Windy’s Story

Windy’s Story

Reaching Rural Nebraska With Heart Failure Research

Windy’s Story

I grew up on a dirt road in rural central Pennsylvania. Most of my childhood my father was a mechanic in a coal mine and my mother was the administrative assistant for a small borough near our home. We often visited the emergency department at our small community hospital for services I would later learn could be provided in a primary care setting. We had limited access to wellness services, mental health care and specialty care — and little knowledge of or access to clinical trials. Nearly two decades later, not much has changed in my rural hometown. These experiences influenced my goals and ultimately led me to a research career. 

As a nurse researcher at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing, I am privileged to contribute to the health and well-being of Nebraska communities as the principal investigator of the HEART Camp Connect clinical trial. Our team studies exercise interventions for adults with heart failure. In fact, our logo was inspired by one a participant who told us that our study provided the encouragement they needed to take the first step on their exercise journey and empowered them to take “two steps more!” 

I love rural health because of the grit and perseverance in rural communities that bounds from the hearts and souls of hometown residents. I am grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to raising rural community awareness of clinical trials. 

Clinical trials are not just for those seeking care at urban academic medical centers! 

I am hopeful that as my program of research grows, my team and I will help more rural adults with heart failure incorporate exercise into their daily lives and prioritize exercise as a long-term strategy to feel their best.

To learn more about clinical trials in Nebraska or to express interest in being part of a clinical trial, please visit the Great Plains IDeA Clinical and Translational Research Network Clinical Research Registry at

Windy Alonso, PhD, RN, FHFSA
Assistant Professor
University of Nebraska Medical Center – College of Nursing