research gap delphi survey. Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, 93(2), 209-219.

Kimpel, C., Jones, A.C. Ratcliff, A., Maxwell, C.A. (2022) Affordable housing specialists’ perceptions of advance care planning among low-income older adult resident: A qualitative study. Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing, 24(4), 232-239.

Coogan, A., Kimpel, C., Jones, A., Barroso, J., Frechman, E., Maxwell, C.A. (2021). Perspectives on aging and end-of-life among lower socioeconomic (SES) older adults: A qualitative study. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 41(6), 1595-1603.

Miller, S., Lee, D.S., Muhimpundu, S., Maxwell, C.A. (2021). Developing and pilot testing a frailty-focused education and communication training workshop. Patient Education and Counseling Innovation, 1(2), 1-6.

Kimpel, C., Walden, R., Maxwell, C.A. (2021). Advance care planning among African Americans: A review and synthesis of theory. Palliative and Supportive Care, 60(6), 1208-22.

Kovaleva, M.A., Jones, A., Maxwell, C.A. (2021). Immigrants and dementia: Literature update. Geriatric Nursing, 42(5), 1218-1221

Lee, D., Maxwell, C.A., Miller, S. (2021). “This is me!”: Perceptions of older adult standardized patients in an aging and injury simulation experience. J Trauma Nursing, 28(1), 10-20.

Werthman, J.A., Maxwell, C.A., Dietrich, M.S., Jordan, L.M., Minnick, A.F. (2021). Moderate sedation education for nurses in interventional radiology to promote patient safety: Results of a national survey. J Radiology Nursing, 40(1), 49-55.

Maxwell, C.A., Rothman, R., Wolever, R., Simmons, S., Dietrich, M.S., Miller, R., Patel, M., Karlekar, M.B., Ridner, S. (2020) Development and testing of a frailty-focused communication (FCOM) aid for older adults. Geriatric Nursing, 41(6), 936-941.

Boon, J., Maxwell, C.A. (2020) Policy opportunities to support family caregivers managing pain in people with dementia. Pain Management Nursing, 22(1), 8-10.

Maxwell, C.A., Mixon, A.S., Conner, E., Phillippi, J. (2020) Receptivity of hospitalized older adults and family caregivers to prognostic information about aging, injury, and frailty. International J of Nursing Studies, Jul 6; 60(6): 1208-1222.

Frechman, E, Dietrich, M.S., Walden, R., Maxwell, C.A. (2020) Exploring the uptake of advance care planning in older adults: An integrative review. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 60(6), 1208-1222)

Werthman, J, Dietrich, MS, Maxwell, CA, Jordan, LM, Minnick, AF. (2020) The administration of moderate sedation and the role of the radiology nurse. J Radiology Nursing, 39(2), 92-98.

Wang, J., Dietrich, M.S., Bell, S.P., Maxwell, C.A., Simmons, S.F., Kripalani, S. (2019) Change in vulnerability among older adults after hospital discharge: Does home health make a difference? BMJ Open, Jan 29; 9(1): e024766

Wang, J., Maxwell, C.A., Yu, F. (2019) Biological processes and biomarkers related to frailty in older adults: A state-of-art literature review. Biological Research for Nursing, 21(1), 80-106.

Maxwell, C.A., Patel, M.B., Suarez-Rodriquez, L.C., Miller, R.S. (2019) Frailty and prognostication in geriatric surgery and trauma. Clinics of Geriatric Medicine, 35(1), 13-26

Book Chapters

Maxwell, C.A. (2017). Nursing considerations in general evaluation, risk management, and goals of care. In Rodriguez, A., Barraco, R., Ivatury, R.R. (Eds.) Geriatric Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, New York: Springer, ISBN: 3319574027, 9783319574028

Maxwell, C.A., Rader, E., Fallon, W.F. (2013). Outcomes for surgical care in the elderly. In Yellon, J.A. & Luchette, F.A. (Eds.) Geriatric Trauma, New York: Springer, ISBN-10: 1461485002.



Representative Presentations

Maxwell, C.A. Staying healthy longer: Innovative Strategies. (Positive Aging Conference 2024, Middle Tennessee State University- April 5, 2024)

Maxwell, C.A. & Lee, Deborah. Learning and Communicating about Aging and Brain Health. Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO). (2024 Winter Think Tank, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN- February 26, 2024)

Maxwell, C.A. Mitochondrial-Nuclear Genomic Interactions: The Need to Advance Nursing Knowledge. (TIGER [Translation & Integration of Genomics is Essential to Doctoral Nursing] 2024 Conference, Naples, FL- January 16, 2024)

Kleinpell, R. & Maxwell, C.A. Advancing Faculty Scholarship by Augmenting a Center for Research Development and Scholarship. AACN Doctoral Conference. (Naples, FL- Jan. 18-20, 2024)

Stolldorf, D, Maxwell, CA, Kripalani, S, Mixon, A, Schlundt, DG, Bonnett, K, Ivory, C, Horr, T, French, B, Utrankar, H, Jones, AC, Choma, N, Vasilevskis, E, Sachs, A, Niehoff, K. Patient perceptions of hospital at home programs: patient and system-level factors. Sigma Theta Tau 47th Biennial Convention. (November 11-15, 2023)

Kimpel, C, Lauderdale, J, Schlundt, D, Dietrich, MS, Ratcliff, A, Maxwell, CA. Life-course and contextual factors of advance care planning among older adults with limited income.
Gerontological Society of America (GSA) Annual Conference, Tampa, FL- November 8-12, 2023)

Boon, J, Maxwell, CA. Using paradata and manual review to detect automated online research survey participation. Gerontological Society of America (GSA) Annual Conference, Tampa, FL- November 8-12, 2023)

Frechman, E, Buck, H, Maxwell, CA. Attacked by bots and hacked by bad apples: Lessons learned navigating research participant fraud. Gerontological Society of America (GSA) Annual Conference, Tampa, FL- November 8-12, 2023)

Maxwell, C.A. Trauma and Frailty: More Than Just the Dwindles. Mainline Health Trauma Symposium (Paoli, PA- November 16, 2022)

Maxwell, C.A. Aging Adults: A New Perspective. Tennessee Action Coalition (TAC) 40 Under 40 Rising Star Cohort. (Nashville, TN- November 12, 2022

Maxwell, C.A. Lee, D, Miller, S. Frailty-focused Communication (FCOM) for Older Adults. Gerontological Society of America (GSA). (Indianapolis, IN- November 2-6, 2022)

Roberts, C., Maxwell, C.A. The Bioenergetics of Aging and the Impact of Physical Activity on Outcomes. Medical Fitness Association Annual Conference (San Antonio, TX- December 15, 2021)

Maxwell, C.A. Frailty and Care of Aging Patients. Conservatorship Association of Tennessee Conference, Nashville School of Law (Nashville, TN- November 3, 2021)

Maxwell, C.A. Aging and Frailty: Equipping Clinicians with Knowledge and Tools to Help Older Patients. University of Colorado- Health Memorial Hospital- Annual Trauma Conference (Colorado Springs, CO- October 15, 2021 [keynote speaker])

Oesmann, K., Maxwell, C.A., Harris, V. Intergenerational, Art-Inspired, and Affordable: A Housing Model for Health and Well-Being. Environments for Aging Expo and Conference (Chattanooga, TN- August 29, 2021)

Kimpel, C, Lauderdale, J, Schlundt, DG, Dietrich, MS, Ratcliff, AC, Maxwell, CA. (March 20, 2024). Advance care planning among older adults with limited income: Results and Recommendations from a qualitative study (Annual Assembly Hospice & Palliative Care, Phoenix, AZ)

Maxwell, CA, Ghosh, R, Khan, N, Migovich, M, Tate, JA, Latshaw, E, Mion, L, Sarkar, N (Nov. 2023). User-centered design for socially assistive robotic activities with older adults in long term care. Gerontological Society of America (Tampa, FL).

