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Photo of Thorlton, Janet

Janet Thorlton, PhD, MS, RN, CNE

Clinical Associate Professor

Department of Population Health Nursing Science



625 S. Wright St., MC 313, Suite 201, Champaign, IL 61820

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The goal of my research is to reduce preventable harm from substance misuse, abuse, and errors.  When substances are used in excess or are improperly combined with medications and/or illicit drugs, consumers risk illness, injury, and death. This topic is significant, as consumers of all ages are experiencing preventable events which are linked to unsafe product use and inadequate policies, despite cautionary evidence. Although the magnitude of health risk is uncertain because of limited and fragmented incidence data, reports of adverse effects have prompted the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to increase regulatory scrutiny and enhance health literacy through improved product labeling via the Safe Use Initiative.

My program of research has led to…

  1. Mining and analyzing large national datasets, using findings to raise awareness and thereby improve population health
  2. Promoting health literacy through increased consumer understanding and safety surrounding energy beverage product labeling.
  3. Reducing preventable harm by identifying potential product ingredient and medication risks, and disseminating this evidence to the public and clinicians
  4. Building health policy competency in graduate and undergraduate nursing programs, influencing nurses to work together to advocate and reduce preventable harm from substance misuse, abuse, and errors.

Selected Grants

Health Resources & Services Administration, INcreaSing Program DIveRsity for NursEs (INSPIRE), Co-Investigator

Heath Resources & Services Administration, Enhancing Nursing Education and Retention by Initiation of Care Delivered by Mobile Health Clinics (ENRICH) project, Co-Principal Investigator

Selected Publications

  • Rosenberger, K.D., Thorlton, J. (2021). Chapter 3: The First Prenatal Visit; Chapter 7: Postpartum Care in the Ambulatory Setting.  Guidelines for Nurse Practitioners in Ambulatory Settings (3rd ed)
  • Burke, S., Thorlton, J., & Abbas, H. (2021). Diabetes Care and Education: Rich Past, Challenging Present, Promising Future. In Cornell, C., Halstenson, C., & Miller, D. The art and science of diabetes care and education (5th ed.). Chicago: Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists.
  • Vortman, R., Thorlton, J. (2020) Empowering nurse executives to advocate for surgical smoke-free operating rooms. Nurse Leader Journal.
  • Thorlton, J. (2020). Caffeine in Pregnancy and Lactation: What’s New? Nutrition During Pregnancy and Lactation: Exploring New Evidence: Proceedings of a Workshop. January 2020, National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
  •  Thorlton, J. & Catlin, A.C. (2019, May). Data mining for adverse drug events: Impact on six learning styles. Computers, Informatics, Nursing, 37(5), 250-259.
  • Schultz, C. & Thorlton, J. (2018). Access to fresh fruits and vegetables in school lunches: A policy analysis. The Journal of School Nursing, 1-8. DOI: 10.1177/1059840518762517
  • Thorlton, J. & Collins, B. (2018). Underlying beliefs associated with college student consumption of energy beverages.  Western Journal of Nursing Research, 40(1), 5-19.  DOI: 10.1177/0193945916686961
  • Thorlton, J. & Colby, D. (2017). Guest Editorial:  Energy drink adverse effects: What is being done to protect public health?  Western Journal of Nursing Research, 1-2. DOI: 10.1177/0193945917731994
  • Burke, S., & Thorlton, J. (2017). Diabetes self-management education: The art and science of disease management. In Cornell, C., Halstenson, C., & Miller, D. The art and science of diabetes self-management education desk reference (4th ed.). Chicago: American Association of Diabetes Educators.
  • Thorlton, J., Ahmed, A., & Colby, D. (2016, May-Jun). Energy drinks: implications for the breastfeeding mother.  MCN: The American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing, 41(3), 179-185. DOI: 10.1097/NMC.0000000000000228
  • Thorlton, J., Colby, D., & Devine, P. (2014). What action should the U.S. Food & Drug Administration take to minimize adverse effects associated with energy drink consumption? American Journal of Public Health, 104(7), 1175-1180 [policy analysis]. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.301967
  • Thorlton, J., Park, C.G., & Hughes, T. (2014). Diet pills, powders, and liquids: Predictors of use by healthy weight females. Journal of School Nursing, 30(2), 129-35. DOI:10.1177/1059840513494844
  • Thorlton, J., McElmurry, B., Park, C.G., & Hughes, T. (2012). Adolescent performance enhancing substance use: Regional differences across the USA. Journal of Addictions Nursing, 23, 97-111.

