faculty profile

Todd Monroe   PhD, RN-BC, FNAP, FGSA, FAAN

Assistant Professor of Nursing and Medicine (Psychiatry)


Dr. Todd Monroe PhD, RN-BC, FNAP, FGSA, FAAN is an Assistant Professor of Nursing and Medicine (Psychiatry), PhD Program Faculty, and Claire M. Fagin Fellow. He was the founding Co-Director of the Vanderbilt Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence. His current research goals are to improve the detection and management of pain in older adults. Dr. Monroe's lab uses experimentally induced stimuli to examine pain perception and functional MRI to examine the neurobiology of pain. Dr. Monroe also has an extensive background in policy development focused on patient safety through supportive interventions on substance use in students and clinicians. His recommendations are internationally recognized influencing policy reform in education and clinical settings.


  • Post-Doctoral, John Hartford Foundation Claire M. Fagin Fellow, Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Science
  • PhD, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Hal and Alma Regan Fellow Pre-Doctoral Fellow
  • MSN, University of Alabama
  • BSN, The University of Southern Mississippi


  • ANCC Pain Management Certification # 2009011325
  • ANCC Gerontological Nurse Certification # 2014015554
  • Tennessee Registered Nurse, License # 126347

Current Research/Scholarly Interests

  • Neurobiology and Neuroimaging of Pain 
  • Sex-differences in Pain, Depression, Anxiety
  • Pain Management in Non-Verbal, End-Stage-Dementia
  • Acute and Chronic Pain Assessment
  • Delirium 
  • Hospice/End-of-Life Care
  • Symptom Management in Acute and Long-Term Care
  • Post-Operative Symptom Management

Academic Interests


  • NRSC 8380: Knowledge Synthesis in Nursing Research  (Course Director)
  • NRSC 8309: Quantitative Methods Seminar (Co-Faculty and Course Director)

Editorial Board

  • Editorial Board Member, Applied Nursing Research
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Alzheimer's Disease


Differences in Pain Between Alzheimer's Disease and Vascular Dementia in Older Female. Funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), R21 AG049332-01A1. Role: (PI), Cowan (MPI) 2016-2018

Brain Activation and Pain Reports in People with Alzheimer's Disease. Funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), K23 AG046379-01A1. (Role: PI) 2015-2019

Age-Related Differences in Psychophysical and Neurobiological Response to Pain. Funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), R21 AG045735-01A1. (Role: MPI; Cowan, Ronald MPI) 2014-2016

Pain in People with and without Alzheimer's Disease. Funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), L30 AG045540-03. (Role: PI) 2014-2015

Early Nurse Detection of Delirium Superimposed on Dementia. Funded by NIH/NINR, R01 NR011042. (Role: OP & subcontract with Pennsylvania State University, Fick PI) 2010-2014

Sex Differences in the Psychophysical and Neurophysiological Response to Experimental Thermal Pain in Healthy Older Adults. Funded by Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR), V4007. (Role: PI) 2012?2013

Decision Factors Nursing use to Assess Pain in People with Severe Dementia. Funded by Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR), V4099. (Role: PI) 2012-2013

Psychophysical and Neurophysiological Response to Experimental Pain in Communicative Women with Alzheimer?s Disease. American Academy of Nursing/BAGNC ? Post Doctoral Fellowship Award, N/A. (Role: PI) 2011-2013

Representative Publications


Monroe, T.B., Beach, P.A., Bruehl, S.P., Dietrich, M.S., Rogers, B.P., Gore, J.C., Atalla, S.W., Cowan, R.L. The impact of Alzheimer?s disease on the resting state functional connectivity of brain regions modulating pain: a cross sectional study. (2017). Journal of Alzheimer?s Disease, accepted.

Monroe, T. B., Gibson, S. J., Bruehl, S. P., Gore, J. C., Dietrich, M. S., Newhouse, P., Atalla, S., Cowan, R. L. Contact Heat Sensitivity and Reports of Unpleasantness in Communicative People with Mild to Moderate Cognitive Impairment in Alzheimer?s Disease: A Cross-Sectional Study. (2016). BMC Medicine, 14(74), 1-9.

