Karen D'Alonzo, PhD, RN, APN-c, FAAN
Associate Dean, Nursing Science and Associate Professor
Division of Nursing Science
A recognized authority on mobilizing individuals to engage in physical activities that reduce stress and promote good health – particularly within minority populations – Dr. Karen D'Alonzo serves as Associate Dean for Nursing Science and Associate Professor at the Rutgers University School of Nursing. She also is the founding Director of the School’s Center for Community Health Partnerships (CCHP).
The CCHP identifies and disseminates information about best practices in community-based participatory research (CBPR) among other units at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Services and across Rutgers University at large. Dr. D’Alonzo and her colleagues recently were awarded a research grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development that constitutes a major step in establishing community engagement and CBPR as priorities at Rutgers.
In a key research effort focused on immigrant Latinos in New Brunswick, NJ, Dr. D’Alonzo used lay community health workers -- promotoras de salud – rather than professional physical trainers to promote increased physical fitness, leading to reduced obesity rates and better long-term health. Her work also examined how the stress of adapting to a new culture in the U.S. impacted physical health, and at how traditional marianismo beliefs – or prioritization of the needs of family members above one’s own,– might constitute barriers to healthy lifestyles among Hispanic immigrant women.
Individuals who completed the program showed significant improvements in daily physical activity levels (114%), body mass index (2%), and aerobic fitness (19%), along with 34% greater muscle strength and 10% greater flexibility. Significantly, the only women not to complete the program were those who became pregnant.
Her research demonstrated that other traditional Latino cultural values such as personalismo and confianza, which emphasize the importance of close personal relationships, were key to the program’s acceptance and should be considered when culturally tailoring health promotion interventions among Hispanic immigrants.
Dr. D’Alonzo also has partnered with the Mexican Consulate in New York City on clinical and research initiatives targeting Mexican immigrants in New Jersey. (The consulate works to promote better health among Mexican immigrants to the U.S. but has no staff to provide clinical services or address health disparities.) She currently is investigating potential links between acculturation stress, coping style, obesity and the results of chronic stress on the body among immigrant Mexican women. This work will lay the foundation for development of a promotora-facilitated physical activity, along with nutrition and acculturation stress management initiatives.
Dr. D'Alonzo graduated from Thomas Jefferson University Diploma School of Nursing in 1977. She earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing at Rutgers University–Camden in 1981 and a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania in 1987. She is a 2002 graduate of the PhD Program at the Rutgers School of Nursing and also is certified as an Adult Nurse Practitioner. She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.
School of Nursing
Ackerson Hall, Room 202C
180 University Ave.
Newark, NJ 07012
Jines, A.M., Salazar, B.C. & D’Alonzo, K.T. (2014). Factores de riesgo y carga alostática en el
adulto mayor: Propuesto de un modelo (Social risk factors and allostatic load in older adults:
a proposed model). Centro de Investigación de Estudios Comparados de América Latina (Journal of Comparative Studies Latin America). 8(8), 129-141.
D’Alonzo, K.T. & Saimbert, M.K. (2013). Hispanic women and physical activity- an integrative
review. In B.A. Smith & Kasper, C. (Eds.), Annual Review of Nursing Research, Vol 31 (pp.
209-234). New York, NY: Springer. doi: 10.18910739-6686.31.209.
D’Alonzo, K.T., Johnson, S. & Fanfan, D. (2012). A biobehavioral approach to understanding
obesity and the development of obesogenic illnesses among Latino immigrants in the US. Biological Research for Nursing. 14(4), 364 – 374. doi: 10.1177/1099800412457017.
D’Alonzo.K.T. (2012). The influence of marianismo beliefs on physical activity of immigrant
Latinas. Journal of Transcultural Nursing. 23(2), 124-133.
D’Alonzo, K.T. (2011). Evaluation and revision of questionnaires for use among low-literacy
immigrant Latinos. Latin American Journal of Nursing/ Revista Latino-Americana de Enfermagem. 19 (5), 1255-1264. http://www.scielo.br/pdf/rlae/v19n5/25.pdf
D’Alonzo, K.T. (2010) Getting started in CBPR- Lessons in building community partnerships for
new researchers. Nursing Inquiry.17(4),282-288. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1800.2010.00510.x
D’Alonzo, K.T. & Sharma, M. (2010) The influence of marianismo beliefs on physical activity of mid-life immigrant Latinas: A Photovoice study. Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise.
2(2), 229-249. doi:10.1080/193984412010.488031
D’Alonzo, K.T., Aluf, A, Vincent, L. & Cooper, K. (2009). A comparison of field methods to
assess body composition in a diverse group of sedentary women. Biological Research for Nursing. 10, 274- 283. doi: 10.1177/1099800408326583
D’Alonzo, K.T. & Fischetti, N. (2008) Cultural beliefs and attitudes of Black and Hispanic
college-age women toward exercise. Journal of Transcultural Nursing. 19(2), 175-183.
D’Alonzo, K.T. & Cortese, L.A. (2007). An investigation of habitual and incidental physical
activity among Costa Rican and Costa Rican-American teenage girls. Journal of Transcultural Nursing. 18(3), 201-207. doi: 10.1177/1043659607301296
D’Alonzo, K.T., Vincent, L. & Marbach, K. (2006). A comparison of field measures to assess
cardiorespiratory fitness among neophyte exercisers. Biological Research for Nursing. 8(1),
7- 14. doi: 10.1177/1099800406287864
D’Alonzo, K.T. (2004). The Johnson-Neyman procedure as an alternative to ANCOVA. Western Journal of Nursing Research.26 (7), 804-812. doi: 10.1177/0193945904266733
D’Alonzo, K.T., Stevenson, J.S. & Davis, S.E. (2004). Outcomes of a program to enhance
exercise self- efficacy and improve fitness among Black and Hispanic college-age women.
Research in Nursing and Health, 27, 357-369.doi: 10.1002/nur.20029