Jackson Lab

The Jackson Lab is dedicated to examining how individuals with congenital and acquired heart disease manage their illness and emotional wellbeing across the lifespan. Our goal is to ensure the best outcomes for survivors of heart disease through better understanding factors that promote healthy lifestyle, effective coping and stress management, and active engagement in medical care.


  • Congratulations to Kristen Fox, PhD, on her TL1 funding through the Mentored Career Development Fellowship!

Ongoing Studies

Congenital Heart Disease Physical Activity Lifestyle Study (CHD-PALS)

CHD-PALS is a clinical trial of a lifestyle intervention promoting physical activity among adolescents and young adults with congenital heart disease. The goal of this research is to establish an intervention for sustaining increased physical activity levels that will reduce complications and enhance quality of life for survivors of congenital heart disease. Participants in this study may work with a lifestyle coach to help meet their physical activity goals. We are interested in learning what factors contribute to physical activity levels and how to tailor lifestyle interventions to meet the needs of adolescent and young adult congenital heart disease survivors.

Personal Understanding of my Medical Plan (PUMP) Study

This is a longitudinal study with emerging and young adults with congenital heart disease. We are interested in better understanding how knowledge of their condition, quality of life, perceptions of illness, and health change as congenital heart disease survivors age. Recruitment and 6-year data collection are currently underway.

Characterization of Clinical Skeletal and Cardiac Impairments in Carriers of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) and Becker Muscular Dystrophy (BMD) (Carrier Study)

The Carrier Study is a collaboration between investigators in The Heart Center and Centers for Gene Therapy and Biobehavioral Health. With funding from the Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, the study aims to characterize cardiovascular, muscular, and emotional functioning among women who have sons diagnosed with Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies. Dr. Jackson is particularly interested in how the stress of caregiving may impact cardiovascular health among these women, who due to genetics, may be at risk for developing cardiovascular disease.

Assessment Patterns of Patient-Reported Outcomes in Adults with Congenital Heart Disease – International Study (APPROACH-IS) II

APPROACH-IS II seeks to better understand the outcomes, experiences, and health care needs of adults with congenital heart disease, as well as how these patient-reported outcomes may differ by country. Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of over seventy sites participating in this study worldwide, including medical centers in Japan, Italy, Australia, Argentina, and Nigeria. We are currently recruiting congenital heart disease patients age 18 years or older who are engaged in care at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Health Behaviors of Adolescent Congenital Heart Disease Survivors Study

Health Behaviors of Adolescent Congenital Heart Disease Survivors aims to learn about habits related to sleep, diet, physical activity, and tobacco use among teens age 12 to 18 who have a congenital heart defect. The goal of this study is to identify what factors influence these behaviors. We hope this information will help us develop strategies to promote healthy habits and improve wellbeing among teens with congenital heart disease. We are currently recruiting congenital heart disease patients 12 to 18 years old who are engaged in care at Nationwide Children’s Hospital to participate in this study.

Get Involved

Prospective Post-Baccalaureate Research Assistants

A research assistant is needed for a collaborative research team that is investigating psychosocial and medical outcomes for those with congenital and acquired cardiac disease. The individual recruited will contribute to ongoing work with children, adolescents, and young adult survivors of congenital heart defects and other cardiac-related illness. The biggest commitment of time and effort will be on an NIH-funded randomized clinical trial evaluating the feasibility of a videoconference-delivered physical activity lifestyle intervention for adolescent survivors of congenital heart disease. Duties will involve direct work with research participants (recruitment, in-person and web-based data collection), data management and dissemination of research results. This position will involve close collaboration with the investigators as well as other research staff at Nationwide Children’s. Opportunities exist for mentorship and professional development for applicants who may be interested in gaining experience that will prepare them to apply for advanced graduate programs.


  1. Conduct clinical research activities independently or semi-independently, following protocols approved by the principal investigator and the Institutional Review Board (IRB) governing protection of human research participants. This will involve making recruitment phone calls to potential participants, data collection, and data management. Data collection will involve collaboration with adolescents and families to administer surveys via the internet. Data management will include scoring standardized assessments, medical record reviews, data entry and verification. These duties will involve some evening and/or weekend hours on a flexible schedule.
  2. Collect and control experimental data and subject information and maintain accurate data collection of all study data. Protection of participant privacy and adherence to policies for management of private and protected health information is required.
  3. Supervise student research interns.
  4. Interpret the results of data analyses with input from the principal investigator.
  5. Assist the principal investigator in the preparation of scientific publications and grant proposals.
  6. Make recommendations about refinement and/or replacement of study procedures. Implement such refinements or new procedures with input from the principal investigator, only after IRB approval.
  7. Order supplies needed to conduct research, maintain inventory of equipment and supplies and assure that research equipment is in good working order.
  8. Work with other clinical research coordinators/research assistants and students using standard research practices. Follow appropriate federal, state and institutional guidelines for clinical research; adhere to good clinical practices.
  9. Perform miscellaneous related duties.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities Required

  1. Bachelor’s degree in relevant field, for example psychology or another behavioral science.
  2. Ability to function independently, to make decisions and to be a self-starter.
  3. Strong organizational skills and attention to detail.
  4. Team player who will work well with supervisors, co-workers and student supervisees.
  5. Good communication and interpersonal skills. 
  6. Current driver’s license and insurance with access to a reliable car for use in data collection.
  7. Previous research experience and familiarity with statistical and data management software (e.g., SPSS, Excel, RedCap) is preferred.

If interested, please contact:  

Jessica Bowman
Clinical Research Program Coordinator
Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Living in Columbus!



Prospective Student Volunteers

Preferred # of credit hours: 1-2 

Preferred # of Terms Commitment: 2 semesters (available autumn, spring, and summer semesters)

Student participation: Students may take several roles in the research process including, but not limited to: entering and verifying data, abstracting data from patient medical charts and interacting with nurses and physicians.

Special qualifications needed: Students should be majoring in psychology, pre-med, nursing or related field, with a GPA of 3.5 or higher. Good interpersonal skills and completion of a research methods course are necessary. Prior familiarity with a hospital setting (either inpatient or in a hospital clinic) is preferred.

If interested, please contact:  

Jessica Bowman
Clinical Research Program Coordinator
Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Selected Publications From Our Lab

Moons, P., Kovacs, A. H., Luyckx, K., Thomet, C., Budts, W., Enomoto, J., ... & Cook, S. C. (2018). Patient-reported outcomes in adults with congenital heart disease: Inter-country variation, standard of living and healthcare system factors. International journal of cardiology, 251, 34-41.

Jackson, J. L., Gerardo, G. M., Monti, J. D., Schofield, K. A., & Vannatta, K. (2018). Executive function and internalizing symptoms in adolescents and young adults with congenital heart disease: The role of coping. Journal of pediatric psychology, 43(8), 906-915.

Jackson, J. L., Gerardo, G. M., Daniels, C. J., & Vannatta, K. (2017). Perceptions of Disease-Related Stress: A Key to Better Understanding Patient-Reported Outcomes Among Survivors of Congenital Heart Disease. The Journal of cardiovascular nursing, 32(6), 587-593.

View Publications