Dr. Ashley Darcy-Mahoney

Ashley Darcy-Mahoney
Title:
Assistant Professor, Director of Infant Research (AND), Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
Office:
Foggy Bottom Campus
Address:
1919 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Suite 500
Washington, D.C. 20006
Phone:
202-994-5397
Email:
adarcymahoney@gwu.edu
Website:
talkwithmebaby.org

Ashley Darcy-Mahoney, PhD, NNP, FAAN, a neonatal nurse practitioner and researcher, has worked throughout her career to advance nursing research, education and practice, with a focus on neonatology, infant health and developmental pediatrics. Her research has led to the creation of programs that improve health and developmental outcomes for at-risk and preterm infants.

As the director of infant research at George Washington University’s Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute, Dr. Darcy-Mahoney advances the body of research in infant health and developmental outcomes in high-risk infants with a focus on understanding the early brain and development trajectories in this population. In addition to her work with the Institute, she conducts interdisciplinary research through “Talk With Me Baby” a multiagency initiative using the nursing workforce to educate parents in the importance of talking and engaging with their babies in early infancy. Her research seeks to improve early-childhood outcomes for these infants, most recently through language interventions that improve future literacy and cognitive development.

Dr. Darcy-Mahoney is a Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) Nurse Faculty Scholar and with her most recent grant from the RWJ Foundation, she is pursuing outcomes research in preterm infants by comparing developmental trajectories of children raised in a bilingual environment against those raised in a monolingual environment.

She is a fellow of the American Academy of Nurses, was named among the Top 25 Pediatric Nursing Professors by nursepractitionerschools.com. and has earned numerous awards, including the 2014 March of Dimes Nurse of the Year, Florida Association of Neonatal Nurses President’s Award and the Lillian Sholtis Brunner Award for Innovation from her alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania.

Current Research

Dr. Darcy Mahoney’s program of research has focused on neonatal and early childhood outcomes related to cognitive development, school performance, perinatal brain injury and autism spectrum disorders. Her aim is to explicate the relationships between biologic characteristics and the response to early environmental factors in the fetus and preterm infants. Dr. Darcy Mahoney’s research seeks to improve early-childhood outcomes for these infants, most recently through language interventions.

Dr. Darcy Mahoney has demonstrated adeptness for conducting interdisciplinary research. She has partnered with members of the Marcus Autism Center, the Georgia Department of Health and the Georgia Department of Education on a recent $1.5 million, three-year award from the United Way Foundation for a project entitled, “Talk With Me Baby.” This multiagency award is designed to use the nursing workforce to educate parents in the importance of talking and engaging with their babies in early infancy, a practice known to improve future literacy and cognitive development. Data suggest that babies born into families affected by risk factors such as generational poverty are exposed to 30 million fewer words throughout their early years than children from a professional families. Talk with Me Baby will attempt to reach beyond traditional barriers to let all parents know the vital role of regularly speaking to babies. This research has the power to touch the lives of millions of U.S. families from all walks of life.

With her most recent grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, she will pursue outcomes research in preterm infants in an innovative manner — by comparing developmental trajectories of children raised in a bilingual environment against those raised in a monolingual environment. She has been studying this question through traditional neuropsychological methods but will expand her research capacity and delve into the physiologic and anatomic understanding of executive function in children, specifically understanding cortical brain activation in children born prematurely. This work will serve a basis for examining school performance outcomes and possible early education interventions aimed at optimizing the potential for high-risk infants enabling her to remain steadfast in researching infants from all backgrounds and cultures —including infants from minority populations and lower socioeconomic statuses. Through both retrospective database analysis and prospective clinical studies, Dr. Darcy Mahoney hopes to identify at-risk neonates who may benefit from developmentally appropriate therapeutic options in early childhood.