Service to Community

Peer reviewer for:
• Computers, Informatics, Nursing
• Western Journal Nursing Research
• American Journal of Public Health
• Annals of Epidemiology
• Journal of Patient Safety
• Journal of School Nursing
• Pharmacy
• Journal of Advanced Nursing
• Journal of Behavioral Health
• Japan Journal of Nursing Science
• BMC Nutrition
• American Journal Preventive Medicine
• Public Health Nutrition
• Substance Abuse
• Canadian Journal Nsg Research
• BMJ Open Quality

Professional Leadership

Illinois Continuous Quality Improvement Community Group. Conference Planning Steering Committee; Evaluation & Data sub-committee (2019-2020), Illinois Continuous Quality Improvement Community Group

Nursing Informatics Workgroup (2019-present), Big 10 Alliance: Nursing Informatics Workgroup

Interprofessional Education & Collaborative Practice Steering Committee (2018-Present), University of Illinois at Chicago

Rural Health Sciences Education Program Research Committee, University of Illinois College of Medicine-Rockford

University of Illinois Informatics Institute Faculty Affiliate (2018-Present), University of Illinois

Illinois Expert Panel on Nursing Education Advisory Group, American Nurses Association

Notable Honors

2018, Nursing Informatics Practice Award, Summer Institute in Nursing Informatics: University of Maryland School of Nursing

2016, Teaching for Tomorrow Faculty Fellow Award, Purdue University

2013, Global Policy Research Institute Award, Purdue University

2009, Distinguished Poster Award, American Academy of Nursing

2020, College of Nursing Staff & Faculty Appreciation Award: Graduate Student Nursing Organization and Student Nurse Association, University of Illinois at Chicago


University of Illinois at Chicago-College of Nursing. Ph.D., Nursing, 2010
University of Illinois at Chicago-College of Nursing. M.S., Nursing Science, 2004
Lakeview College of Nursing. B.S.N., 2000
Lakeview Medical Center School of Nursing. Diploma in Nursing, 1981

Licensures and Certifications

  • National League for Nursing: Certified Nurse Educator
  • Illinois Registered Nurse License number: 041-207069
  • University of Illinois College of Nursing: Post-Master’s Teaching Certificate

Professional Memberships

  • American Nursing Informatics Association (Member #18136114)
  • Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society
  • American Organization of Nurse Executives
  • American Nurses Association-Illinois member
  • Sigma Theta Tau International: Alpha Lambda Chapter
  • Midwestern Nursing Research Society

Selected Presentations

  • Vortman, B. & Thorlton, J. (2021, Sep 1). Supporting Surgical Smoke Evacuation Legislation Through a Policy Analysis.  Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH) Webinar. University of California, Berkeley. School of Public Health. (Invited Speaker)
  • Thorlton, J, Borgers, F, Christison, A, Smith, SB (2021, Sep 30-Oct 1). Outcomes of Embedding Interprofessional Education into a College of Medicine Curriculum. [Conference Workshop]. American Medical Association ChangeMedEd® 2021 Virtual Conference (Virtual-Invited Speaker).
  • Thorlton, J. (2020, Jan. 30). Nutrition During Pregnancy & Lactation: Exploring New Evidence- A Workshop. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine. Washington, DC. Invited Speaker.
  • Schultz, C. & Thorlton, J. (2019, June) Fresh Fruits and Vegetables in School Lunches: A Policy Analysis. Journal of School Nursing. Pod Cast.
  • Thorlton, J. (2018, July). Z Codes: Capturing Social Determinants of Health Data in Electronic Health Records. 28th Summer Institute in Nursing Informatics, Baltimore, MD. Podium Presentation.
  • Thorlton, J. (2018, May). Nurse’s Week: “Inspire, Innovate, and Influence.” Danville, IL Veterans Administration Illiana Healthcare System. Invited Keynote Speaker.
  • Thorlton, J. (2018, March). Innovations for Enhancing Evidence Based Practice: Data Mining for Adverse Drug Events. 1 contact hour. Invited Keynote Speaker.
  • Thorlton, J. (2018, March). Performance Enhancing Substances. University of Mississippi College of Pharmacy. Invited speaker.
  • Thorlton, J. (2017, July). Sigma Theta Tau International-28th International Research Congress. Active Learning Strategies for Course Enhancement: Monitoring Adverse Event Reporting in Twitter. Dublin, Ireland. Podium Presentation.
  • Thorlton, J. (2017, May). Energy drink dangers.  Wharton: University of Pennsylvania.  Knowledge@Wharton live broadcast.  Invited guest expert.
  • Thorlton, J. (2017, April). Trends on College Campuses: Popular Performance Enhancing Substances. Purdue University College of Pharmacy. Invited speaker.
  • Thorlton, J. (2016, March 19). Midwestern Nursing Research Society 40th Annual Conference: Beliefs Driving Energy Drink Consumption in Male College Students and ROTC Cadets. Milwaukee, WI. Poster presentation.
  • Thorlton, J. (2016, February 26). Energy Drinks for Performance Enhancement. Purdue University College of Pharmacy. Invited speaker.
  • Thorlton, J. (2016, January 23). Nurses Leading the Way through Innovative Approaches in Health Policy Curricula. "Building Health Policy Competency in Graduate Nursing Programs" conference, Naples, FL.  Poster presentation.
  • Thorlton, J. (2015, July). Sigma Theta Tau International-26th International Nursing Research Congress, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Topic: Application of the Theory of Planned Behavior to Understand Energy Drink Consumption Behaviors in College Students. Podium presentation.
  • Thorlton, J. (2013, July). Sigma Theta Tau International-24th International Nursing Research Congress, Prague, Czech Republic. Topic: Predictors of Violent Behavior on School Property: Analysis of the 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data. Podium presentation.

Research Currently in Progress

  • Promoting health literacy through increased consumer understanding and safety surrounding energy beverage product labeling.
  • Psychometric analysis of Systems Thinking Scale