Monroe, T., Gore, J., Bruehl, S., Benningfield, M., Dietrich, M., Chen, L. M., Newhouse, P., Chodkowski, B. A., Atalla, S., Arrieta, J., Damon, S., Blackford, J., Cowan, R. (2015). Sex-Differences in Psychophysical and Neurophysiological Responses to Pain in Older Adults. Biology of Sex Differences, 6(1), 1-20.

Monroe, T., Parrish, A., & Mion, L. (2015). Decision Factors Nurses Use to Assess Pain in Nursing Home Residents with Dementia. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 29(5), 316-20.

Monroe, T., Misra, S., Habermann, R., Dietrich, M., Bruehl, S., Cowan, R., Newhouse, P., & Simmons, S. (2015). Specific Physician Orders Improve Pain Detection and Pain Reports in Nursing Home Residents: Preliminary Data. Pain Management Nursing, 16(5), 770-80.

Paulson, C., Monroe, T., McDougall, G., & Fick, D. (2015). A Family-Focused Delirium Educational Initiative with Practice and Research Implications. Gerontology & Geriatrics Education, 1-8.

Paulson, C., Monroe, T., Mion, L. C. (2014). Pain Assessment in Hospitalized Older Adults with Dementia and Delirium. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 40(6), 10-15.

Norman, A., Monroe, T., Carter, M. (2014). Potential Inappropriate Treatment of Suspected Urinary Tract Infections Among Nursing Home Residents. Clinical Scholars Review, 7(1), 52-56.

Monroe, T., Mirsa, S., Habermann, R., Dietrich, M., Cowan, R., Simmons, S. (2014). Pain Reports and Pain Medication Treatment in Nursing Home Residents with and without Dementia. Geriatrics and Gerontology International.14(3):541-548.

Yevchak, A., Fick, D., McDowell, J., Monroe, T., May, K., Grove, L., Kolanowski, A., Waller, J., & Inouye, S. (2014). Barriers and Facilitators to Implementing Delirium Rounds in a Clinical Trial Across Three Diverse Hospital Settings. Clinical Nursing Research, 23(2):201-15.

Monroe, T., Carter, M., Feldt, K., Dietrich, M., & Cowan, R. (2013). Pain and Hospice Care in Nursing Home Residents with Dementia and Terminal Cancer. Geriatrics and Gerontology International. 13(4):1018-1025.

Monroe, T., Herr, K., Mion, L, Cowan, R. (2013). Ethical and Legal Issues in Pain Research in Cognitively Impaired Older Adults. International Journal of Nursing Studies. 50(9):1283-1287

Monroe, T., & Carter, M. (2012). Using the MMSE To Explore Methodological Challenges In Cognitive Ageing Research. European Journal of Ageing, 9(3), 265-274.

Monroe, T., Gore, J., Chen, L., Mion, L., Cowan, R. (2012). Pain in People with Alzheimer?s Disease: Potential Applications for Psychophysical and Neurophysiological Research. Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology, 25, 240-255.

Monroe, T., Carter, M., Feldt, K., Tolley, B., Cowan, R., (2012). Assessing Advanced Cancer Pain in People with Dementia at the End-Of-Life. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 68(9), 2070-2078.

Monroe, T., Carter, M., & Parrish, A. (2011). A Case Study Using the Beers List Criteria to Compare Prescribing By Family Practitioners And Geriatric Specialists In A Rural Nursing Home. Geriatric Nursing. 32(5), 350-56.

Professional Organizations

  • American Academy of Nursing
  • American Geriatrics Society
  • National Academies of Practice
  • American Nurses Association
  • Gerontological Society of America
  • American Pain Society 
  • International Association for the Study of Pain
  • Sigma Theta Tau International
  • Tennessee Nurses Association