Graham J McDougall Jr, PhD, RN, FAAN, FGSA

Graham J McDougall Jr is the Martha Saxon Endowed Chair and Professor

Martha Saxon Endowed Chair and Professor

Dr. McDougall was born and raised in New Orleans, LA. He earned his graduate degree at the LSU Health Science Center where he majored in Geriatric Psychiatric Nursing and received a National Institutes of Mental Health Fellowship. He was employed in both inpatient Neuro-Psychiatry at Charity Hospital and outpatient Psychiatric Nursing at Associated Catholic Charities in New Orleans, LA. Through his advanced nursing practice, he earned dual national certifications as an adult psychiatric clinical specialist and gerontological nurse practitioner. He went on to receive his PhD degree in Education and Cognition at The University of Texas at Austin. His doctoral research, under the mentorship of Drs. Claire Ellen Weinstein and Oscar Mink, focused on the subjective evaluation of memory and implications for cognitive changes in normal aging.

A major focus of his research has been to understand the aging brain and how the subjective evaluation of memory may lead to cognitive decline. The research explains the cognitive difficulties experienced by older adults who are worried about memory loss. The research shifted the emphasis of cognitive aging from traditional models emphasizing decrements and losses to potential and gains.
He received the National Institute of Mental Health, Mental Disorders of Aging Branch Faculty Scholar Award under the mentorship of Dr. May Wykle at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University as an assistant professor. In addition, NINR funded an AREA research award. He then joined the nursing faculty at The University of Texas at Austin.

A unique memory training intervention called SeniorWISE (Wisdom Is Simply Exploration) was tested in a Phase III randomized clinical trial funded by the National Institutes on Aging. SeniorWISE is registered with the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office. The model has been tested with over 1000 older adults who have participated in various health promotion interventions in which they have learned strategies for successful aging.

He has authored over 60 scientific articles and 25 chapters, delivered almost 200 invited presentations and his research and perspectives have been profiled in high-impact media: The Today Show and O, The Oprah Magazine. Awards and honors for his research include the Mind Alert Award for Mental Fitness from the American Society on Aging and MetLife Foundation; the Edge Runner from the American Academy Nursing; National Academies Keck Futures Initiative; Nurse Scientists: Committed to the Public Trust, Johnson & Johnson; Nurse Scientist Award, Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research; and Media Award, American Academy Nursing.

Educational Background

  • PhD, Education and Cognition, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
  • MN, Gerontological and Psychiatric and Community Mental Health Nursing, Louisiana State University Medical Center, School of Nursing, New Orleans, LA
  • BSN, Nursing, William Carey University, Hattiesburg, MS

Research Interests

  • Cognitive Aging
  • Geriatric Mental Health Issues
  • Health Promotion Interventions
  • Memory Improvement
  • Self-Efficacy Theory

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