Melissa Desroches

Melissa Desroches, PhD

Assistant Professor

College of Nursing & Health Sciences / Community

Curriculum Vitae



Dion 318C


2019University of Massachusetts DartmouthPhD, Nursing
2018Suffolk UniversityCertificate, Disability and Health Policy
2017University of Massachusetts DartmouthMS, Nursing Education
2006University of Massachusetts DartmouthBS, Nursing


  • Community Health Nursing
  • Concepts of the Professional Nursing Role
  • Concepts of Lifespan and Development





Introducation to human development across a lifespan ¿ from birth until death. The purpose of this course is to build a foundation of understanding through various developmental theorists and age related physical, cognitive, and social-emotional expectations during significant milestones. This course introduces learners to theory and concepts that promote health in persons and families across the lifespan. This course contributes to nursing student development in care of the patient across the lifespan. The AACN Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice were used to build this course.

Prepares nursing students to promote health and provide care for individuals, families, groups, and populations in the community with a special emphasis upon vulnerable populations. Strategies designed to promote the health of populations, guide populations to reduce identified health risks, and to shape health policy will be explored. The health promotion and disease prevention focus will be guided by Healthy People 2020 objectives. Principles of epidemiology, demography, environmental sciences, community organization, and health care political, economic, and legal influences are integrated with nursing concepts and principles to provide the basis for community nursing practice. Community and aggregate strengths and risks are identified through community health nursing process.


Research Activities

  • Medical Surgical Nursing Care of Adults with Intellectual Disabilities (MSNCAID study), in partnership with Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute and the Academy of Medical Surgical Nurses
  • Impact of COVID-19 on the health and well-being of people with developmental disabilities through the lens of the developmental disability nurse
  • International collaboration to articulate the contribution of the developmental disability nurse
  • Intervention development to promote the resilience of the direct support professional workforce for people with developmental disabilities
  • Best practices in acute and post-acute care of adults with developmental disabilities


Research Interests

  • Articulating and strengthening the voice of intellectual/developmental disability nursing
  • Improving health equity of people with developmental disabilities, with special attention to the impact of healthcare provider bias and quality of care
  • Supporting the resilience of people with developmental disabilities and their formal and informal caregivers

Select publications

  • Desroches, M. L., Fisher, K., Ailey, S., & Stych, J. (in press).
    "We were absolutely in the dark": Manifest content analysis of developmental disability nurses' experiences during the early COVID-19 pandemic."
    Global Qualitative Nursing Research
  • Desroches, M.L., Howie, V.A., Wilson, N. J., Lewis, P. (in press).
    Nurses’ attitudes and emotions toward caring for adults with intellectual disability: an international replication study.
    Journal of Nursing Scholarship
  • Desroches, M. L., Ailey, S.H., Fisher, K., & Stych, J. (2021).
    Impact of COVID-19: Nursing challenges to meeting the care needs of people with developmental disabilities
    Disability and Health Journal, 14, 10105.
  • Desroches, M. L. (2020).
    Facebook recruitment of nurses as research participants: Methodological considerations
    Applied Nursing Research, 54, 151282.
  • Desroches, M. L. (2019).
    Nurses' attitudes, beliefs, and emotions toward caring for adults with intellectual disabilities: An integrative review
    Nursing Forum, 55, 211-222.
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