Debra Lynne Schutte PhD, RN (fl6024)

University information

Title: Associate Dean
Unit: Deans Office Nursing
Department: College of Nursing

Contact information

5557 Cass Ave., cohn Bldg., Room 138
College of Nursing
Adult Health
Detroit, 48202

College of Nursing

Program of Research title: Dementia symptoms (cognition, behavior, function)
Destination Statement:

The long-term goal of my research is to decrease the prevalence and impact of behavioral symptoms and improve quality of life in persons with Alzheimer disease through the development of tailored non-pharmacologic interventions. To accomplish this long-term goal, we need to learn more about factors that influence these symptoms such as individual characteristics (genes, hearing) and the environment (physical and social).

Title: Professor, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Director of the BioPhysical Laboratory
Populations of interests:
  •  Older Adults
Office Address:

138 Cohn

Program of Research:

Debra L. Schutte PhD, RN, Associate Professor at Wayne State University, has focused her program of research on examining genetic and environmental factors that influence the cognitive, behavioral, and functional symptoms of Alzheimer disease, particularly in individualized persons with dementia. She has extensive experience in the incorporation of genetic markers in nursing research.

Dr. Schutte’s most recent efforts have extended her research into a rural community setting, co-leading the Community-based Cooperative for Studies Across Generations (CoSAGE) Project. This long-term community-based project employs a community based participatory research approach to achieve a vision of building a sustainable and portable model of a community-academic partnership that promotes wellness and quality of life for community partners and that fosters scholarship and vitality for academic partners. The mission of CoSAGE is to develop a sustainable community-based and community-driven health research project. The long-term goals of CoSAGE are to discover genetic, lifestyle and environmental risk factors that contribute to common health-related conditions within the partner community, to translate the new knowledge into health innovations for the community, and to transport new knowledge and health innovations to the broader world population.

Dr. Schutte is widely published on symptoms in persons with dementia as well the potential role of genes in many phenomena for which nurses intervene. In addition her writings advocate for the need to examine these factors in nursing research in order to understand the biologic mechanism of symptoms as a foundation for tailored or individualized non-pharmacologic interventions.

Phone: 313-577-4481
Administrative support:

Madison LaHaie

Office Hours:

By appointment 

  • Diploma - Methodist School of Nursing
  • BSN - The University of Iowa College of Nursing
  • MSN - The University of Iowa College of Nursing
  • PhD - The University of Iowa College of Nursing
  • Post Doctoral Fellowship - The University of Iowa College of Nursing 
Research Interests:
  • Symptoms (Cognition, Behavior, Function) in Dementia
  • Biomarkers in Nursing Research
  • Gene-Environment Interactions
  • Community-based Participatory Research
Selected publications:

(*data based; †with student)

Schutte, D.L. (2016). Aging and Genomics: Perspectives for the Graduate Level Nurse. Genomic Essentials for Graduate Level Nurses: For Clinicians, Educators, Researchers and Leaders (Ed. Ed. Seibert, Edwards, Maradiegue, & Tinley). Lancaster, PA: DEStech Publications.

Schutte, D.L. (2013). Genomics and Aging. Genetics and Genomics for Nursing (Eds. Lewis & Kenner). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Schutte, D.L. (2010). Genetics, Genomics and Current Issues for Professional Nursing. Current Issues in Nursing, 8th Ed, (Ed. Cowen & Moorhead). Philadelphia: Mosby/Elsevier

Journal Articles

*Ersig, A.L., Schutte, D.L. Standley, J., Leslie, E., Zimmerman, B., Kleiber, C., Hanrahan, K., Murray, J., & McCarthy, A.M. (in press). Relationship of genetic variants with procedural pain, anxiety, and distress in children. Biological Research for Nursing.

*†Goris, E.D., Ansel, K.N., & Schutte, D.L. (2016). Systematic review of non-pharmacological interventions for reducing apathy in persons with dementia. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 72(11), 2612-2628.

