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

Cindy Darling-Fisher portrait

Clinical Associate Professor Emerita
Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Programs
Department of Health Behavior and Biological Sciences
Room 2249 NURS1

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

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


  • Adolescent health
  • Teen-provider communication
  • Trauma-informed care
  • Oral health
  • 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. Current research focuses 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 provision of care sensitive to the needs of LGBTQ individuals as well as those experiencing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES).  Another major 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; psychosocial development in adults (the Modified Erikson's Psychosocial Stage Inventory (MEPSI) based on Ericksonian theory: and the TIC Grade: a tool for clients/patients to evaluate the trauma-informed care they receive.   Another focus is to increase understanding of oral health issues for primary care providers.

Current Research Grants and Programs

  • UMSN Janet Gatherer Boyles Fund and the Child/Adolescent Research Donation Fund. “CAsCAid Groundwork Project: Gathering Community Partners via an Instrument Testing Collaboration”. Darling-Fisher, C. (Co-I),): Boucher, N (Co-I).; Consultant, Seng, J.
  • 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).


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

  • Fellow, American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 2019-present
  • 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 Association 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

Notable Awards / Honors

  • Mae Edna Doyle Teacher of the Year Award 2021, University of Michigan School of Nursing
  • Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioner, 2019
  • 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

  • Boucher, N., Darling-Fisher, C. S., Sinko, L., Beck, D., Granner, J., & Seng, J. (2020). Psychometric evaluation of the TIC Grade, a self-report measure to assess youth perceptions of the quality of trauma-informed care they received. Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 1078390320953896.

  • Darling-Fisher, C. S. (2019). Application of the Modified Erikson Psychosocial Stage Inventory: 25 Years in Review. Western Journal of Nursing Research. 41 (3), March 2019

  • Kuzma, E. K., Pardee, M., & Darling-Fisher, C. (2019). LGBT Health: Creating Safe Spaces and Caring for Patients with Cultural Humility. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. 31(3):167-174. doi: 10.1097/JXX.0000000000000131

  • Li, Y., Cannon, L.M., Coolidge, E., Darling-Fisher, C. S, Pardee, M., & Kuzma, E. K., Current State of Trauma-Informed Education in the Health Sciences. (2019) Journal of Nursing Education.;58(2):93-101

  • Kuzma, E. K., Graziano, C., Shea, E., Schaller, F.V., Pardee, M., & Darling-Fisher, C. S. (2019). Improving LGBT health: Utilizing a standardized patient experience to educate APRN students. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. 2019 May 30. doi: 10.1097/JXX.0000000000000224

  • Darling-Fisher, C. S. (2018)  “Erikson's Stages of Psychosocial Development" In  B. Frey (Ed.) in The SAGE Encyclopedia of Educational Research, Measurement and Evaluation. February 2018. ISBN: 9781506326153

  • Darling-Fisher, C., Borgnakke, W., Haber, J. (2017). Oral Health and Diabetes. American Nurse Today, 12(8): 22–25.

  • Pardee, M., Kuzma, E., Boucher, N., Dahlem, G., Darling-Fisher, C. (2017). Current state of screening high-ACE youth and emerging adults in primary care. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. 29(12):716-724. doi: 10.1002/2327-6924.12531

  • 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 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.

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

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