Dr. Barbara Riegel's research focuses on the self-care of older adults. Self-care is defined broadly as a naturalistic decision-making process involving behaviors intended to maintain health and the management of symptoms when they occur. Adults perform a wide variety of health maintenance behaviors but most of her research in this area addresses medication adherence. In symptom management, her research focuses on specific symptoms (e.g. fatigue), the reasons underlying symptom perception (e.g. age-related changes in interoception), and the mismatch between symptoms and objective markers such as the hemodynamic profile.
Dr. Riegel has been faculty at the University of Pennsylvania for the past 15 years, coming to the east coast from San Diego, California where she was a Senior Clinical Researcher at Sharp HealthCare and a Professor at San Diego State University. She is known internationally for her work in heart failure self-care. She is currently a Visiting Professor at Australian Catholic University and has had similar appointments in Sweden and Italy.
Dr. Riegel has won numerous honors for her research, including the Distinguished Scientist Award from the American Heart Association and induction into the Sigma Theta Tau International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame.