COVID-19 & Nurse Scientists on the Front Line: Amy Knopf

Dr. Amy Knopf 
Assistant Professor, Indiana University School of Nursing

Please describe your work with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Project 1: Pandemic Parenting Study 
We examine how Indiana mothers are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and how it impacts the family. Specifically, Dr. Jessica Calarco (IU, Department of Sociology) and I are identifying mothers’ preferred and trust sources of information about COVID-19, examining their understanding of the illness and its prevention, and documenting the extent to which they are following public health guidelines and Indiana’s stay at home orders. There will be three waves of data collection between April 2020 and February 2021. The first wave is now complete and data analysis is underway.

Project 2: Ethical considerations for digital contact tracing in the context of COVID-19: Implications for sexual and gender minority youth
I identify key ethical issues in digital contact tracing, especially for sexual and gender minorities. I am working with Simone Skeen to identify the ethical complexities that must be addressed to balance safety and privacy against public health goals, especially for marginalized LGBTQ adolescents. Knopf and Skeen are Co-chairs of the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions Bioethics Working Group, whose members are serving as expert informants for a paper.

Project 3: An Infodemic in the context of COVID-19: 5G conspiracy theory propagation on social media
Our goal is to examine the spread of misinformation during the first several months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, an interdisciplinary group mined data from Twitter to examine the frequency and manner with which 5G cell towers were discussed on Twitter from before the pandemic and in the months after it was declared. Our analyses show an increase in 5G related tweets and a shift in the content away from technological discussions to conspiracy theories about COVID-19. New studies from the United Kingdom indicate endorsement of 5G conspiracy beliefs is associated with lower levels of compliance with public health recommendations for disease prevention.

Please give us information about your background and history as a nurse scientist.
I am a nurse scientist whose research reflects my commitment to engaging with marginalized populations in the resolution of disparities in infectious disease, including HIV. I obtained my bachelor’s in nursing at Western Kentucky University and my master’s in public health and PhD in Nursing Science with a minor in statistics from the University of Washington.

My clinical background includes a Fellowship in oncology nursing and clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) working in clinical, surgical and immunotherapies followed by providing primary care for homeless adults in a clinic in Washington, D.C. My doctoral research focused on preventing HIV transmission from a sexual network perspective and my postdoctoral research focused on the uptake and ethical implications of new biomedical HIV prevention approaches.

What else would you like the public to know about your role or the role of nurse scientists in the fight against COVID-19?
I served as Co-Chair of the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions Bioethics Working Group, has been asked to provide expertise and perspective to the World Health Organization, and is also Co-PI of a new project funded by PCORI. I acknowledge the incredible work of nurses working in acute care settings during this unprecedented time. Nurse scientists are conducting incredibly valuable research and honoring their commitments to nursing through their scientific pursuits.

It is my responsibility to provide the nursing science perspective to my collaborative, interdisciplinary teams. I currently work with teams from medicine, public health, sociology, math, and computational sciences. I am often the only nurse scientist on a project, and it allows me the opportunity to highlight nursing knowledge.


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