Darina Petrovsky, a former doctoral student in the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, has successfully defended her dissertation.
“The Relationship of Musical Abilities with Cognition and Neurodegenerative Pathology in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment” (Dissertation Chair: Dr. Pamela Cacchione, PhD, CRNP, BC, FAAN) addresses whether music may help older adult with cognitive impairment improve their well-being and cognition.
“I am especially grateful to my mentors, Drs. Roy Hamilton and Dawn Mechanic-Hamilton, and the staff at the Penn Memory Center, who were instrumental in helping me recruit for my dissertation study,” Dr. Petrovsky said.
Dr. Roy Hamilton, who was also on Petrovsky’s dissertation committee, said she deserves his “enthusiastic congratulations.”
“In the course of her dissertation research, I have had the pleasure of watching Darina grow tremendously with respect to her knowledge of music, cognition, and aging,” he said. “Moreover, I have witnessed first-hand her incredible industriousness, grit, and resourcefulness as she pursued a challenging and ultimately informative set of studies on the relationship between musical sophistication and cognitive performance in persons with mild cognitive impairment.”
Petrovsky also ran the Penn Memory Center Choral Group, which performed at the 2015 Research Partner Thank You Breakfast. In 2014, Petrovsky spoke about the choir on WRTI Radio (90.1 FM), discussing the benefits of singing as a group, including developing new friendships and reducing stress.
Petrovsky also thanks her study participants for their time. She plans to publish the results of her dissertation in peer-reviewed journals.
“I wish her the best of luck on her future endeavors and look forward to possibly working with her as a collaborator on future projects that have to do with the potentially positive impact of music on the aging brain,” said Hamilton.
Petrovsky was a National Hartford Centers of Gerontological Nursing Excellence 2014-2016 Patricia G. Archbold Hartford Predoctoral Scholar. To support her dissertation study, Dr. Petrovsky received funding from the Office of Nursing Research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and the NIH/NIA (F31AG055148).