Cynthia S. Darling-Fisher, PhD, FNP-BC

Cindy Darling-Fisher

Clinical Associate Professor
Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Programs
Department of Health Behavior and Biological Sciences
Room 3176 400NIB

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

Telephone: (734) 647-0328
Fax: (734) 763-0681


  • Teen risks
  • Oral health
  • Teen-provider communication
  • Relationship between maternal employment and paternal involvement in child care
  • Measurement of psychosocial development in children and adults
Dr. Darling-Fisher is a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) with clinical experience in pediatric, internal medicine, and family practice settings. The focus of her scholarship and practice has been on examination of ways to improve patient–provider communication to improve care delivery and patient outcomes, particularly with high-risk adolescent populations. A primary focus is the development and evaluation of instruments: to assess adolescent risk behaviors in primary care (the Rapid Assessment for Adolescent Preventive Services (RAAPS) Questionnaire for adolescent Risk Assessment; the use of Event History Calendars (EHC) to assess risk behaviors in context; and psychosocial development in adults (the Modified Erikson's Psychosocial Stage Inventory (MEPSI) based on Ericksonian theory.
Another focus is increasing primary care providers’ understanding of oral health issues, specifically, related to Type 2 diabetes. Her research ranges from examining issues related to adaptation to parenthood for employed parents (both mothers and fathers) to ways for providers to better communicate and intervene with adolescents around risk-taking behaviors to examining the impact of toxic stress on youth and the providers caring for them. Her current clinical practice at the Regional Alliance for Healthy Schools (RAHS) School-Based Centers has a primary focus on health promotion and risk reduction as well as on management of acute and common chronic illnesses, allowing for integration of her scholarship and practice expertise in psychosocial and health-related issues with children and their families.

Current Research Grants and Programs:

  • Kuzma, E. (PI), Darling-Fisher, C. (Co-I),Pardee, M. (Co-I), & Li, Y. (2016). Integrating Trauma Informed Practices into Nursing Education. CRLT Faculty Development Grant, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
  • Martyn, K. (PI), Villarruel, A. (Co-I), Darling-Fisher, C., (Co-I), Pardee, M.(Co-I), & Ronis, D. (Co-I). (2009). Testing a Risk Event History Calendar Intervention with Adolescents. NIH/National Institute of Mental Health (R34).
  • Peters, M. (PI), Kanjirath, P(Co-I), Klausner, C. (Co-I), Valerio, M. (Co-I), Darling-Fisher, C.(Co-I) (2009). Bridging Understanding: Improving Health Communication Strategies and Oral Health Literacy. Delta Dental Foundation.


Dr. Darling-Fisher sees graduate education as one of the most essential components in the development of future colleagues both in research and clinical practice. This viewpoint provides the foundation for her work and active engagement with her students, many of whom go on to precept or guest lecture for the FNP program and have been co-authors on papers, or colleagues in clinical practice. She has a long standing history as a nurse practitioner educator with expertise in curriculum development, program coordination, and clinical and classroom teaching for the primary care nurse practitioner programs (FNP, AGNP, PNP, DNP). In addition to being an expert teacher, she mentors both graduate students and graduates and has been the advisor or reader on numerous master’s student scholarly projects (over 100 N699s) as well as PhD committees/dissertations and international doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows.

Affiliations / Service

  • Member, Sigma Theta Tau, Rho Chapter, International Honor Society of Nursing, University of Michigan, 1980-present (numerous committees, most recent Faculty Advisor, 2009-2010)
  • Member, National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (Program Director’s Special Interest Group. 2004-present)
  • Member, Michigan Council of Nurse Practitioners
  • Member, American Academy of Nurse Practitioners
  • Member, Numerous University of Michigan Committees: Member, UM Work-Life Advisory Committee, UM Child Care Initiative Steering Committee, Elected Member, Faculty Practice Plan Advisory Committee, 1999- 2002; 2006-present; Chair, Faculty Practice Plan Advisory Committee, 2006-2008; plus several search committees and task forces
  • Manuscript Reviewer, American Journal of Public Health; Health Promotion Practice; Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association; Journal of Family Issues; PLOS-1; Sex Roles; The Journal for Nurse Practitioners
  • Website Reviewer, University of Michigan Health System Webpage on Fathering Resources, 2010

