Sue Penckofer

Loyola University Chicago
School of Nursing

Sue Penckofer, PhD, RN is Professor in the School of Nursing at Loyola University Chicago. She is committed to improving the quality of life of women with diabetes because despite technological and pharmacologic advances in cardiovascular care, they continue to have the greatest cardiac morbidity and mortality. She has conducted research focusing on women’s cardiovascular health with an emphasis on the cardiovascular risk factors of menopause, diabetes, depression, and most recently vitamin D deficiency as all of these are associated with increased risk for heart disease in women. She completed a Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K 23) sponsored by the National Institute of Nursing Research where she developed and tested a nurse-delivered depression program for women with diabetes. The findings were recently published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine (July 2012).

Dr. Penckofer is currently extending her work to study the use of vitamin D supplementation for the treatment of depression in women with diabetes. She was recently supported by the University of Chicago NIH Diabetes Research Clinical Training (DRCT) Center for a pilot project to examine the impact of weekly vitamin D supplementation for depressed women with diabetes. She has presented these findings at the American Diabetes Association and the Society of Behavioral Medicine meetings. Dr. Penckofer has published in scientific journals (Circulation, Diabetes Educator, Issues in Mental Health Nursing) and the lay press (Women’s Day, Chicago Today’s Woman, Chicago Sun Times) regarding the potential impact of vitamin D on cardiovascular health, diabetes and mental well being.

Dr. Penckofer is a grant reviewer for the National Institutes of Health, Diabetes Research Centers, and the Midwest Nursing Research Society. She is also a reviewer for many scientific journals.  Dr. Penckofer engages students in her work and was recognized by Loyola University Chicago for her research as a Faculty Scholar. She is a dedicated teacher and provides research experiences for students (high school, undergraduate, and graduate both nursing and non-nursing majors) to assist in the development of future scientists. Her research collaborators at Loyola University Chicago includes endocrinologists (Drs. Mary Ann Emanuele and Pauline Camacho), a psychologist (Dr. Patricia Mumby), a psychiatrist (Dr. Angelos Halaris), epidemiologists (Drs. Durazo and Shoham), and a nutritionist (Dr. Joanne Kouba). Dr. Penckofer also collaborates with her colleagues at the University of Illinois College of Nursing, specifically with Drs. Laurie Quinn and Carol Ferrans. Finally, Dr. Penckofer is passionate about addressing professional and lay audiences about the physical and psychological issues experienced by persons with diabetes to aid in the understanding and the improvement in their quality of life.