Meet the Researchers

Brendan Martin, PhD, MA

Brendan Martin

Brendan joined the Research Department in May 2018. He is an experienced researcher with more than 15 years in quantitative modeling and consulting, and over 70 peer-reviewed publications. As principal investigator, Brendan recently spearheaded AVѧԺ’s longitudinal examination of prelicensure nursing education in the U.S. entitled, Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 on Nursing Education: A National Study of Prelicensure RN Programs. Brendan also led additional projects focused on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the U.S. nursing workforce and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses.

Recent studies published include “A Descriptive Summary of the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Workforce in the United States: Targeted Findings From the 2022 National Nursing Workforce Survey” (JNR, 2024).

A Detailed Examination of the Rural Registered Nurse and Licensed Practical Nurse/Licensed Vocational Nurse Populations: Evidence to Support Holistic Workforce Planning” (JNR, 2024), and “Advanced Practice Registered Nurses’ Views of the APRN Compact: Survey Findings From Five U.S. States” (JNR, 2024).

Brendan also teaches the Fundamentals of Research course in AVѧԺ’s International Center for Regulatory Scholarship (ICRS) program.

Charlie O'Hara, PhD, MA


Charlie joined the Research Department in November 2022. Charlie received a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Southern California and taught computational linguistics at the University of Michigan before coming to AVѧԺ. His research interests include intent to leave among early career nurses, language requirements for foreign-educated nurses, the advantages and limitations of large language model technology for nursing regulation, and using natural language processing techniques to analyze unstructured data. Charlie’s recent work has investigated workforce issues, and used natural language processing methodologies to better characterize nurses’ experiences with burnout during the pandemic and nurses’ opinions regarding licensure compacts.

Recent publications include The Under 35 Nursing Workforce in 2022: Overworked, Under Supported, and Burned Out (JNR, 2024) and Characterizing the Telehealth Nursing Workforce (JNR, 2024).

Elizabeth Zhong, PhD, MEd


Elizabeth has been a member of the Research Department since 2005. Elizabeth earned a PhD and an MEd in Research Methodology from Loyola University of Chicago. Her focus for the past few years has been on nurse discipline and regulation. By analyzing data from different national nursing databases, Elizabeth hopes to develop deeper insight into what causes nursing practice errors, and how the incidence of such errors can be reduced.

Elizabeth has been leading a series of studies on at-risk nurses and developing models to identify risk factors for recidivism that will provide evidence for boards of nursing (BON) to use for developing more efficient remediation and discipline in nursing regulation. Meanwhile, Elizabeth has been working closely with the AVѧԺ Compact team and BONs to conduct state surveys to gather nurses’ opinions about the current Compact models. The survey findings have been used to facilitate BON’s Compact legislative efforts.

Elizabeth has developed the international version of the Fundamentals of Research course in AVѧԺ’s ICRS program.

Nicole K. Ozturk, PhD, MA


Nicole joined the Research Department in January 2020. She is a certified project manager professional and holds a Ph.D. in Education Psychology (Psychometrics) from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Nicole’s primary research interests include licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and the broader nursing workforce, in addition to prelicensure education. Nicole’s recent works include an investigation of the nurse educator workforce and the LPN workforce through the lens of race and ethnicity.  Other recent works include examining the adoption of virtual clinical simulation in LPN programs during the COVID-19 pandemic, regulation of clinical simulation during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a preliminary examination of healthcare facilities’ nurse staffing strategies to address COVID-19 surges. Nicole supports the National Nursing Workforce Survey and the Annual Report Program and teaches Advanced Quantitative Methods in AVѧԺ’s ICRS program.

Richard Smiley, MS, MA


Richard has been a member of the Research Department for over 20 years. He earned a Master of Science in Statistics from the University of Chicago and a Master of Arts in Demography from Georgetown University. One of Richard’s most notable research contributions is the landmark AVѧԺ National Simulation Study which explored the role and outcomes of simulation in prelicensure clinical nursing education. Currently, Richard is leading the following national studies: National Nursing Workforce Survey and AVѧԺ’s Substance Use Disorder Monitoring Programs Study.

Richard teaches a Questionnaire Design course in AVѧԺ's ICRS Program.

Michaela Reid


Michaela joined the Research Department in April 2023. Michaela received a dual degree in Political Science and Interdisciplinary Health from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) before joining AVѧԺ. She worked as a research assistant at UIUC and produced an in-depth literature review on the impacts of increased green space on epigenetic outcomes, physical and psychological health outcomes, environmental conditions, and levels of social and political participation. Michaela supports the Research Department by providing technical, logistical, and research support. She works closely with each study principal investigator and conducts comprehensive literature reviews to support project development.