Photo of Kelly L Wierenga

Kelly L Wierenga

Assistant Professor Indiana UniversityScience of Nursing Care
Home 600 Barnhill Drive, NU E403 Indianapolis IN 46202 United States


Dr. Wierenga’s program of research focuses on improving recovery and secondary prevention for patients in outpatient cardiovascular rehabilitation following a major adverse cardiac event (ie. revascularization or myocardial infarction). Her research interests lie in how improving abilities to adaptively regulate emotions during a stressful period of recovery can improve symptoms of depression and anxiety in these individuals. These improvements in psychological symptoms paired with cardiovascular rehabilitation may increase the uptake and sustaining of a regular exercise program long-term. She has developed a treatment using mechanisms of emotion regulation to support recovery and improves weekly physical activity in the cardiovascular rehabilitation population. This treatment has demonstrated early efficacy in a small pilot sample and will continue to be refined by her team.

Dr. Wierenga has been funded as a principle investigator, co-investigator, and trainee through the National Institutes of Nursing Research, the American Nurses Foundation, Jonas Philanthropies, Sigma Theta Tau Alpha Psi Chapter, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, and the Spectrum Health Foundation. Dr. Wierenga joined the Indiana University School of Nursing (Indianapolis) as a tenure-track assistant professor in 2018 after completing a post-doctoral fellowship at Case Western Reserve University. She brings expertise in emotion regulation, self-management, and health outcomes. Her long-term goal is to refine cardiovascular rehabilitation treatments to improve uptake and sustained self-management of exercise to support long-term health improvements and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Dr. Wierenga teaches in the baccalaureate program in research and medication dosing. She also currently serves as a member at large for the Midwest Nursing Research Society Board of Directors.