When Dr. DeGrazia first began to examine the issue of car seat safety, healthcare providers and parents lacked clear information about newborn infants’car seat-related breathing problems and the proper use of car seats. Her clinical experience and dialogue with experts nationwide identified the vital need for education that delineated the differences between car seat-related breathing problems and car seat fit. She has stimulated a substantial knowledge shift regarding all aspects of infant car seat safety through her research, publications and presentations.
Recently, she expanded her program of research to include the growing concern of deformational plagiocephaly (misshapen heads). Dr. DeGrazia has led two clinical trials of a novel orthotic device designed to prevent or treat deformational plagiocephaly. Most notably, her research indicates that deformational plagiocephaly is a preventable condition for many hospitalized infants. In addition to her own program of research, Dr. DeGrazia guides nurses and physicians in the conduct of research as the Director of Nursing Research for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Boston Children’s Hospital.
Dr. DeGrazia received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, master’s degree and training as a neonatal nurse practitioner at Northeastern University and doctorate in nursing from the University of Massachusetts, Worcester. She is the recipient of internal and external research grants. Her academic appointments include Instructor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and Adjunct Associate Professor at Northeastern University Graduate School of Nursing. Dr. DeGrazia has served as an invited member on the 2007 and 2011 National Safety Council Task Forces on Child Passenger Safety Discharge Policy Planning and has been instrumental in the development of national car seat safety standards for all infants. She has received several honors and awards including the Sigma Theta Tau, International Honor Society of Nursing Theta Kappa Chapter (1996); Excellence in Nursing Award, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (1996); Distinguished Alumni Award Northeastern University School of Nursing (2010); and Boston Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Excellence in Service and Training Award (2010). In 2014, Dr. DeGrazia was inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.