faculty profile

Terrah Foster Akard   PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN

Professor of Nursing and Medicine
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Graduate School


  • Bachelor of Science, Jacksonville State University
  • Master of Science in Nursing, Vanderbilt University
  • PhD in Nursing Science, Vanderbilt University

Current Research/Scholarly Interests

  • Psychosocial interventions to reduce suffering and improve quality of life in pediatric palliative care populations
  • Relationships among continuing bonds, grief, and coping in bereaved families who experience the death of a child
  • Web-based recruitment and intervention delivery methods that are feasible, cost-effective, and acceptable to pediatric palliative care populations


2021: A Nurse-Led Storytelling Intervention for Rural Pediatric Palliative Care Populations, Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation.

2014-2019: Impact of a PCRC-Supported Legacy Intervention in Pediatric Palliative Care, National Institute of Nursing Research (RO1).

2014: Web-Based Recruitment and Intervention Delivery Methods in Pediatric Oncology. American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant.

2010-2013: A Legacy-Making Intervention to Decrease Suffering of Children Living with Advanced Cancer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholars.

Representative Publications


Akard TF, Gilmer MJ (2020). Research cooperative groups in pediatric palliative care research. Palliative Medicine Reports, 1, 321-325.

Akard TF, Dietrich MS, Friedman DL, Gerhardt CA, Given B, Hendricks-Ferguson B, Hinds PS, & Gilmer MJ. (2020). Improved parent-child communication following a RCT evaluating a legacy intervention for children with advanced cancer. Progress in Palliative Care. doi: 10.1080/09699260.2020.1826778

Akard TF, Dietrich MS, Friedman DL, Wray S, Gerhardt C, Hendricks-Ferguson V, Hinds PS, Rhoten B, & Gilmer MJ. (2020). Randomized clinical trial of a legacy intervention for quality of life in children with advanced cancer. Journal of Palliative Medicine, doi: 10.1089/jpm.2020.0139. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32996842.

Akard TF, Wray S, Friedman DL, Dietrich MS, Hendricks-Ferguson V, Given B, Gerhardt CA, Hinds PS, & Gilmer MJ. (2020). Transforming a face-to-face legacy intervention to a web-based legacy intervention for children with advanced cancer. Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing, 22, 49-60.

Akard TF, Skeens MA, Fortney CA, Dietrich MS, Gilmer MJ, Vannatta K, Barrera M, Davies B, Wray S, & Gerhardt CA. (2019). Changes in siblings over time after the death of a brother or sister to cancer. Cancer Nursing, 42, E20-E27. doi: 10.1097/NCC.0000000000000573.

Akard TF, Hendricks-Ferguson V, & Gilmer MJ. (2018). Pediatric palliative care nursing. Annals of Palliative Medicine, 8(Suppl 1):S39-S48. doi: 10.21037/apm.2018.06.01.

Akard TF, Duffy M, Hord A, Randall A, Sanders A, Anani UE, Adelstein K, & Gilmer MJ. (2018). Bereaved mothers' and fathers' perceptions of a legacy intervention for parents of infants in the NICU. Journal of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, 11(1):21-28. doi:10.3233/NPM-181732.

Akard TF, Gerhardt CA, Hendricks-Ferguson V, Given B, Friedman DL, Hinds PS, & Gilmer MJ. (2016). Facebook advertising to recruit pediatric populations. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 19: 692-693. doi:10.1089/jpm.2016.0128.

Professional Organizations

  • 2020-present: Palliative Care Research Cooperative
  • 2020-present: Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association
  • 2014-present: American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine/Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association Scientific Committee
  • 2014-present: Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science Member
  • 2013-2018: American Cancer Society Peer Review Committee on Scholarships in Cancer Nursing
  • 2010-2013: Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association Research Committee
  • 2010-present: National State of the Science Congress on Nursing Research Abstract reviewer