Maryalice Jordan-Marsh

Associate Professor
Contact Information
University Park
Department of Study 
Research Interest 
Behavioral Health
PhD, University of California, Los Angeles
MSN, California State University, Long Beach
MS, University of Oregon
BSN, University of Wisconsin, Madison

MARYALICE JORDAN-MARSH, a nurse psychologist, joined in 2004. Her research, practice and teaching focus on educating and empowering people about health issues, and her work has been published in several areas of health care and health technology, including health issues for older adults, pain management, breast cancer, interdisciplinary collaboration, organizational change, and innovative curriculum designs for teaching gerontology.

Jordan-Marsh's current interest lies in how interactive media and access to technology affect health care decisions and behaviors. This year she is building on her work in health technology literacy to create patient-centered assessment tools using interactive media, creating health behavior-specific games and promoting development of health technology skills for consumers and health professionals. This focus on participatory e-health will explore opportunities powered by mobile devices for transforming health systems and practices across the globe. Along with colleagues in Brazil and Hong Kong, she is working on a project to address three e-health capacity components: empowering partnerships among health professionals, patients and community leaders; enhancing health literacy orientations, skills and device engagement; and creating habits of attending to the socioecological impact of technology in a health context. A key outcome of this study would be a product that uses interactive, multi-media features targeted to specific audiences.

Jordan-Marsh is also currently working with faculty from the Keck School of Medicine of USC to develop an interactive tablet application that would provide a comprehensive assessment of the decision needs of young people with a cancer diagnosis. Her other current research projects include an evaluation of the safety and effectiveness of a simulation game for the mental health of military family members following deployment.

She is also working with a colleague at the USC School of Cinematic Arts Creative Media and Behavioral Health Center on digital game applications that encourage exercise in long-time wheelchair users. The game design provides a narrative story line requiring interaction with a Kinect motion sensor device to advance the story when upper body exercises are performed correctly. This same team is also developing an interactive game to teach people how to use a digital artificial hand to increase the likelihood of the adoption of real artificial limb technology. This group also received a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant to develop a web-based game to encourage adults to draw on their social network to increase their likelihood of doing physical exercise. The Wellness Partners game, developed by the School of Cinematic Arts, the Keck School of Medicine and the School of Social Work, probed the effectiveness of games and online social networks to promote lifestyle changes that result in greater physical activity.

Previously, Jordan-Marsh was the expert health faculty member for a course in the School of Cinematic Arts where students and faculty across schools and departments at USC collaborated to create a game for children to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Students were awarded the Grand Prize and the GE Healthymagination Student Award in First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign.

She received the American Journal of Nursing’s Book of the Year Award for Health Technology Literacy: A Transdisciplinary Framework for Consumer-Oriented Practice. The award honors excellence in book publishing in the nursing field. Jordan-Marsh received her award in the category of information technology, which recognizes a book that explores nursing’s role and the use of electronic media, computer systems, social media or online media. Health Technology Literacy details a patient-centered health care model with consumers, i.e., the public, informing and supporting their own health care decisions through technology, such as the Internet, social networking, smart phones and video games. Jordan-Marsh helps consumers and health care professionals navigate these options by translating theory and health-related data into practical knowledge so that it becomes relevant in making important life decisions.

In addition to her research, Jordan-Marsh serves on the executive council of the USC Center for Interactive Media Technologies in Healthcare organized by the Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy Department and works with the USC Health Systems Improvement Collaborative, which falls under the USC Research Collaboration Fund. She is also a senior scholar with the steering committee of the School of Cinematic Arts Creative Media and Behavioral Health Center and the School of Social Work Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families. She also has a courtesy appointment in the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Jordan-Marsh originally came to USC in 1995 as a faculty member within the former Department of Nursing, where she organized and served as director of the USC Intergenerational Health Research Team. This project, involving older adults and community collaboration, led to the funding of a Cybercafé based in a senior center. She currently teaches classes in interactive media, health technology, health policy and research/evaluation methods.

Video game development isn’t typical of social work, but then again, Dr. Maryalice Jordan-Marsh isn’t a typical social worker. In fact, she’s a nurse psychologist whose forward-thinking interest in technology has distinguished her in a field traditionally slow to embrace change.

Transitioning to social work after the Department of Nursing closed in 2004, she has since spearheaded innovative efforts, including video game design, to develop intervention strategies in the areas of nutrition, exercise and personal health management. Her long-standing goal is to empower the individual to make behavioral changes and personal health decisions, and views technology as critical to the process.

As a nursing student at the University of Wisconsin, Jordan-Marsh developed an interest in the social ecological perspective, a holistic framework that takes into account the individual as well as the social elements in their environment. She received her PhD at UCLA, where she became a professor of primary ambulatory care, and later served as director of nursing research and quality improvement at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where she became known for child pain management and interdisciplinary hospital care.

Jordan-Marsh’s experience working with a children-guided intervention program for adults at UCLA sparked her interest in intergenerational work, and at USC she spearheaded the establishment of an Internet café at the St. Barnabas Senior Center, allowing students and older adults to bond over common interests in technology. The USC Davis School of Gerontology invited her to participate in the development of gero-engineering, a cross-disciplinary effort to create technologies specifically targeting older adults.

Jordan-Marsh has since formed a research partnership with Marientina Gotsis, a professor in the USC School of Cinematic Arts, to explore the ways in which interactive digital games can be designed to improve health behaviors and outcomes. One student-designed game that examines the effectiveness of online networks and mobile games in promoting physical lifestyle changes won Michelle Obama’s Healthy App competition and the GE Healthy Imagination Prize. Jordan-Marsh believes the success of these games depends on the creation of a fantasy world whose narrative is driven by real-life changes in behavior. And while she doesn’t believe technology can replace face-to-face interaction, she feels it can add meaning to the experience.

Jordan-Marsh teaches information management, human behavior, research and a course in interactive media. She encourages students who are interested in researching or developing health-related games to participate in her cutting-edge projects.

Awards and Distinction
Distinguished Faculty Service Award, Academic Senate, University of Southern California (2012)
Book of the Year, American Journal of Nursing (2012)
Distinguished Achievement Award, University of Wisconsin School of Nursing Alumni Association (2011)
GE Healthymagination Student Award and Grand Prize in Apps for the game Trainer, Healthy Apps USDA Competition in Michelle Obama’s Lets Move campaign (2010)
Top USC campaign leader with Nataly Manzo, USC Good Neighbor Fund (2005)
Invited Participant, National Institute of Aging: National Institutes of Health and American Psychological Association Institute for Research on Psychology of Aging (2002-2003)
Bullough Award for Excellence in Research, Nursing, and Education, USC Department of Nursing (2002)
Fellow, American Academy of Nursing (1996)
Outstanding Researcher Award, Gamma Tau Chapter, Sigma Theta Tau (1994)
Outstanding Nursing Achievement Nominee, Nurse Recognition Committee, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (1992)
Excellence in Nursing Research/Education, Organization of Nurse Executives, California (1992)
Innovation Award, Department of Health Services, Los Angeles County (1991)
Abstract Nominated for ONS/Schering: Excellence in Cancer Nursing Award, with R. Crane (1989-1990)
Outstanding Faculty Member, UCLA Graduate Student Nursing Association (1984-1985)
Outstanding Senior, University of Wisconsin School of Nursing (1968)
More awards
Selected Publications

Jordan-Marsh, M. & Bartlett, B. (2011). Health technology literacy: A transdisciplinary framework for consumer oriented practice. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett.

Werner, J., Carlson, M. & Jordan-Marsh, M. (2011). Predictors of Computer Use in Community-Dwelling, Ethnically Diverse Older Adults. Human Factors, 53(5), 431-447.

Clark, F.A., Jackson, J.M., Carlson, M.E., Chou, C., Cherry, B.J., Jordan-Marsh, M., Knight, B.G., Mandel, D., Blanchard, J., Granger, D.A., Wilcox, R.R., Lai, M.Y., White, B., Hay, J., Lam, C., Marterella, A. & Azen, S.P. (2011). Effectiveness of a lifestyle intervention in promoting the well-being of independently living older people: results of the Well Elderly 2 Randomised Controlled Trial. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Pan, S. & Jordan-Marsh, M. (2010). Internet use intention and adoption among Chinese older adults: From the expanded technology acceptance model perspective. Computers in Human Behavior, 26(5), 1111-1119.

Jung, Y., Peng, W., Meghan, M., Jin, S., Jordan-Marsh, M., McLaughlin, M., Albright, J., Cody, M., Silverstein, M., Wilcox, R.R., Lai, M.Y., White, B.A., Hay, J.W., Lam, C., Marterella, A. & Azen, S.P. (2010). Barriers to crossing the digital divide. Educational Gerontology, 36(3), 193-212.

Jackson, J.M., Mandel, D., Blanchard, J., Carlson, M.E., Cherry, B.J., Azen, S.P., Chon, C.P., Jordan-Marsh, M., Forman, T., White, B.A., Granger, D., Knight, B.G. & Clark, F.A. (2009). Confronting challenges in intervention research with ethnically diverse older adults: The USC Well Elderly II Trial.Clinical Trials, 6, 90-101.

Cody, M.J., Jordan-Marsh, M., Silverstein, M.D., Chin, S.Y., Garcia, R., Chou, C.P., Jordan-Marsh, M., Forman, T., White, B.A., Granger, D., Knight, B.G. & Clark, F.A. (2008). SF-36 Health Survey: Issues in a trial for older immigrants. Research on Social Work Practice (18), 55-65.

Jordan-Marsh, M., Cody, M., Silverstein, M., Chin, S. & Garcia, R. (2008). SF-36 Health Survey: Issues in a trial for older immigrants. Research in Social Work Practice, 18, 55-65.

Chi, I., Jordan-Marsh, M., Zhang, M. & Garcia, R. (2006). Taichi for depression. Registration of systematic review protocol for Cochrane Collaboration.

Jordan-Marsh, M., McLaughlin, M., Chi, I. & Brown, C. (2006). St. Barnabas Cyber Café Evaluation Report 2004-2005. Los Angeles, CA: University of Southern California, School of Social Work and Annenberg School of Communication.

Jordan-Marsh, M., Hubbard, J., Watson, R., Hall, R., Miller, P., Mohan, O., Albright, J., Silverstein, M. & Associates, A. (2004). A socioecological approach to pain management: Do I have to Cry. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 19(3), 193-203.

Christopherson, T., Jordan-Marsh, M., Hall, R., Miller, P. & Mohan, O. (2004). Culture and risk-taking adolescent behaviors. MCN, The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing, 29(2), 100-105.

Jordan-Marsh, M. & Harden, T. (2004). Fictive kin: Friends as family supporting older adults as they age. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 31(2), 25-31.

Pang, E.C., Silverstein, M.D. & Jordan-Marsh, M. (2003). Health-seeking behaviors of elderly Chinese Americans: shifts in expectations. The Gerontologist (43), 864-874.

Pang, E., Jordan-Marsh, M., Silverstein, M. & Cody, M. (2003). Health-seeking behaviors of elderly Chinese Americans: Shifts in expectations. The Gerontologist, 43(6), 864-874.

Jordan-Marsh, M., Silverstein, M. & Cody, M. (2002). The SF-36 quality of life instrument: Updates and strategies for critical care research. Critical Care Nurse, 22(6), 35-43.