MarySue V. Heilemann, PhD, RN, FAAN

Associate Professor
Location: 5-252 Factor Bldg
Phone: (310) 206-4735


MarySue V. Heilemann, PhD, RN, FAAN is an associate professor at the UCLA School of Nursing and an Associate Director of the UCLA National Clinician Scholars Program. She is an expert in Grounded Theory methodology informed by Constructivism and Pragmatism; she has mentored and collaborated with graduate students, post doctoral scholars, and young faculty in qualitative research at UCLA and internationally.  Dr. Heilemann has pioneered the use of transmedia in health interventions related to mental health. Transmedia involves the use of storytelling over multiple digital platforms accessible on smart phones, tablets, or computers via the Internet. Dr. Heilemann’s current work involves transmedia interventions to enhance symptom management among Latina adults in the U.S. who are struggling with depression and/or anxiety. Her scholarly work has also focused on improving the accuracy of portrayals of nurses in film and television. She was chosen to give the June 2015 National Institute of Nursing Research Director’s Lecture entitled, “From the Silver Screen to the Web: Media Portrayals of Nursing,” and frequently speaks or consults on the topic. Dr. Heilemann initiated and moderated national symposiums in both 2011 and 2012 at UCLA focused on Media Representations of Nurses; this brought together over 300 filmmakers, nurses, administrators, producers, journalists, screen writers, directors, activists, faculty, and students. She was the Guest Editor for a special volume of the official journal of the American Academy of Nursing (Nursing Outlook) that featured original scholarship created for the 2011 Symposium.


Faculty Research and Clinical Expertise

Fueled by qualitative input from participants, and in collaboration with community partners, Dr. Heilemann integrates issues of motivation, resilience, intergenerational cultural expectations, social justice, and gender issues in her work. Based on her three-fold area of expertise (media-based interventions, methodologically-driven qualitative research, and mental health), Dr. Heilemann is actively refining a new model for nursing science that features transmedia portrayals of nurses as part of powerful and promising interventions with patients, the public, and nursing professionals. Her focus has been on symptom management, motivation to seek help and engage in mental health care, and the enhancement of resilience among Latinas in the U.S.



University of Wisconsin, Madison, BS, 1982, Nursing

University of California, San Francisco, MS, 1991, Nursing

University of California, San Francisco, PhD, 1996, Nursing

University of California, San Francisco Post Doc, 1998, Nursing


Selected Publications

Heilemann, M.V., Soderlund P.D., Kehoe, P., Brecht, M.L. (2017). A transmedia storytelling intervention with interactive elements to benefit Latinas’ mental health: Feasibility, acceptability, and efficacy. Journal of Medical Internet Research - Mental Health, 4(4):e47. doi: 10.2196/mental.8571. Accessible at:

McGregor, C. & Heilemann, M.V. (2017). Deserving Veterans Disability Compensation: A Qualitative Study of Veterans’ Perceptions.  Health and Social Work. Mar 25:1-8. doi: 10.1093/hsw/hlx017. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 28371871.

Brauer, E.R., Pieters, H.C., Ganz, P.A., Landier, W., Pavlish, C., Heilemann, M.V. (2017).  “From Snail Mode to Rocket Ship Mode": Adolescents and Young Adults' Experiences of Returning to Work and School After Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation. Journal of Adolescent Young Adult Oncology, June 8. doi: 10.1089/jayao.2017.0025. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID:28594579

Heilemann, M.V., Pieters, H.C., & Dornig, K. (2016).  Reflections of Low Income, Second Generation Latinas about Experiences in Depression Therapy.  Qualitative Health Research, 26(10):1351-65. doi: 10.1177/1049732315624411. PMID: 26825479.

Albarran, C., Heilemann, M. V., & Koniak-Griffin (2014). Promotoras as facilitators of change: Latinas' perspectives after participating in a lifestyle behaviour intervention program. Journal of Advanced Nursing, Oct;70(10):2303-13. doi: 10.1111/jan.12383. Epub 2014 Mar 16.

Macdonald, M., Heilemann, M.V., Lang, A., Gregory, D., Gurnham,M., & Fillatre, T. (2014). Confirming Delivery: Understanding the Role of the Hospitalized Patient in Medication Administration Safety. Qualitative Health Research. PMID: 24598773

Canzon, F., Heilemann, M.V., Saiani, L., Mortari, L., & Ambrosi, E. (2013). Visible and invisible caring in nursing from the perspectives of patients and nurses in the gerontological context. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences. doi: 10.1111/scs.1210

Heilemann, M. V. (2012). Media images and screen representations of nurses. Nursing Outlook, 60(5 Suppl):S1-3. doi: 10.1016/j.outlook.2012.04.003. Epub 2012 Jun 15. PMID: 22705165

Heilemann, M.V., Brown, T., & Deutchman, L. (2012). Making change from the inside out. Nursing Outlook, 60(5 Suppl):S47-54. doi: 10.1016/j.outlook.2012.06.017. PMID: 23036795

Hudson, A., Heilemann, M.V., & Rodriquez, M.(2012). Missed opportunities for universal HIV screening in primary care clinics. Journal of Clinical Medicine Research, 4(4), 242-50. Epub 2012 Jul 20.

Heilemann, M.V., Choudhury, S.M., Kury, F.S., Lee, K.A. (2012). Factors associated with sleep disturbance in women of Mexican descent. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 68 (10), 2256-2266, doi: 10.1111/j.1365- 2648.2011.05918.x. [Epub ahead of print, Jan 4]

Pieters, H.C., Heilemann, M.V., Maliski, S., Dornig, K., Mentes, J. (2012). Instrumental relating and treatment decision making among older women with early-stage breast cancer. Oncology Nursing Forum, 39, e10-9.

Heilemann, M.V., Pieters, H.C., Kehoe, P., & Yang, Q. (2011). Schema therapy, motivational interviewing, and collaborative-mapping as treatment for depression among low income, second generation Latinas. J Behav Ther Experimental Psychiatry, 42(4):473-80. Epub 2011 May 7.


Book Chapter:

Heilemann, M. V. & Albarran, C. (2017). The Grounded Theory Method (book chapter name in Italian: Il metodo della Grounded Theory). In L. Mortati and L. Zannini (Eds.), Metodologia della ricerca qualitativa in ambito sanitario. Rome: Carocci Editore.