Maxwell, CA, Tauseef, M, Ullal, A, Watkins, A, Tate, JA, Juckett, L, Mion, L, Sarkar, N (Nov. 2023). Designing collaborative augmented reality activities with older adults in long term care. Gerontological Society of America (Tampa, FL).


 2022-Present Geriatrics (journal)- Reviewer Board
2022-Present PEC Innovation- Manuscript Reviewer
2023 Gerontological Society of America Annual Meeting- Abstract Reviewer
2021-Present Journal of Applied Gerontology- Manuscript Reviewer
2019-Present Journal of Advanced Nursing- Manuscript Reviewer
2019-Present Int. Journal Nursing Studies- Manuscript Reviewer
2015-2020 BMC Geriatrics- Associate Editor and Reviewer
2015-Present JAMA Surgery- Manuscript Reviewer
2014-Present Journal of the American College of Surgeons- Manuscript Reviewer
2013-Present American Geriatrics Society – Abstract Reviewer
2013-Present International Journal of Older People Nursing - Manuscript Reviewer
2011-Present Society of Trauma Nurses - Abstract Reviewer

Professional Organizations

2023 Member, American College of Surgeons, Expert Panel for Best Practice Guidelines- Traumatic Brain Injury- Geriatric Considerations
2022-present Invited Member, National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine- Addressing the Needs of an Aging Population through Health Professions Education.
2018-present Member, American Trauma Society- Legislative and Policy Committee
2018-2021 Advisory Panel (Geriatric Trauma), National Trauma Institute- National Trauma Research Action Plan (NTRAP)
2008-Present Member, Gerontological Society of America
2012-Present Member, American Nurses Association & TN Nurses Association
2005-Present Member, Sigma Theta Tau International


2024 Membership, Distinguished Scholar Fellow- National Academies of Practice (December 2023- Induction: March 16, 2024 [Jacksonville, FL])
2022 NIH-sponsored, Translation and Integration of Genomics is Essential to Doctoral Education (TIGER) 2023 cohort. (September 2022)
2022 Dean Colleen Conway-Welch Award- PhD Student- Faculty Award. (August 2022)
2022 National Academies of Science and Engineering & Medicine- Workshop Planning Committee appointment on Addressing the Needs of an Aging Population through Health Professions Education (August 2022)
2021 Dean’s Award for Faculty Achievement in Media- Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (May 2021)
2019 Blue Ribbon (Best Poster) Gotterer Health Professions Education Research Day (October 2019)
2019 Valere Potter Distinguished Dean’s Faculty Fellow (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2020)
2019 Dean's Award for Recognition of Faculty Achievement in Research Endeavors (May 2019)
2018 Induction into American Academy of Nursing- Washington, DC (November 2018).
2017 Innovation Award- National Harford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence- San Francisco- (National Leadership Conference, July 22)
2016 Induction into Hall of Honor- Georgia Baptist College of Nursing at Mercer University- Atlanta (October 21, 2016)
2016 Rising Investigator Award in Aging Research- Southern Nursing Research Society- Williamsburg, VA (February 24-27 2016)
2016 Expert Panel appointment: Best Practice Guidelines for End-of-Life Care- American College of Surgeons (ACS) Trauma Quality Improvement Program
2015 Best Performance Improvement Abstract, ACS- Trauma Quality Improvement Program Annual Scientific Meeting (Nov. 15-17, 2015)
2015-2021 Geriatric Trauma Coalition appointment: American Association for the Surgery of Trauma
2014 National Institute on Aging- Butler-Williams Scholars Program, Washington, DC (August 2014)
2011 Best Overall Abstract, Society of Trauma Nurses Annual Meeting, San Antonia, TX (March 2011)