Dr. DiFazio received a BSN from Fitchburg State University and an MSN and PhD from Boston College. In addition to her roles as a nurse practitioner and nurse scientist in the Orthopaedic Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, she holds appointments as an Instructor at the Harvard School of Medicine and Fitchburg State University.
Dr. Difazio fully appreciates that for the best clinical outcomes for patients and their families, a nexus of factors including clinical efficacy, cost-effectiveness of care, and more important, the needs of patients and families across the trajectory of health and illness must be considered. These serve as the foundation for her research, clinical practice, and teaching.
Specifically, her clinical expertise and research focus on improving delivery of the complex care required by children with severe, chronic disabilities, including focused attention on the impact of their condition and care needs on their families. Findings from her studies on health-related quality of life, caregiver burden, and non-medical out-of-pocket expenses are being translated into practice. Most recently, her work is laying the foundation for an integrated transition program in the Orthopaedic Center for young adults with cerebral palsy who are transitioning from pediatric to adult care services. These studies, funded through grants and awards from Boston Children’s Hospital and numerous professional organizations and private foundations, have resulted in cross-disciplinary publications designed to bridge gaps in knowledge and practice between nursing and medicine.
Dr. DiFazio’s expertise extends well beyond the borders of New England. For more than two decades, she advocated for the advancement of nursing education and scholarship in Russia. Outcomes of capacity-building activities within Russian nursing include helping to establish the first university level nursing program; coordinating numerous professional conferences and exchanges; and leading a series of joint scholarly projects between Russian and American nurses that advance evidence-based practice. Of specific note was the English language textbook for Russian nurses she co-edited, which was approved by the Russian Ministries of Education and Health as a primary text for university-based nursing programs in Russia and Russian-speaking countries.
Dr. DiFazio is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and uses this platform to help advance policies designed to improve family-centered care. She has received numerous awards for her research, advancements in clinical practice, and international advocacy. Dr. DiFazio is committed to helping prepare future generations of nurses and medical residents while championing evidence-based patient care.
Research Focus: Patient and family-centered outcomes; cost-effectiveness; quality improvement science