A Tradition of Translational Research
We believe that nursing is a powerful instrument for improving the human condition. Researchers at the UW–Madison School of Nursing investigate, innovate, collaborate across disciplinary boundaries, and translate research into effective solutions. Nursing practice in all forms and the health needs of communities inform our research, connecting research back to improving both the prevention of illness and injury and the delivery of care. The integration of research and practice fosters the discovery of knowledge and the development of tools and strategies to improve care across settings, including schools, acute care, and long-term care.
The Wisconsin Idea
Guided by the Wisconsin Idea and through partnerships across the state, the nation, and the globe, our research is relevant and responsive to real world problems.
Reducing Health Disparities
The School is committed to promoting equity and reducing health disparities. We conduct, support and promote equity-based research that explicitly addresses disparities in access, quality, and outcomes. We engage participants and partners from diverse communities across the state and the nation, particularly those most affected by issues of health equity.
Signature Research Areas
Faculty who conduct research in aging and care of older adults are committed to improving the health, well-being, and quality of life of older persons; supporting delivery of high-quality care for this population; and addressing the needs of caregivers.
Faculty who study reproductive health, children, and families conduct research designed to improve the health and well-being of individuals in the context of family-building and family systems.
Faculty research health disparities: preventable differences in health or health risks in which disadvantaged social groups—including people living in poverty, racial and ethnic minorities, women, and LGBTQ+ people—systematically experience worse health or greater health risks than more advantaged social groups.
Faculty conducting health systems and public health research use systems models and approaches to understand how the interactions between people and context influence the health of individuals and populations and study the delivery of health care and public health services.
Faculty conduct research to improve treatment and quality of life for people living with mental health and substance use concerns.
Linda D. Scott, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FNAP, FAAN, Dean and Professor, UW–Madison School of NursingWe research new and better ways to deliver health care, improve health, and achieve positive outcomes.
Researchers at the School of Nursing innovate, collaborate across disciplinary boundaries, and translate research into solutions that improve health care. Our faculty have a wide variety of research interests. Areas of particular strength and depth include: aging; chronic illness & symptom management; care of children & families; and health systems & care delivery.
The School of Nursing hosts postdoctoral fellowships for early career nurse scientists who seek to advance their programs of research through additional training and mentoring from experienced researchers. Areas of expertise among postdoctoral fellows align with priority research focus areas of the School.
Recent PhD student research topics include: frailty in older adults, infant feeding, exercise and weight management in adolescents, symptom clusters in cancer, sexual concerns in persons with chronic health conditions, pain management in patients with dementia, policy and health service delivery in long-term and skilled nursing care settings, nursing staff factors and quality health outcomes, and health and well-being of minority populations.
Funded research projects 2019-2020
5-year average annual research funding received
New proposals submitted for funding 2019-2020
Research, Leadership & Impact
This video series provides an opportunity for faculty and doctoral students to share initiatives aimed at improving health through research, education, and practice.
Annual Littlefield lectures highlight nurse leaders and reflect the complexity of healthcare, changing and aging populations, scientific discoveries, innovations, and more.
Faculty partner with health systems and communities to research better ways to deliver health care, improve nursing education, prepare health profession teams, and improve the quality of life in Wisconsin and beyond.
“If we can have a better understanding of the real symptom experiences [of young cancer patients], then we can provide families what they need to know to make decisions about treatment.”Kitty Montgomery, PhD, RN, PCNS-BC, CPHON, Assistant Professor, UW–Madison School of Nursing
Grants & Recognition
Dr. Madelyne Greene was selected to be a UW BIRCWH scholar (Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health).
Dr. Linsey Steege, PhD, was awarded a grant to support the study Sleep and Fatigue during Covid-19 in Health Care Workers (SAFE-CARE study 2).
Dr. Maichou Lor, PhD, RN, was awarded a Baldwin grant to support the study Partnering with the Hmong Community to Build Better Medical Translation Tools and Preserve Hmong Narratives to Reduce Health Disparities.
Dr. Kitty Montgomery, PhD, RN, PCNS-BC, CPHON, was awarded a grant to support A Feasibility Study Exploring Discordance Between Child and Parent Symptom Reports During Cancer Treatment.
Dr. Madelyne Greene, PhD, RN, was awarded a grant to support the study Intersex Prevalence and Clinical Response.
Dr. Megan Miller, postdoctoral fellow, has received a Research Award from the American Holistic Nurses Association.
- More Recent Recognition
Research & Researcher News
The American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR), a national non-profit organization whose mission is to support and advance healthy aging through biomedical research, recognized the outstanding contributions of Andrea Gilmore-Bykovskyi, PhD, RN, with the 2021 Terrie Fox Wetle Rising Star Award in Health Services and Aging Research.
The pressures of the pandemic, which made nurses more visible than ever, are expected to make burnout worse. Nurses in the field and scholars in the School of Nursing are pushing for policy reforms, researching the root causes and effects of the critical issues facing the profession, and implementing new evidence-based tools to improve working conditions and patient outcomes.