Notable Awards / Honors

  • Excellence in Nursing Mentorship Award, Sigma Theta Tau, Rho Chapter, University of Michigan, 2005
  • Featured in Who's Who Among American College and University Students, 1986
  • Sigma Theta Tau, Rho Chapter, International Honor Society of Nursing, University of Michigan 1980


  • PhD, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan ,1987
  • MS, University of Rochester School of Nursing, Rochester, New York, 1978
  • BSN, Cornell University ‑ New York Hospital School of Nursing, New York, New York, 1971

Publication Highlights

  • Darling-Fisher, C. S. “Erikson's Stages of Psychosocial Development" in The SAGE Encyclopedia of Educational Research, Measurement and Evaluation (In Press, 2017).

  • Munro-Kramer, M. L., Fava, N. M., Banerjee, T., Darling-Fisher, C. S., Pardee, M., Villarruel, A. M., & Martyn, K. K. (2016). The Effect of a Youth-Centered Sexual Risk Event History Calendar (SREHC) Assessment on Sexual Risk Attitudes, Intentions, and Behavior. Journal of Pediatric Health Care.

  • Darling-Fisher CS, Kanjirath PP, Peters MC, Borgnakke WS. Oral health: an untapped resource in managing glycemic control in diabetes and promoting overall health. J Nurse Pract 2015;11(9):889–896. Supplementary material available at: 1); 2) CE course for American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) members available at:

  • Darling-Fisher, C., Salerno, J., Yi, C.H., & Martyn, K.K. (2014). Clinical use of the rapid assessment for adolescent preventive services (RAAPS) questionnaire. Journal of Pediatric Health Care. 28(3):217-226 {JCPH President’s Choice recipient}, (PMID:23623541)

  • Martyn, K.K., Saftner, M.A., Darling-Fisher, C., & Schell, M.C. (2013). Sexual Risk Assessment Using Event History Calendars with Male and Female Adolescents. Journal of Pediatric Health Care. 27(6): 640-649 . (PMID: 22742823)

  • Salerno, J., Darling-Fisher, C., Hawkins, N., & Fraker, E. (2013). Identifying relationships between high risk sexual behaviors and screening positive for chlamydia and gonorrhea in school-wide screening events. Journal of School Health, 83: 99-104. (PMID:23331269)

  • Martyn KK, Darling-Fisher C, Pardee M, Ronis DL, Felicetti IL, Saftner MA. J Improving sexual risk communication with adolescents using event history calendars. Sch Nurs. 2012 Apr;28(2):108-15. doi: 10.1177/1059840511426577. Epub 2011 Nov 8 (PMID:22071717) {Sage Writing Award Recipient}

  • Yi, C.H., Martyn, K., Salerno, J., & Darling-Fisher, C.S. (2009). Implementation of the RAAPS Questionnaire for adolescent Risk Assessment. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 23 (1), 2-9.

  • Devries, B., Darling-Fisher, C., Thomas, A. & Belanger-Shugart, E. (2008). Implementation and outcomes of group medical visits in an outpatient specialty clinic. The Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. 20 (3), 163 – 169.

  • Tiedje, L. B. & Darling-Fisher, C. S. (2003). Promoting Father Friendly Healthcare. MCN. 28(6):350-357.

  • Barkauskas, V., Stoltenberg-Allen, K, Baumann, L., & Darling-Fisher, C. (2002). Health and Physical Assessment 3rd ed. St. Louis: CV Mosby.

  • Tiedje, L. B. & Darling-Fisher, C. S. (1996). Fatherhood reconsidered: A critical review. Research in Nursing and Health, 19, 471-484.

  • Kline Leidy, N. W. & Darling-Fisher, C. S. (1995). A psychometric evaluation of the Modified Erikson Psychosocial Stage Inventory in diverse clinical samples. Western Journal Of Nursing Research. 17, 168-187.

  • Darling-Fisher, C. S. & Tiedje, L. B. (1990). "The impact of maternal employment characteristics on fathers’ participation in child care." Family Relations, 39, 20-26.

  • Darling-Fisher, C. S. & Kline, N. W. (1988). Measuring Eriksonian Developmental Theory in the Adult: The Modified Erikson's Psychosocial Stage Inventory (MEPSI). Psychological Reports. 62, 747-754.