Melody Norris Waller, PhD, MSN, RN, has been selected as one of the Top 40 Under 40 Urban Elite Professionals in Memphis. The awards gala celebrates young professionals and awards them for serving in the local community in five foundational areas: Outstanding Citizen, Entrepreneurship, Community Advocacy, Arts and Entertainment, and Education.
Dr. Waller joined the faculty of the University of Tennesee Health Science Center (UTHSC) College of Nursing as an instructor in 2009, after a stint as a research nurse in the College of Medicine. She is currently an assistant professor and the RN-to-BSN option coordinator.
Dr. Waller’s teaching responsibilities include providing clinical and classroom instruction in the undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. She also serves as a faculty advisor for UTHSC nursing chapter of the university’s Black Student Association.
Dr. Waller’s interest in research began early in her nursing career, when she was a maternity nurse at a suburban community hospital. Her research efforts have been directed toward improving the sexual and reproductive health status of African-American women. She is the principal investigator on a project entitled, “Factors Associated with African American Women’s Sexual Health and Risk Behavior during Emerging Adulthood,” a study using a holistic approach to explore young African-American women’s sexual behavior and perceptions of sexual health. She has used mixed methods research designs to better understand women’s health behavior related to sexuality and overall sexual well-being.
Dr. Waller is a UTHSC College of Nursing Research Fellow and has received the Sigma Theta Tau Beta Theta-at-Large Chapter Research Grant. Her education targeted research efforts have focused on utilizing progressive education strategies in maternal child health nursing.
Her ultimate goal is to contribute toward the development of health promotion strategies and interventions to reduce African-American women’s sexual risk and yield sustainable behavior change. Through ongoing research activity in the form of collaborative research projects and scholarly dissemination of their results, she hopes to integrate the broad approach of sexual health to improve disparate health outcomes.
Dr. Waller received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2001 and her Master of Science in Nursing degree focusing on nursing education from the University of Memphis in 2009. She received her Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science degree from UTHSC in 2016.
Dr. Waller is a proud member of several organizations, including the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses; Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society; and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.