University of Rochester

School of Nursing Professor, Expert in Family Care for Hospitalized Elders, Dies

October 22, 2006

Hong Li, the Loretta C. Ford Professor of Nursing and associate professor of nursing, died Sunday, October 15, at age 47 after a courageous battle with cancer.

In her eight years at the School of Nursing, Li was known as a respected teacher and nationally recognized researcher in the field of family care for frail older adults. She received a number of research awards and honors, including the highly competitive James G. Zimmer New Investigator Award from the American Public Health Association and, most recently, the Distinguished Nurse Researcher Award from the Foundation of the New York State Nurses Association.

Li is remembered for the international scope of her research. She never forgot her heritage. A 1978 School of Nursing graduate from Beijing Medical University, Beijing, People's Republic of China, she went on to earn B.S. (1988), M.S. (1990), and Ph.D. (1996) degrees from the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon.

Her doctoral dissertation is the first based on nursing research to be completed by a native of mainland China and recorded in the National Library of China in Beijing. Li completed her postdoctoral work at Oregon and joined the School of Nursing faculty in 1998, where she came full circle with funded research projects that brought her geriatric nursing research expertise back to her homeland. Within this global crosscultural context, and in collaboration with nurses in Beijing, she conducted research in China and the United States aimed at improving patient outcomes by means of teaching and empowering families to assist in the recovery of ill hospitalized elders.

The research-based CARE intervention that she developed is an innovative, original contribution to the health care of older adults that Li was planning to continue testing in Iran and other countries. Her outcomes assessment instrument also is of significant interest to other researchers, who have sought permission to apply it to other patient populations. With Li's approval, the Center for Research and Evidence-Based Practice in the School of Nursing will support the completion and dissemination of her unfinished work, with Li as author; copyright the instrument under her name; and take responsibility for granting permission and access to the research data set in order to assure continuation of Li's rich research legacy.

In addition to being a passionately dedicated researcher, Li is remembered as a cherished wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and colleague. She is survived by her father, Lu Li; mother, Manying Xie; husband, Ping Sun; son, Henry Sun; and many dear friends and associates.

Calling hours were held on October 19 followed by a memorial service celebrated in the Rochester Chinese Christian Church on October 21. Contributions to the Henry Sun Educational Fund are being accepted c/o Miller Funeral Homes, Inc., 3325 Winton Road South, Rochester, New York 14623. An announcement of School of Nursing tributes in memoriam will be forthcoming.