University of South Florida


Sandra Morgan evaluates research study participant.

Breath of fresh air: PhD student's mission to improve post-COVID-19 respiratory health

Four years after the start of the coronavirus pandemic, individuals are still suffering from the lasting effects of the virus. PhD student, Sandra Morgan is dedicated to researching COVID-19's effects on the respiratory system and exploring ways for individuals to strengthen it.

Sandra Morgan explains exercise to study participant.

Before starting at the USF College of Nursing, Morgan worked in critical care nursing and executive leadership roles. For nearly a decade, she served as the chief nursing officer at HCA Florida. Morgan also maintained various leadership positions at a critical illness recovery hospital. While becoming a researcher was always on her bucket list, observing patients in acute and post-acute settings struggle with the negative effects of COVID-19 prompted her to start the PhD program at USF.

“The pandemic really changed my perspective. It made me feel like now is the time,” says Morgan. “I thought to myself, maybe there is something more that I can do to improve patient care.”

Upon entering the PhD program, Morgan had the opportunity to participate in a COVID-19 respiratory study with Constance Visovsky, PhD, RN, ACNP, FAAN, as her faculty advisor. She found the experience inspiring, and with the help of Dr. Visovsky and others, Morgan created the protocol that serves as the foundation of her current study.

In her 12-week study, participants complete inspiratory and expiratory exercises aimed at improving weakness in the breathing muscles caused by the COVID-19 virus. Participants have seen improvements in their respiratory systems, and Morgan has noted interest from other communities, such as runners, seeking to improve their breathing ability.

Morgan’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation Research Study for individuals recovering from COVID-19 is still seeking participants.

Sandra Morgan evaluates her research study participant's walk.

- Age 18 or older
- Self-reported history of Covid-19
- Able to walk independently
- Short of breath

Participants will receive a $25 gift certificate to Publix upon completing six- and twelve-week milestones.

For more information, reach out to Sandra Morgan at

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