faculty profile

Shelagh A. Mulvaney   PhD

Interim Associate Director, Vanderbilt Center for Research on Inequality and Health
Associate Professor


Dr. Mulvaney's current research includes development and testing of technology-assisted (Internet, mobile, informatics) patient and family health-related behavior change systems. 

Her interests include improvement of self-management and related skills in pediatric diabetes, obesity, and other chronic illnesses. 

She is active in development of systems to support diabetes self-management problem solving skills, utilization of social learning mechanisms to support diabetes self-management and design and testing of mobile behavioral assessment systems.

Current Research/Scholarly Interests

  • Development and testing of technology-assisted (Internet, mobile, informatics) patient and family health-related behavior change systems
  • Improvement of self-management and related skills in pediatric diabetes, obesity, and other chronic illnesses
  • Development of systems to support diabetes self-management problem solving skills
  • Utilization of social learning mechanisms to support diabetes self-management
  • Design and testing of mobile behavioral assessment systems


Improving Psychosocial Care in Diabetes: Pathways to Action
Funded by the American Diabetes Association
The goal of this research is to implement and evaluate a multicomponent self-management intervention for youth with type 1 diabetes in clinical care. The innovative and scalable intervention, called the Discovery Program, is designed to address common psychosocial challenges in daily self-management such as stigma, social support, and diabetes communication. The program integrates within-appointment components such as patient-reported outcomes and graphical feedback in the patient portal and collaborative goal setting with diabetes professionals. Between visits youth engage with tailored peer-based social learning experiences via mobile phones. The program will be evaluated within a randomized controlled trial. (Role: PI) 2023-2026 

An Exploratory Study of the Role of Social Determinants of Health in the Development of Type 2 Diabetes in People Living with HIV
Funded by NIH P30 AI110527
This research will utilize surveys and data-guided interviews to document social determinants of health that may contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes, relate to pre- and post-diagnosis disease self-care, access to healthcare resources, and medical outcomes such as glycemic control and viral load. Participants will be recruited from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Meharry Medical College. The results will be used to inform patient-centered interventions or programs to improve quality of life and reduce barriers to care.

 Identification of Longitudinal Trajectories of Depressive Symptoms and Their Correlates in Persons Living with Comorbid HIV and Diabetes
Funded by NIH P30 AI110527
This research utilizes a large retrospective longitudinal cohort of persons living HIV and type 2 diabetes. The goal of the research is to identify group-based trajectories of change in depressive symptoms before and after a diagnosis of diabetes. Correlates of longitudinal trajectories of depressive symptoms will be identified in order to prioritize factors, such as physical activity, stigma and healthcare utilization, for intervention implementation and/or development.

Using Social Learning to Improve Adolescent Diabetes Adherence Problem Solving. Funded by NIH DP3 DK097706.
The goal of this research is to design and test an Internet and mobile intervention to support adolescent self-management through improved problem solving skills and providing peer-based collaborative and educational activities. The research will contribute to our understanding of adolescent adoption of technology-based educational tools for diabetes and how to engage adolescents in adherence. (Role: PI) 2012-2016

Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR). Funded by NIH U54 RR023499. (Role: Assistant Director of the Effective Health Communication Core with Bernard PI) 2012-2017

Mid South Clinical Data Research Network. Funded by PCORI.
This funding will help to grow a clinical data research network across the Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network. The network will reach practices across the nation in collaboration with Greenway Medical Technologies. The network will recruit 3 cohorts related to obesity (10,000 patients), coronary heart disease (10,000 patients) and sickle cell disease (~500 families). Creation of the network will focus on data integration and interoperability, clinical decision support, and patient-facing informatics tools. (Role: Co-PI with Rothman PI) 2014-2015

Native American Research Centers for Health - NARCH. Funded by NARCH VI.
This research center is a collaboration between Vanderbilt and the Untied South and Eastern Tribes, Inc (USET) which includes 26 tribes. This research is designed to improve diabetes care and outcomes by using Community Based Participatory Research to develop tailored, culturally appropriate, literacy-sensitive, multi-level interventions. We will develop and pilot a HIT toolkit as part of a comprehensive, culturally tailored diabetes-improvement program. (Role: Co-PI with Hayes PI) 2010-2014

Center for Diabetes Translational Research (CDTR). Funded by P30 NIH/NIDDK.
YourWay website: development of problem solving content and pilot testing. (Role: PI) 2012-2014

Design and Testing of a Mobile Diabetes Intervention for Underserved Adults with Diabetes. Funded by the McKesson Foundation.
Purpose: This project will design and test the impact of a mobile support system for low-income adults with type 2 diabetes within a community setting. The intervention will capitalize on text and interactive voice response to prompt and motivate medication adherence. (Role: Co-PI) 2012-2013

Representative Publications


Zhang P, Schmidt D, White J, Fonnesbeck C, Kleinberg S, Mulvaney S (In Press). Understanding barriers to self-management using machine learning and momentary assessment in youth with diabetes: an observational study. JMIR mHealth uHealth

Mulvaney SA, Mara CA, Kichler JC, Majidi S, Driscoll KA, Westen SC, Rawlinson A, Jacobsen LM, Adams RN, Hood KK, Monaghan M. A retrospective multisite examination of depression screening practices, scores, and correlates in pediatric diabetes care Transl Behav Med. 2021;11(1):122-131. 

