Meet UNMC Distinguished Scientist Bunny Pozehl, Ph.D.

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Bunny Pozehl, Ph.D.
NOTE: This profile is part of a series to highlight the 16 researchers who will be honored April 30 at a ceremony for UNMC's 2012 Scientist Laureate, Distinguished Scientist and New Investigator Award recipients.

  • Name: Bunny Pozehl, Ph.D.
  • Title: Professor, Lincoln division, College of Nursing
  • Joined UNMC: 1990
  • Hometown: Ainsworth, Neb.

Describe your research briefly in layman's terms.
My research is focused on exercise behavior in patients with heart failure (HF). Approximately 5.8 million Americans with HF experience shortness of breath and fatigue in regular daily activities. The Heart Failure Society of America's (HFSA) guidelines of care recommend 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise five days per week in stable chronic HF patients. Patients report reluctance to initiate exercise due to fear and a lack of skills for exercise. My research focuses on strategies and interventions to assist HF patients to gain the knowledge, skills and motivation to exercise and to maintain long-term adherence to exercise.

How does your research contribute to science and/or health care?
The current paradigm in exercise training research for patients with HF has focused on randomized controlled trials (RCTs) designed as efficacy trials for specific health outcomes. No RCTs have been designed as behavior change trials that examine exercise behavior (i.e., adherence to number of minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise or number of sessions) as the primary end-point of the trial. The recently completed multi-center HF-ACTION trial revealed that at 18 months, only approximately 35 percent of patients randomized to exercise training (versus usual care) were adhering to prescribed levels (120 minutes per week) and only another 10 percent of patients were partially (70-120 minutes per week) adherent. Our research focuses on behavior change and methods to improve adherence to exercise so that patients may realize benefits from long-term adherence to exercise behavior.

What is the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you, professional or personal?
Keep your passion for learning and life will be an adventure.

List three things few people know about you.

  • I attended grade school in a one-room school in rural Nebraska.
  • I love to Jazzercise for my regular exercise routine.
  • My favorite vacation time is spent with my husband traveling in our Jeep Wrangler over the mountain passes in Southwest Colorado.


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Candace Heindryckx
August 24, 2013 at 10:26 AM

Bunny-My sister Jenise came across this & just posted it to me. Belated congratulations on your work/research!! Haven't seen you @ the hospital lately- are you ever there anymore? Hope this finds you & your family happy & well!

Sondra Harrold
May 03, 2013 at 12:04 PM

Congrats Bunny! Most excellent work! Sondra