Associate Program Director

Associate Professor at the UCLA School of Nursing

MarySue V. Heilemann, PhD, RN, FAAN

MarySue V. Heilemann, PhD, RN, FAAN is an Associate Professor at the UCLA School of Nursing. Dr. Heilemann has pioneered the use of transmedia in health interventions related to mental health and was a delegate to the United Nations-Commission on the Status of Women in 2018 where she spoke on the topic. Transmedia involves the use of storytelling over multiple digital platforms accessible on smart phones, tablets, or computers via the Internet. Focused on linking Latinas to needed mental health care, Dr. Heilemann’s current work involves creating relatable characters and storylines by drawing upon de-identified data from the target group, collaborating with Latina therapists, Latinx Hollywood professionals, and getting input from Latina focus group participants; this led to refinement of a character-driven, therapeutic and psychoeducational transmedia web-app intervention in Spanish and English to reduce symptoms, increase help seeking, and link women to virtual and actual resources. As an expert in Grounded Theory methodology informed by Constructivism and Pragmatism, Dr. Heilemann has mentored graduate students, post-doctoral scholars, and young faculty in qualitative research at UCLA and internationally. In 2020, she was awarded the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award for Senate Faculty, with special Distinction for Graduate Education. She has also focused on improving the accuracy of portrayals of nurses in film and television through scholarship, collaboration, consulting, activism, and speaking. She was chosen to give the June 2015 National Institute of Nursing Research Director’s Lecture entitled, “From the Silver Screen to the Web: Media Portrayals of Nursing” and has led national symposiums in both 2011 and 2012 at UCLA focused on Media Representations of Nurses, bringing together over 300 filmmakers, nurses, administrators, producers, journalists, screen writers, directors, activists, faculty, and students. She was the Guest Editor for a 2012 special volume of the official journal of the American Academy of Nursing (Nursing Outlook) featuring original scholarship created for symposiums. Dr. Heilemann completed her BSN degree at the University of Wisconsin and both her MSN and PhD at the University of California, San Francisco where she also was a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Symptom Management.

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