Dr. L. Kathleen Sekula joined the School of Nursing in 1998 and served on the undergraduate and graduate faculties as a Psychiatric Mental Health expert. Her research interests include care of the patient who has been sexually assaulted, trauma-informed care, and other forensic areas. She received her BSN from Duquesne University and her MSN and PhD from the University of Pittsburgh. She obtained a certificate in Forensic Science and Law from The Cyril H. Wecht Institute for Forensic Science and Law at Duquesne University School of Law.
Dr. Sekula developed one of the first Masters of Science Programs offering a specialty in Forensic Nursing. In early 2001, because of her expertise in psychiatry, she was asked to develop a graduate program that would interface with The Wecht Institute Certificate program. Forensic nursing was a new area of practice at the time, and the incidences of violence were growing at alarming rates. Through her work with other forensic specialists, she developed a unique forensic master's program that incorporated courses developed in The Law School, along with newly formed advanced practice forensic nursing courses. Subsequently, Dr. Sekula applied for and received two program grants from The Department of Health and Human Services (HRSA): the first grant was awarded in September of 2003 for $820,428, and a second was awarded in 2006 in the amount of $912,421. These grants helped make the forensic graduate programs among the most popular programs at Duquesne University and throughout the forensic nursing community. The graduate MSN forensic programs have grown to include DNP and PhD programs.
In the process of developing these programs, Dr. Sekula recognized the need to offer SANE-A (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner - Adult) training programs online for nurses unable to attend the one-week training. Duquesne's online SANE-A training is at the forefront in preparing nurses to serve the needs of victims of sexual assault throughout the country, particularly in rural and underserved areas.
She has been honored as a pioneer in forensic nursing by the International Association of Forensic Nurses Virginia Lynch Award, served as President of the Forensic Nurse Certification Board, Member of the International Journal of Forensic Nursing Editorial Board, and Member of the IAFN Board of directors. With this background Dr. Sekula seeks to further the practice of forensic nursing, both nationally and internationally.
Dr. Sekula was inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing in 2011. Her work is recognized as a significant contribution to the advancement of the role of forensic nursing regarding victims and perpetrators of violence through her leadership in evidence-based graduate programs and her continuing energy to expand forensic nursing science through her research and practice trajectory. She is currently the recipient of a three-year HRSA ANE-SANE Program grant (2018-2021).
MSN, Post-Master's, Psychiatric Nursing, Duquesne University, 1999
PhD, Nursing, University of Pittsburgh, 1998
MSN, Nursing, University of Pittsburgh, 1986
BSN, Nursing, Duquesne University, 1967
RN, Nursing, St. Vincent Hospital School of Nursing, 1964
- Vulnerable populations
- Psychiatric implications in forensic nursing
- Victims of violence
- Domestic violence
- Sexual assault
- Forensic nursing
Program and Research Funding
Project Director - HRSA Grant, Advanced Nursing Education - Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (ANE-SANE) Program, October 3rd, 2018 - 2021, ($1,469,650).
Faculty Mentor - Three Year Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Faculty Scholars Program, Awardee: Alison M. Colbert, Awarded September 2010 ($350,000).
Project Director Three Year Continuation Program Grant: Department of Health and Human Services: Enhancement of the Graduate Forensic Nursing Programs. ($912,421.00. Funding start date: July 1, 2006).
Project Director Three Year Program Grant: Department of Health and Human Services: Enhancement of the Graduate Forensic Nursing Programs. ($820,428.00. Funding start date: September 3, 2003).
Principal Investigator Noble Dick Faculty Development Fund, Duquesne University: Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the Profile of Mood States (POMS) Inventory as a Tool to Measure Depression in a Population of Patients with Lung Cancer, (Amount: $3,427.00), Awarded: September 1999.
Co-Investigator: Healthcare needs and barriers for women immediately post-incarceration (Principal Investigator: Colbert. A. M.) Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, April 2008.
Co-Investigator: Identification of Victims of Interpersonal Violence by Emergency Department Nurses (Principal Investigator: Colbert. A. M.) School of Nursing Center for Nursing Research Grant, $5,000. May 2009- April 2010.
Brewer, A., Colbert, A. M., Sekula, L. K. & Bekemeier, E. (2020). A Need for Trauma Informed Care in Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinics, Journal of Public Health Nursing, (Published, August 2020). DOI: 10.1111/phn,12784.
Valentine, J., Sekula L. K. & Lynch, V. (2020). Forensic nursing theory evolution to a middle-range nursing theory: The Constructed Theory of Forensic Nursing Care, Journal of Forensic Nursing, published online May 2020.
Valentine, J. L., Sekula, L. K., Cook, L. J., Campbell, R., Colbert, A., & Weedn, V. W. (2016, 2019). Justice denied: Low submission rates of sexual assault kits and the predicting variables, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 34(17) 3547-3573. DOI: 10.11777/0886260516681881.
Alexander, K., Kronk, R., Sekula, L. K., & Abatemarco, D, (2019). Implementation of a mindfulness intervention for women in treatment for opioid use disorder and its effects on depression symptoms, Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 40(8), https://doi.org/10.1080/01612840.2019.1585499.
Smith, A., & Sekula, L. K. (2019). The lens of culture and forensic nursing practice. In C. Kasper & R. Zoucha (Eds.), Annual Review of Nursing Research: Transcultural and Social Research (Volume 37, pp. 301-310). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company, LLC.
Davis, K. & Sekula, L. K. (2018). Issues in forensic nursing: Stigmatization of overweight women during forensic examination, Journal of Forensic Nursing.
