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Paula Tanabe
Tel: (919) 613-6038
Office: 3132 Pearson Building
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Paula Tanabe, PhD, MSN, MPH, RN, FAEN, FAAN


Associate Dean for Research Development and Data Science

  • Brief Bio

    Paula Tanabe, PhD, RN, MPH, FAEN, FAAN, is an Associate Professor in the Schools of Nursing and Medicine and health services and clinical researcher. Dr. Tanabe’s program of research focuses on improving systems of healthcare and patient outcomes for persons with sickle cell disease. Dr. Tanabe has a strong focus on improving emergency department care for this population and has conducted many investigations in this area. Dr. Tanabe currently has AHRQ funding to disseminate decision support tools to primary care and emergency department providers throughout North Carolina and portions of South Carolina. These tools were based upon the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute evidence-based recommendations for the treatment of sickle cell disease. Dr. Tanabe is also the co-PI for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute “Sickle Cell Disease Implementation Consortium, U01”. The consortium includes eight centers from across the United States. Each center will conduct a comprehensive assessment of barriers to care and enroll 300 patients in a registry and randomized controlled trial. She was previously assistant director of a T32 post-doctoral fellowship in health services research at Northwestern University. Her methodological expertise includes prospective multi-site trials, survey methods, qualitative research, quality improvement and learning collaboratives, and retrospective structured medical record reviews. Dr. Tanabe is a member of the Emergency Severity Index (ESI) Triage Research Team that develops educational tools to treat ED providers on the use of ESI.

    Academic Program Affiliations

    PhD in Nursing Program


    PhDUniversity of Illinois at Chicago
    MPHNorthwestern University
    MSNLoyola University, Chicago
    BSRush University

    Research Interests

    Dr. Tanabe has conducted investigations aimed at improving pain management in the emergency department, with a strong focus on patients with sickle cell disease. Dr. Tanabe developed the Emergency Department Sickle Cell Assessment of Needs and Strengths (ED-SCANS), a decision support tool aimed at improving the quality of care provided to adults with sickle cell disease in the ED setting.