Sally Mathis Hartwig Professor in Gerontological Nursing, Director of the Barbara and Richard Csomay Center for Gerontological Excellence
Friday, May 3, 2024
Environmental portrait of Harleah Buck

When cardiovascular nurse Harleah Buck began making home visits for patients and families caring for their heart failure at home, her eyes were opened to a whole new world.

“For the very first time, I got to see how complicated it is, [and] that decisions to either follow their clinician’s recommendations or not is often a family process,” she says.

“At that point in time, I really didn’t know what to do, I just knew we needed to do something better.”

Twenty-five years later, Buck has an extensive body of research dedicated to finding that ‘something better’. With roots in psychology, interdependence, and game theory, her research focuses on dyadic interaction related to chronic illness management in the community.

“I examine patients and their family caregivers as they decide what to do to manage their chronic illness at home,” she says.

The instrument and typology Buck developed through her research has been translated into six languages, and a new generation of researchers are taking it to the next level, looking at how the type of dyad affects other health outcomes and can be applied to other conditions.

Buck joined the College of Nursing as professor and director of the Csomay Center for Gerontological Excellence in 2020. While she continues to examine dyadic interaction in end stage disease in new and different ways, Buck also focuses on how the Csomay Center, uniquely positioned at the convergence of research, education, and practice, can help promote optimal aging and quality of life in Iowa’s older adults and their caregivers.

Read more from our spring 2024 alumni newsletter.