Education

  • University of Pennsylvania, PhD in Nursing (2010)
  • University of Pennsylvania, Master of Science in Nursing - Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (2008)
  • Georgetown University, Bachelor of Science in Nursing (2006)
    • Certificate in International Health

Publications

  • Darcy Mahoney, A.E.; Minter, B., Higgins, M., Guo, Y., & Williams, B. , Head, L., Burch, K. (In Press). Probability of an Autism Diagnosis by Gestational Age. Newborn and Infant Nursing Reviews
  • Darcy-Mahoney, A. Minter, Higgins, Guo, Y., Head, L and Hirst, J. (In Press). Maternal and neonatal birth factors affecting the age of autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. Newborn and Infant Nursing Reviews
  • Parker, L., Darcy-Mahoney, A., Hoffman, J. (In Press). Barriers to Initiation of Breast Milk Expression Following Delivery of Very Low Birth Weight Infants. Journal of Obstetric Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nurses. 
  • Darcy Mahoney, AE, Head, L.M., Hallowell, S., Weldon, A., Stapel-Wax, J., B. (In press). Leveraging the skills of nurses and the power of Language Nutrition™ Advances in Neonatal Care
  • Darcy Mahoney, A. &  Baralt, M., Darcy Mahoney, A.E. (2016). Bilingualism and Executive Inhibitory Control in 4- and 5-Year-Old Preterm Born Children: A Pilot Study. Advances in Neonatal Care 16 (3) pp E3-E12
  • J.R. Weber, E.E. Ryherd, A. Darcy Mahoney, A.,  M. Rolfes, H. Cooper, and B. Cherven. (2016). Evaluating Hospital Quiet Time from Engineering, Medical, and Nursing Perspectives,” contributed paper presented at Spring 2016 Acoustical Society of America Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT. 
  • Head, L.M., Baralt, M., Darcy Mahoney, A.E. (2015). Bilingualism as a potential strategy to improve neurodevelopment in preterm infants: a review. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, S089-5245 (14): 00281000288. doi:10.1016/j.pedhc.2014.08.015. 
  • Zhang, C.; Holditch-Davis, D., Darcy-Mahoney, A. (2014). In Utero, Neonatal, and Family Social factors Predicting Poor School Outcome of Low Birth Weight Survivors, Advances in Neonatal Care 15(1): 38-47.  doi: 10.1097/ANC.0000000000000133. PMID: 25626981
  • Darcy Mahoney, A.E., Pinto-Martin, J., Hanlon, A. (2014). Home environment, brain injury, and school performance in low birth weight survivors. Maternal Child Nursing 39(1):18-25. doi: 10.1097/01.NMC.0000437535.99514.95
  • Darcy Mahoney, A.E., Jain, L. (2013). Respiratory Disorders in Moderately Preterm, Late Pre term, and Early Term Infants. Journal of Perinatology 40(4):665-678
  • Darcy Mahoney, A.E. Minter, B., Burch, K., Stapel-Wax, J. (2013). Autism Spectrum Disorders and Prematurity: A review across gestational age subgroups. Advances in Nursing Care, 13(4):247-251.
  • Zhang, C., Darcy Mahoney, A.E. & Pinto-Martin, J. (2013). Perinatal brain injury, visual motor function, and poor school outcome of regional low birth weight survivors at age nine. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 15-16: 2225-2232. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2012.04328  
  • Darcy Mahoney, A.E. & Pinto-Martin, J. (2012). State of the Science: Association Between Perinatal Brain Injury and School Performance in Very-Low-Birthweight infants. Newborn and Infant Nursing Reviews, 12(1): 33-39. PII: S1527-3369(11)00190-5
  • Darcy Mahoney, A.E., Hancock, L., Curley, M., Iorianni, A. (2012). Using High-Fidelity Simulation to Bridge Clinical and Classroom Learning in Undergraduate Pediatric Nursing, Nurse Education Today.  PMID: 22341995

Distinctions

  • Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (2015)
  • Lillian Sholtis Brunner Award for Innovation - University of Pennsylvania (2015)
  • Top 25 Pediatric Nursing Professors, as named by nursepractitionerschools.com (2014)
  • March of Dimes Nurse of the Year (2013)
  • President’s Award - Florida Association of Neonatal Nurses (2013)