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, live 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. The course , to date, has educated over 900 nurses in this area.
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 practices as an advanced psychiatric clinician, certified through ANCC, and sees patients in her pro bono faculty practice for anxiety and depression.
Dr. Sekula was inducted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 2011. In February 2023, she was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. 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. Shea has received two HRSA ANE-SANE grants (2018-2021 abd 2021-2025) for a total of three million dollars to support programming that will increase the number of sexual assault nurse examiners throughout the United States.
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); 2021 - 2025 ($1,500,000).
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.
Moceri-Brooks, J., Garand, L., Sekula, L.K., Joiner, T.E. (in press). Exploring the use of the Interpersonal Needs Questionnaire to examine suicidal thoughts and behaviors among post-9/11 U.S. Combat Veterans: An integrative review. Military Psychology.
Schultz, T. R., Zoucha, R., Sekula, L. K. & Abrams, A. D. (2023). Emergency care for youth who experience suicidality and identify as LGBTQ+, Public Health Nursing, 243-249. DOI: 10.1111/phn.13162.
Neft, M., Sekula. L. K., Smith Glasgow, M. E., Zoucha, R. Van Pelt, M, & Mitchell, A. M. (2022). The lived experience of second victim CRNAs, American Association of Nurse Anesthetists,
Sekula, L. K., Colbert, A. M. & Currie, M. (2022). Development of the Duquesne University
School of Nursing Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Training Model, Journal of Forensic Nursing, 18(1):39-45, January/March 2022.
Colbert, A. M. & Sekula, L. K. (2022). A major investment in the United States sexual assault nurse examiner workforce, Journal of Forensic Nursing, 18(1): 1-3, January March.
Schultz, T. R., Zoucha, R., & Sekula, L. K. (2021). The intersection between youth who identify as LGBTQ+ and emergency care for suicidality: An integrative review, Journal of Pediatric Nursing, Oct, 2021. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pedn.2021.10.008.
Wickwire, K. A., Valentine, J. L., Downing, N., Bagents Cochran, C., Drake, S., Sekula, L. K. & Jennings, S. (2021). Forensic nursing research: The basics explained, Journal of Forensic Nursing, Jul-Sep 01;17(3):173-181. DOI: 10.1097/JFN.0000000000000336
Ezeokonkwo, F. C., Sekula, L. K. & Theeke, L. A. (2021). Loneliness in homebound older adults: Integrative literature review, Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 47(8), 13-20.
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). Evolution of forensic nursing theory - Introduction of the constructed theory of forensic nursing care: A middle-range theory to a middle-range nursing theory: The Constructed Theory of Forensic Nursing Care, Journal of Forensic Nursing, 16(4), 188-198.
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.
Amar, A. F. & Sekula, L. K. (2015). A Practical Guide to Forensic Nursing: Incorporating Forensic Principles into Nursing Practice, Indianapolis: Sigma Theta Tau Press.
Sekula, L. K. & Colbert, A. (2021). Forensic Psychiatric Nursing. In E. Varcarolis, and M. B. Halter (Eds.) Foundations of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing, pp. (8th ed.). Elsevier: St. Louis.
Sekula, L. K. & Colbert, A. M. (2020). Forensic and legal nursing. In C. H. Wecht and J. T. Rago (Eds.), Forensic Science and Law: Investigative Applications in Criminal, Civil, and Family Justice (pps. 601-627), Boca Raton: CRC Press.
Sekula, L. K. & Colbert, A. (2013). Forensic Psychiatric Nursing. In E. Varcarolis, and M. B. Halter (Eds.) Foundations of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing, pp. 598-610, (7th ed.). Elsevier: St. Louis.
Sekula, L. K. & Colbert, A. (2010). Forensic Psychiatric Nursing. In E. Varcarolis, and M. B. Halter (Eds.) Foundations of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing (6th ed.). Elsevier: St. Louis.
Sekula, L. K. & Burgess, A. W. (2006). Forensic and legal nursing. In C. H. Wecht and J. T. Rago
(Eds.), Forensic Science and Law: Investigative Applications in Criminal, Civil, and Family
Justice (pps. 601-627), Boca Raton: CRC Press.
Presentations (Peer-reviewed Regional/National/International):
Sekula, L. K. (2022). A Model for Improving Care for the Sexual Assault Patient, American Association of Forensic Science 74th Annual Conference, February 22-25, Seattle WA.
Colbert, A.M. and Sekula, L.K. (2021). Expanding SANE Services in Rural and Underserved Communities. International Association of Forensic Nurses Annual Scientific Assembly, Orlando, FL.
Sekula, L. K., Colbert, A. M., Wier, C., Burke, L., & Keiper, A. (2020). The HRSA ANE-SANE Grant: Lessons Learned in Year One and Moving into the Future, 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.
