Penny Riley, PhD, MS, RN

Clinical Assistant Professor
Department of Health Behavior and Biological Sciences
Room 1160C 400NIB

University of Michigan School of Nursing
400 North Ingalls Building
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5482

Telephone: (734) 764-8921
Fax: (734) 936-5525

Scholarly Expertise / Activity


  • Heart failure
  • Cognitive function
  • Self-care decision making in heart failure

Dr. Riley has presented posters, disseminated manuscripts, and worked on scholarly projects during the last seven years. Specifically, she was lead author and presenter on a poster about spatial memory in heart failure at two different conferences. She also assisted several fellow students with poster development. Dr. Riley assisted with data analysis and revision of three manuscripts that were published in the past four years. She was first author for an article on self-care decision making in heart failure. Further, Dr. Riley successfully proposed and obtained a fully funded, two year, National Research Service Award during her doctoral program. Her dissertation was an original, research based study in which she enrolled heart failure patients and healthy control participants. Dr. Riley is currently finalizing three manuscripts from her dissertation for publication in peer-reviewed journals.

Current Research Grants and Programs:

  • Spatial Memory Performance in Chronic Heart Failure, NIH, PI
  • Cognitive Training to Improve Memory in HF


Dr. Riley believes in active learning to facilitate consolidation of new knowledge. She strives to encourage excitement in students about new knowledge and to pursuit learning, and to work toward determining best practice, thus improving patient care.

Dr. Riley also believes research is an essential part of nursing education, whether it is talking to patients on a particular unit about how to improve their sleep while in the hospital or instituting an interventional study to improve memory. Students need to be able to apply what they learn in the classroom setting to what they are doing in the clinical setting.
As a role model and mentor, Dr. Riley tries to instill in students a love for learning, the ability to effectively question and improve best practice, and the willingness to work hard to obtain their goals.
Dr. Riley has taught sophomore and senior students on several medical and surgical units.

Affiliations / Service

  • Sigma Theta Tau International, National Honor Society, Member October, 2008-current; Leadership Succession Committee member September, 2009-2010; 2014-2015; chair September, 2010-2011.
  • American Heart Association member 2010-current
  • Midwest Nursing Research Society member 2010-current

Notable Awards / Honors

  • National Research Service Award, Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Nursing Research. Issued: 09/18/2009; budget start January 1, 2010, end December 31, 2011. Total budget: $66,432.


  • PhD, Nursing, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. 2014
  • Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner Certification, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. 2001
  • BSN, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI. 1991
  • ADN, Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor, MI. 1984

Publication Highlights

  • Pressler SJ, Martineau A, Grossi J, Giordani B, Koelling TM, Ronis DL, Riley PL, Chou CC, Sullivan BJ, Smith DG. Healthcare resource use among heart failure patients in a randomized pilot study of a cognitive training intervention. Heart & Lung: The Journal of Acute and Critical Care, In press.

  • Riley PL, Arslanian-Engoren C. Cognitive dysfunction and self-care decision making in chronic heart failure: A review of the literature. Eur J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2013 12(6):505-511. PMID: 23630404

  • Pressler SJ, Martineau A, Grossi J, Giordani B, Koelling TM, Ronis DL, Riley PL, et al. Healthcare resource use among heart failure patients in a randomized pilot study of a cognitive training intervention. Heart Lung. 2013 Sep-Oct;42(5):332-8. DOI:10.1016/j.hrtlng.2013.05.001

  • Pressler SJ, Therrien B, Riley PL, Chou CC, Ronis DL, Koelling TM, Smith D, Giordani B. (2011). Nurse Enhanced Memory Intervention in Heart Failure: the MEMOIR study. J Card Fail. 2011 Oct;17(10), 832-843.

  • Pressler SJ, Kim JS, Riley PL, Ronis DL, Gradus-Pizlo I. Memory dysfunction, psychomotor slowing, and decreased executive function predict mortality in patients with heart failure and low ejection fraction. J Card Fail. 2010 Sep;16(9):750-760.