Cheryl Westlake, PhD, RN, ACNS


Professor Emerita, School of Nursing

Dr. Westlake earned her BSN with a Critical Care specialization at CSULA and MN (cardiopulmonary clinical nurse specialist)/PhD at UCLA. She was a pre-doctoral fellow in quality-of-life and a post-doctoral fellow in exercise and heart-failure at UCLA. Dr. Westlake has nearly 35 years of experience in cardiac nursing as a critical care nurse and clinical nurse specialist. She has worked in the in- and out-patient settings at large county facilities, with the UCLA heart transplant team, and in community hospitals. For 20 years, Dr. Westlake has been a principal/co-principal investigator for interdisciplinary research studies on determinants (health literacy, learning style, self-care, spirituality) of heart-failure patient outcomes (quality of life, unplanned rehospitalizations, emergency department, and out-patient clinic visits and mortality). She has > 120 papers/presentations at local, state, national, and international conferences. Dr. Westlake serves as an American Heart Association, Heart Failure Society of America, American Association of Heart Failure Nurses, California Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists, and National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists member. Previously, she served as a member of the Heart Failure Society of America Guidelines Committee as the only nurse on the American College of Cardiology/ American Heart Association/Heart Failure Society of America heart-failure guidelines writing committee. She and was recently honored in the inaugural class of fellows in the Heart Failure Society of America and as a Fellow in the American Heart Association. Currently, she is a member of the Cardiovascular and Stoke Nursing CouncilNominating Committee and Chairs the Research Committee for the California Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists. Dr. Westlake was a Fulbright Scholar to Ecuador at the Universidad de San Francisco, Quito Schools of Medicine and Public Health. She conducted a research study of cardiovascular risk factors, health literacy, healthy heart behaviors knowledge, and barriers to/use of healthy heart behaviors and community resources in community dwelling adults with stage A/B heart failure. Dr. Westlake continues to lead student research groups to Ecuador. The APU School of Nursing recently established a Spirituality and Health Research Center. Dr. Westlake was one of the founding members who contributed to the development of the Center's development proposal. She conducts research about the spirituality of heart failure patients and nurses in the United States and Ecuador and spiritual care of nurses in the United States. Currently, she serves as a PhD program professor teaching research methods, statistics, spirituality and health, and dissertation seminars.


  • PhD, Nursing, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - 1998
  • MN, Nursing, UCLA - 1985
  • BSN, Nursing, California State University, Los Angeles - 1982


  • Board of Registered Nursing, State of California - Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Board of Registered Nursing State of California - Registered Nurse
  • Board of Registered Nursing, State of California - Public Health Nurse

Academic Area

  • School of Nursing


  • Spirituality and Health
  • Heart Failure
  • Research Methods/Statistics
  • Self-Care/Health Literacy

Courses Taught

  • UNRS 425 – Nursing Research
  • GNRS 703 – Spirituality and Health
  • GNRS 706 – Methods of Inquiry
  • GNRS 725 – Research Practicum
  • GNRS 798 – Continuous Doctoral Study
  • GNRS 799 – Independent Study