Job satisfaction and empowerment of self-employed nurse practitioners: A mixed methods study, Lyden, C. & Sekula, L. K., (2018). American Association of Nurse Practitioners National Conference, Denver, June 26-July 1.
Understanding the importance of radiology screening when suspecting child abuse, Karakachian, A., Eichman, A., & Sekula K. (2017). Children's Hospital Research Symposium, October 25, 2017.
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.
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,
Presentations (International/National - poster presentations of collaborative work):
Moceri-Brooks, J., Garand, L., Sekula, L.K., Zoucha, R., Joiner, T.E. (2023, April). The Association Between not Receiving the Purple Heart Medal and Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors Among Post-9/11 U.S. Army Combat Veterans with a TBI. Paper to be presented at the 2023 Suicide Research Symposium.
Moceri-Brooks, J.,Garand, L., Sekula, L.K., Zoucha, R., Joiner, T.E. (2023, April).The Association Between Perceived Military Institutional Betrayal and Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors in Post-9/11 U.S. Army Combat Veterans with a Traumatic Brain Injury: A Mixed Methods Study. Paper to be presented at the 56thannual conference of the American Association of Suicidology. Portland, OR
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.
Karakachian, A., Eichman, A., & Sekula K. (2017). Understanding the importance of radiology screening when suspecting child abuse, Children’s Hospital Research Symposium, October 25, 2017.
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
Homicide, Suicide, and the Duty to Warn, Sekula, L. K., Burgess, A. W. & Carretta, C. M. (2016). The Cyril H. Wecht Annual Conference: From out of the Shadows, Illuminating the Intersection of Mental Health and the Law, October 20-21, Pittsburgh, Pa.
2023 - Fellow in the American Academy of Forensic Sciences
2021 - Ann Burgess Research Award, International Association of Forensic Nurses
2020-2025 - The Noble J. Dick Endowed Chair in Academic Leadership
2020 - Polished Apple Award, Zeta Tau Alpha
2019 - 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.
2015 - Nominated for the UPMC Legacy of Nursing Award
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,
Invited Reviewer (Peer Reviewed National Journal)
2021 - Present, Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine
2004 - Present, Journal of Forensic Nursing
2003 - Present, Journal of Professional Nursing, Publication: American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
Professional Societies (years of membership)*
2010 – Present, PA Chapter - International Association of Forensic Nurses
2000 - Present, PA Chapter – Psychiatric Nursing Association
2000 - Present, Emergency Nurses Association
2007 - Present, American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants
2005 – Present, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, Associate
2001 – Present, International Association of Forensic Nurses
2000 - Present, Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science CANS (Founding Member).
1998 – Present, International Society of Psychiatric - Mental Health Nurses
1994 - Present, Association for Health Services Research
1991 - Present, American Nurses Association/Pennsylvania Nurses Association
1991 - Present, Midwest Nursing Research Society
1991 - Present, Tri State Nursing Computer Network
1991 - Present, Ethics Consortium, University of Pittsburgh
1987 - Present, American Psychiatric Nurses Association
1986 - Present, Sigma Theta Tau - ETA Chapter, University of Pittsburgh
School of Nursing Service*
1999-Present, University Institutional Review Board, School of Nursing Representative
1998-Present, PhD Admissions Committee, Duquesne University School of Nursing
July 2020 - Present, President, Faculty Senate
July 2020 - Present, Public Honors and Events Committee
2020 - Present, University Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee
March 2020 - Present, COVID-19 Academic Affairs and Online Learning Task Force
July 2020 - Present, University Budget Committee
2014 - Present, Title IX Task Force – Addressing the Incidence of Sexual Assaults on Campus
2001 - Present, Cyril Wecht Forensic Institute, Duquesne University School of Law, Board Member
1999 - Present, Institutional Review Board Member, Duquesne University
2018 - 2020, University Library Committee
2018 - 2020, Vice-President Faculty Senate
2016 - 2018, University Tenure and Promotion Committee
2012 - 2018, Faculty Senate Representative
Professional Service (Institutional)*
2022 - Present, Reviewer, International Journal of Health Policy and Management
2015 - Present, Research Committee, International Association of Forensic Nurses
2015 - Present, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, Membership Reviewer
2004 - Present, Reviewer, Journal of Forensic Nursing
Professional Service (Community) Related to Area of Expertise*
2000 - Present, Pro Bono Psychiatric Mental Health faculty practice
2014 - Present, RTI International, Organizing and Transferring SANE/SAFE/SART Knowledge and Best Practices Taskforce, Forensic Technology Center of Excellence, NIJ Institute of Justice Project
2002 - Present, Consultant, Parish Grief Counseling Services, St. Joseph’s Parish, New Kensington
2001 - Present, Member, Board of Directors, Alle-Kiski Area HOPE Center
*This reflects the past five years. For all Dr. Sekula's expertise, research and involvement, please see her CV.