Tanenbaum,ML, Jessica N, Hanes SJ, Basina M, Buckingham BA, Hessler D, Maahs DM, Mulvaney SA, Hood KK. ONBOARD: A feasibility study of a telehealth-based continuous glucose monitoring adoption intervention for adults with type 1 diabetes. Diab Tech Ther. 23, no. 12 (2021): 818-827. 

Weber SJ, Shearer E, Mulvaney SA, Schmidt D, Thompson C, Jones J, Ahmad H, Coe M, Hull PC. Prioritization of Features for Mobile Apps for Families in a Federal Nutrition Program for Low-Income Women, Infants, and Children: User-Centered Design Approach. JMIR Formative Research. 2021;5(7):e30450. 

Mulvaney SA, Vaala SE, Carroll RB, Williams LK, Lybarger CK, Schmidt DC, Dietrich MS, Laffel LM, Hood KK. A mobile app identifies momentary psychosocial and contextual factors related to mealtime self-management in adolescents with type 1 diabetes. J Am Med Inform Assn. 2019;26(12):1627-1631.

Ho, XY, O'Connor, BO, Mulvaney, SA (2014). Features of online health communities for adolescents with type 1 diabetes.Western Journal of Nursing Researchdoi:10.1177/0193945913520414

Osborn, YC,Mulvaney, SA(2013). Development and feasibility of a mobile health intervention for low-income adults with type 2 diabetes. Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology. 7(3), 612-622. PMID: 23759393

Mulvaney, SA, Lilley J, Cavanaugh K, Rothman RL (2013). Validation of the diabetes numeracy test with adolescents.Journal of Health Communication. 18(7), 795-804. doi:10.1080/10810730.2012.757394

Kumah-Crystal, Y, Mulvaney, SA (2013). Utilization of blood glucose data in patient education. Current Diabetes Reports. doi: 10.1007/s11892-013-0428-2

Mulvaney, SA, Ho, X, Cala, C, Chen, Q, Nian, H, Patterson, B, Johnson, KB (2013). Assessing adolescent asthma adherence and symptoms using mobile phones. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 7, e41. doi:  10.2196/jmir.2413

Mulvaney, SA, Rothman RL, Dietrich MS, Wallston KA, Grove E, Elasy TA, Johnson KB (2012). Using mobile phones to measure adolescent diabetes adherence. Health Psychology, 31(1), 43-50. doi:10.1037/a0025543

Harris, MA, Hood, KK, Mulvaney, SA (2012). Pumpers, skypers, surfers and texters: technology to improve the management of diabetes in teenagers. Diabetes Obesity Metabolism. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-1326.2012.01599.x

Mulvaney, SA, Anders, S, Smith, AK, Johnson, KB (2012). A pilot test of a tailored mobile and web-based diabetes messaging system for adolescents. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 18(2), 115-118. doi:10.1258/jtt.2011.111006

Mulvaney, SA, Hood, KK, Schlundt, DG, Osborn, DG, Johnson, KB, Rothman, RL, Wallston, KA (2011). Development and initial validation of the barriers to diabetes adherence measure for adolescents, Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, 94(1), 77-83. doi:10.1016/j.diabres.2011.06.010

Mulvaney, SA, Ritterband LM, Bosslet L (2011). Mobile intervention design in diabetes: review and recommendations.Current Diabetes Reports, 11(6), 486-493. doi:10.1007/s11892-011-0230-y

Mulvaney, SA, Rothman, R. L., Osborn, C. Y., Lybarger, C., Dietrich, M. S., & Wallston, K. A. (2011). Self-management problem solving for adolescents with type 1 diabetes: Intervention processes associated with an Internet program. Patient Education and Counseling, 85(2), 140-142. doi:10.1016/j.pec.2010.09.018

Wong K, Potter A, Mulvaney, SA, Russell WE, Schlundt DG, Rothman RL (2010). Pediatric endocrinologists' management of children with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Diabetes Care, 33(3): 512-514. doi:10.2337/dc09-1333. PMCID: PMC2827499

Osborn CY, Satterwhite L, Mulvaney, SA, Hess R (2010). Patient web portals to improve diabetes outcomes: a systematic review. Current Diabetes Reports, 10(6):422-435. doi:10.1007/s11892-010-01511

Mulvaney, SA, Rothman RL, Wallston KA, Lybarger C, Dietrich MS (2010). An internet-based program to improve self-management in adolescents with type 1 diabetes. Diabetes Care, 33(3), 602-604. doi:10.2337/dc09-1881. PMCID: PMC2827516

Professional Organizations

  • Behavioral Research in Diabetes Group Exchange (BRIDGE), 2008-PresentPresent
  • International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes (ISPAD), 2007-Present
  • International Society for Research on Internet Interventions (ISRII), 2007-Present
  • American Diabetes Association (ADA), 2005-Present
  • Society for Behavioral Medicine (SBM), 2004-Present
  • American Psychological Association (APA), Division of Pediatric Psychology, 2000-Present