*†Schutte, D.L., Dykstra Goris, E., Rivard, J., RAC/REC, & Schutte, B.C. (2016). Community health needs assessment in a rural setting: foundation for a community-academic partnership. Journal of Higher Education, Outreach, and Engagement, 20(2), 85-108).

*†Dykstra. E., Schutte, D., Rivard, J., & Schutte B. (2015) Community leader perceptions of the health needs of older adults. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 37(5), 599-618.

*Werth, S.L., Stommel, M., & Schutte, D.L. (2014). Bridging the gap: from inpatient to home for the person with a new ostomy. Journal of Wound, Ostomy, and Incontinence Nursing, 41(6), 566-572.

*†Houghton-Rahrig, L., Fenton, J.I. & Schutte, D.L. (2014). Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and the PNPLA3 gene. MEDSURG Nursing, 23(2), 101-106, 121.

*†Bonner, J.D., Fisher, R.A., Lu, Q., Klein, J., Friderici, K.H., Elfenbein, J.L., Wilch, E., Schutte, D.L., Schutte, B.C. (2014). Pedigree structure and kinship measurements of a large German immigrant community in Michigan: A new isolate discovered. Human Biology: The International Journal of Population Genetics and Anthropology, 86(1), 59-68.

Schutte, D.L. (2013). Genetic testing and Alzheimer’s disease: implications for psychiatric mental health nursing. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing, 18, 1-5.

*†Houghton-Rahrig, R., Schutte, D.L., von Eye, A., Fenton, J.I., Given, B.A., & Hord, N.G. (2013). Exploration of a symptom experience in persons with NAFLD. Nursing Outlook, 61(4), 242-251.

*†Schutte, D.L., Davies, M.A., & Goris, E.D. (2013). The implications of genomics on the nursing care of adults with neuropsychiatric conditions. The Journal of Nursing Scholarship,45(1), 79-88. 10.1111/jnu.12006

*†Spoelstra, S.L., Given, B.A., Given, C.W., Schutte, D. L., Sikorskii, A., You, M. (2013). Do older adults with cancer fall more often? A comparative analysis of falls in those with and without cancer, Oncology Nursing Forum, 40(2), E69-78. Online exclusive article can be accessed at

*†Schutte, D.L., Reed, D.A., DeCranes, S., & Ersig, A.L. (2011). Saitohin and APOE polymorphisms influence cognition and function in persons with advanced Alzheimer Disease. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders, 32- 94-102 [DOI: 10.1159/000329542].*

*Williams, J.K., Barnette, J.J., Sousa, V.D., Schutte, D.L., McGonigal-Kenney, M., Jarmon, L., Tripp-Reimer, T., & Paulsen, J.S. (2010). Development of the Huntington Disease Family Concerns and Strategies Survey from Focus Group Data. Journal of Nursing Measurement, 18(2), 83-99.

McDaniel, A.M., Schutte, D.L., & Olsen Keller, L. (2008). Consumer health informatics: from genomics to population health. Nursing Outlook, 56(5), 216-223.

*Kleiber, C., Schutte, D.L., McCarthy, A.M., Floria-Santos, M., Murray, J.C., & Hanrahan, K. (2007, Feb). Predictors of topical analgesic effectiveness in children. Journal of Pain, 8(2), 168-174.

Honors and Awards:
  • Senior Investigator Award, Midwest Nursing Research Society, Genetics Research Section, 2012
  • Junior Investigator Award, Midwest Nursing Research Society, Genetics Research Section, 2008
Current Research:
  • Hearing, Genetics and Agitation in People with Dementia in a Rural Isolated Community: A Feasibility Study. Principal Investigator: Debra Schutte, PhD, RN.
  • Community-based Cooperative for Studies Across Generations (CoSAGE). Principal Investigator: Debra Schutte, PhD, RN.
Debra Lynne Schutte PhD, RN

Courses taught by Debra Lynne Schutte PhD, RN

Fall Term 2024 (future)

Fall Term 2022

Winter Term 2022

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