Martha Driessnack, Ph.D., P.N.P - B.C.

Martha Driessnack

Associate Professor
Oregon Health & Science University
School of Nursing
3455 SW US Veterans Hospital Road
Portland, OR 97239

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My program of research revolves around the active engagement of children both in health care research and practice through the development of child-sensitive approaches to data collection and assessment. To date, much of my work has centered on the integration of children's drawings into the interview process, or what I refer to as the Draw-and-Tell Conversation (DTC). This journey has taken me into conversations with children about fear, disease causation, risk, and/or inheritance, and health-related literacy. I am currently focused on how we engage children in the assessment and management of their pain experiences, both acute and chronic, and how current approaches impact children's life and future pain experiences. I am always in awe of the degree to which children are able to communicate and the nuanced insights they provide. To learn more about my work and focus:

  • Listen to this tutorial developed for and by children for health care providers using a new prototype app - DrawnTogether¬©

  • Listen to my talk, entitled Understanding Genetics: With a little help from Harry Potter and friends, at The University of Florida's Health Science Center Library who was hosting "Harry Potter's World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine," a traveling exhibit from the National Library of Medicine. The talk uses characters and stories from the Harry Potter series to explain complex genetic concepts, including patterns of inheritance, variable expressivity, incomplete penetrance, epigenetics and eugenics.



BSN - The Ohio State University
MSN - Yale University
Post doctoral Fellowship in Clinical Genetics - University of Iowa
NIH/NINR - Summer Genetics Institute


Driessnack M. &Daack Hirsch S. (2016). Genetics in Pediatric Primary Care [Chapter 40] In Burns, et al. Pediatric Primary Care, 6th ed. Saunders.

Driessnack M. (2016) Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle [Feature Boxes] In Chapters 12- 26. C.A. Jarvis, Physical Examination &Health Assessment, 7th ed. St Louis, MI: Saunders.

Furukawa R., &Driessnack M. (2016). Testing the committee approach to translating measures across cultures: Translating primary communication inventory from English to Japanese. Nursing and Health Sciences. doi: 10.1111/nhs.12291

Driessnack M. (2016). Achievements, Challenges, and Implications for Pediatric Nursing in the Post-Genomic Era. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 31, 1-2.

Lassetter, J., Ray, G, Driessnack, M., &Williams, M. (2015). Consulting with children in the development of self-efficacy and recall tools related to nutrition and physical activity. Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing, 20(1), 21-8. doi:10.1111/jspn.12093

Driessnack, M., Chung, S., Perkounkova, E., &Hein, M. (2014). Using the Newest Vital Sign (NVS) to assess health literacy in children. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 28(2), 165-171. doi: 10.1016/j.pedhc.2013.05.005.

Driessnack, M., Daack Hirsch, S., Downing, et al. (2013). The disclosure of incidental genomic findings: An 'ethically important moment' in pediatric research and practice. Journal of Community Genetics. doi:10.1007/s12687-013-0145-1.

Driessnack M. &Gallo A. (2013). Children 'Draw-and-Tell' their knowledge of genetics. Pediatric Nursing Journal, 39(4), 173-180.

Driessnack M. &Gallo A. (2012). Stop, look, &listen: Revisiting the involvement of children and adolescents in genomic research. In G.A. Pepper and K. Wysocki (Eds). Annual Review of Nursing Research, 29(1), 133-149. doi:

Driessnack M., Williams J., Barnette J.J., Sparbel K., &Paulsen J.S. (2012). Development of the HD-Teen Inventory. Clinical Nursing Research, 21(2), 213-223. doi:10.1177/1054773811409397].

Driessnack M. &Ryoko Furukawa (2012). Arts-Based Data Collection Techniques Used in Child Research. Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing, 17, 3-9. doi:10.1111/j.1744-6155.2011.00304.x.

Driessnack M. (2009). Growing up at the intersection of the genome era and information age. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 24(3), 189-193.

Driessnack M. (2009) Using the Colored Eco-Genetic Relationship map (CEGRM) with children. Nursing Research, 58(5), 304-311.

Sparbel K, Driessnack M, Williams J, et al. (2008). Experiences of teens living in the shadow of Huntington Disease. Journal of Genetic Counseling, 17(4), 327-335.

Driessnack M. (2006). 'Draw-and-Tell Conversations' with children about fear. Qualitative Health Research, 16(10), 1414-1435. doi: 10.1177/1049732306294127.

Driessnack M. (2005) Children's drawings as facilitators of communication: A meta-analysis. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 20(6), 414-423.

Driessnack M (2004) Remember Me: Mask-making with chronically and terminally ill children. Holistic Nursing Practice, 18(4), 211-214.