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

Martha Dreissnack

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 continue to be in awe of the degree to which children are able to communicate their needs, experiences, and challenges and the nuanced insights they provide.

View a brief video of my most recent work with children and chronic headache pain using a computer-based, zoomable interface

Listen to Martha as she talks about "Understanding Genetics: With a little help from Harry Potter and friends. 

This invited lecture at the University of Florida was part of the U.S. National Library of Medicine Exhibition Program - Harry Potter's World: Renaissance, Science, Magic, and Medicine.


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., Downing, N., Hanish, A., Shinkunas, L., Shah, L., Simon, C., & Williams, J. (Epub ahead of print 10 April 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. (in press). Children ‘draw-and-tell’ their knowledge of genetics. Pediatric Nursing Journal.

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, Volume 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.

Hourcade, J.P., Driessnack, M., & Huebner, K.E. (2012). Supporting face-to-face communication between clinicians and children with chronic headaches through a zoomable multi-touch app. CHI’12 – Proceedings of the 2012 ACM Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2609-18. doi: 10.1145/2207676.2208651.

Furukawa, R., & Driessnack M. (2013). Video-Mediated Communication to Support Distant Family Connectedness. Clinical Nursing Research, 22(1), 82-94. doi: 10.1177/1054773812446150

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.

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.