Lyden, C., Sekula, L. K., Higgins, B., & Zoucha, R. (2018). Job satisfaction and empowerment of self-employed nurse practitioners: A mixed methods study, Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 30(2), 78-91.
Karakachian, A., Eichman, A., & Sekula K. (2017). Understanding the importance of radiology screening when suspecting child abuse, Journal of Radiology Nursing, 36(2), 70-78.
Vitko, H. A., Sekula, L. K., & Schreiber, M. A. (2017). Probiotics for trauma patients: Should we be taking a precautionary approach? Journal of Trauma Nursing, Jan/Feb;24(1): 46-52. doi: 10.1097/JTN.0000000000000263.
Wright-Brown, S., Sekula, L. K., Gillespie, G. & Zoucha, R. (2016). The experiences of registered nurses who are injured by interpersonal violence while on duty in an emergency department, Journal of Forensic Nursing, 12 (4), 189-197.
Valentine, J., Sekula, L. K., Cook, L. J., Campbell, R., Colbert, A., & Weedn, V. W. (2016). Justice denied: Low submission rates of sexual assault kits and the predicting variables, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 1-27. DOI: 10.11777/0886260516681881.
Amar, A. F., & Sekula, L. K. (2016). Nursing care for victims of violence: Forensic nursing techniques assist the most vulnerable patients. Advance Healthcare NETWORK. Retrieved from: http://nursing.advanceweb.com/Features/Articles/Nursing-Care-for-Victims-of-Violence.aspx.
Colbert, A. M., Goshin, L., Durand, V., Zoucha, R., & Sekula, L. K., (2016). Women in Transition: Experiences of Health and Healthcare for Women Living in Community Corrections Facilities, Research in Nursing and Health, Epub ahead of print 2016, July 27, Research in Nursing & Health.
Burgess, A. W., Sekula, L. K. & Carretta, C. M. (2015). Homicide-suicide and duty to warn. Journal of Psychosomatic Psychiatry 43(1). 67-90.
Selected Refereed Presentations
The HRSA ANE-SANE Grant: Lessons Learned in Year One and Moving into the Future (2020). Sekula, L. K., Colbert, A. M., Wier, C., Burke, L., & Keiper, A. International Association of Forensic Nurses Annual Scientific Meeting, Virtual, Fall.
Navigating the Courts and Reading the Records: The Value of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, (2019). L. K. Sekula, American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants, PA Chapter Annual Conference, Nov. 2. Pittsburgh, PA.
Sekula, L. K. (2019). Advanced Nurse Education-SANE Grant, Research 101: Stories from the experts, International Association of Forensic Nurses, Research Webinar. Research Committee, April 18, 2019.
Trauma Informed Care (2019). L. K. Sekula, Cyril H Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law: Training Seminar Defining Sexual Assault and Legal Consent in the #Me Too Era, September 14, 2018.
Global Experience for PhD Students - Curricular Innovation, (2019). Turk, M. T., Zoucha, R., Sekula, L. K., & Kalarchian. M. A., Global Health Showcase: Understanding Global Health, Duquesne University.
Lyden, C. & Sekula, L. K., (2018). Job satisfaction and empowerment of self-employed nurse practitioners: A mixed methods study, American Association of Nurse Practitioners National Conference, Denver. CO, June 26-July 1.
You as a Forensic Nurse: What Frames Your Practice, Education, and Research? (2017). Valentine, J., Sekula, L. K., & Lynch, V., IAFN Annual Scientific Meeting, October 10-13, Toronto.
Kramer, N. & Sekula, L. K. (2017). Parents of children who had hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, Society of Pediatric Nurses 27th Annual Conference, SPN: A Bright Future for Pediatric Care, West Palm Beach, April 6-9.
Curricular Innovation - Required International Experience for PhD Students (2017). Turk, M., Zoucha, R., Sekula, L. K., & Kalarchian, M., AACN 2017 Doctoral Education Conference, January 17-21, Coronado, CA.
Crafting a Career in Forensic Nursing: Turning your Education, Skills & Experience into a Prized Career (2015). Colbert, A. M., Shane. D. & Sekula. L. K., Horizons 2015 Conference, Pennsylvania ENA State Council, June 4-5, Wilkes-Barre PA.
The Noble J. Dick Endowed Chair in Academic Leadership 2020-2025
Polished Apple Award, Zeta Tau Alpha. 2020
Pittsburgh Magazine Excellence in Nursing - Academic Award 2018 Honoree
2018 Article of the Year Award: Karakachian, A., Eichman, A., & Sekula K. (2017). Understanding the importance
of radiology screening when suspecting child abuse, Journal of Radiology Nursing, 36(2), 70-78.
2016 - American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Awards -A practical guide to forensic
nursing: Incorporating forensic principles into nursing practice. Amar, A. F. & Sekula, L. K.
1st Place - 2016 AJN Book of the Year Award in Critical Care- Emergency Nursing category.
3rd Place - 2016 AJN Book of the Year Award in the Medical-Surgical Nursing category.
2011 - Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing
2010 - The Ellen Rudy Clore Excellence in Research Writing Award for 2010 from the Journal of Pediatric Health Care. Biddle, V. S., Sekula, L. K., Zoucha, R. & Puskar, K. R. (2009). Identification of Suicide Risk among Rural Youth: Implications for the Use of HEADSS, Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 24, 152-16.
2009 - Selected to the Office of Research Hall of Fame, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA