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Shanina Knighton, PhD, RN, is a clinical nurse scientist and Infection Peventionist leading influential research on patient and consumer hand hygiene from her hometown, Cleveland, Ohio. An often-cited source in professional publications for her expertise in clinical innovation, she is committed to studying and spreading information that can save lives.


Knighton, known as Dr. Nina, earned her doctorate from Case Western Reserve University in 2017 and her BSN at Ohio University in 2012. Her nursing experience began as a first-generation student at Cleveland Clinic-Huron Rd School of Nursing. Her career includes seven years in a medical-surgical and post-operative surgical unit at Cleveland VA Medical Center. Having real-life and medical-device development experience has enhanced her perspective in her position as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Case since 2016.  Later in 2019, she was accepted as a KL2 Scholar at Case.


As an infection prevention and hand hygiene expert before the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Nina’s dissertation research aimed to create an easier way for older patients to clean their hands. The research suggests that patient hand hygiene could be improved by hearing a verbal reminder. In 2014, she won third place in the Galen-Brien Vision-Holder Biomedical Engineering Business Plan Competition for her proposal. Fast forward to May 2020, Dr. Nina was a recipient of a UL1 Pilot Award from NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences to help develop the device and advocacy system.


Shanina continues to add to her lengthy list of accomplishments which include several funded research grants, fellowships, and invitations to speak regarding infection prevention. Her latest accolade: the 2020 Midwest Nursing Research Society’s New Investigator Award.


Dedicated to education, Dr. Nina continuously shares information with mentees and the public about hand hygiene as an infection deterrent. Her social media pages are devoted to community enrichment, education, and best practices on infection prevention as well. Her bedside hand-sanitizing device for seniors is currently in development.  It’s aim: to prevent infection issues with bedbound patients that connect directly to the inability to adequately wash or sanitize their hands.


Truly, Dr. Nina is a champion in the arena of infection prevention. She’s cared for patients on the frontlines and behind the scenes for over a decade, and her research, innovation and community endeavors will positively impact patient care for years to come.   

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