Under the advisement of Lisa Bratzke ’88, MS’92, PhD, RN, ANP-BC, FAHA, Nicole Thomas is using her PhD program to develop research in the burgeoning field of epigenetics and the intergenerational transmission of trauma.
A new center at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health seeks to examine how a person’s environment and social conditions impact their health down to the molecular level. The leadership team, all women, includes School of Nursing Asst. Professor, Andrea Gilmore- Bykovskyi, PhD, RN.
The pandemic has multiplied the challenges for long-term care. The research of Tonya Roberts, PhD, RN, Asst. Professor, School of Nursing, sheds light on those challenges and strategies that long-term care staff have employed to combat social isolation.
- More Stories About Research & Innovation
“I have witnessed firsthand in my clinical practice the impact of mental health disparities on minority communities. I believe my life purpose is to help people understand, appreciate, and engage in their healthiest life, physically and mentally.”Earlise Ward, PhD, Professor, UW–Madison School of Nursing and Faculty Director, Morgridge Center for Public Service
Resources for Researchers
Research Resources at the UW–Madison
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All of Us
All of Us is a research program from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). UW–Madison is a proud partner of the All of Us Research Program and is a member of the All of Us, Wisconsin consortium. All of Us seeks one million or more people from across the U.S. to help speed up medical research. Researchers can access All of Us health data to conduct studies.
American Family Data Science Institute
Established in July 2019, the American Family Insurance Data Science Institute (DSI) performs cutting-edge research in the fundamentals of data science and catalyzes the translation of this research into practice to advance scientific discovery in collaboration with researchers across campus, and beyond. Developing inclusive, interdisciplinary partnerships that further the social good is at the heart of what DSI does.
As one of the campus research cores, the Biotechnology Center provides standard as well as custom services available to campus researchers at the UWBC facility. Services include: DNA sequencing, genome editing for animal models, a gene expression center and access to mass spectrometry.
Center for Demography of Health and Aging
The Center for Demography of Health and Aging (CDHA) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison is one of twelve demography of aging centers funded by the National Institute on Aging (P30 AG017266). Through the integration of research, training, and teaching, CDHA aims to increase the understanding of behavioral processes related to health and aging. The interdisciplinary research program at CDHA is designed to create links between social demography, biomedical, and epidemiological research on health and aging.
Collaborative Center for Health Equity
The Collaborative Center for Health Equity (CCHE) connects partners from the state’s rural, urban, and tribal communities with university faculty, staff, and students to advance long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships in teaching, research, and service initiatives to improve health equity in underserved communities of Wisconsin.
Health Innovations Program
The mission of the Health Innovations Program (HIP) is to integrate health systems research with clinical practice and community programs. HIP supports the development and dissemination of tools for evidence-based health system and healthcare change through its website, HIPxChange. On HIPxChange, you’ll find tools to improve patient and family engagement, transitions in care, mental health, cancer screening and care, research tools, and more.
Institute for Clinical and Translational Research
The Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR) has transformed the culture of UW–Madison from silos to integration. Researchers from Medicine and Public Health, Nursing, Veterinary Medicine, Pharmacy, Engineering and across the campus collaborate extensively and benefit from a strong network of resources and opportunities.
Institute for Research on Poverty
The Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) researches the causes and consequences of poverty and inequality in the United States. We bring together social scientists from across research disciplines such as economics, sociology, social work, and demography. Maintained by IRP and its partners, the Wisconsin Administrative Data Core (WADC) is a collaboration between UW researchers and its Wisconsin state agency partners, supporting research and evaluation across multiple programs and outcomes.
Institute on Aging
The Institute on Aging is a cutting-edge research center conducting work that emphasizes the potential and strengths of individuals as they age; improves understanding of pathways to disease and impairments of growing older; and advances knowledge of resilience in the face of challenge and adversity for aging adults.
Morgridge Center for Public Service
The Morgridge Center for Public Service connects University of Wisconsin–Madison students, staff, and faculty to local and global communities to build partnerships and solve critical issues through service and learning.
Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education
The over-arching goal of the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education (OVCRGE) is to address the complex challenges of the university’s broad research enterprise and support the needs of graduate education across campus, in a thoughtful and collaborative manner, all while providing strong leadership and clear vision in the constant pursuit of research and graduate education excellence. The OVCRGE oversees about $1.3 billion in annual research expenditures, a figure that puts UW–Madison among the top 10 in the nation among universities for volume of research.
Population Health Institute
The UW Population Health Institute advances health and well-being for all by developing and evaluating interventions and promoting evidence-based approaches to policy and practice at the local, state, and national levels. The Institute works across the full spectrum of factors that contribute to health.
Research Cores Directory
The Research Cores Directory is a compendium of shared research equipment and services, including data for 120+ core units, 500+ shared instruments and resources, and 450+ professional services. The research cores include services and consulting relevant to research in life sciences, physical sciences, social sciences, and the humanities.
UW Carbone Cancer Center
The scientific mission of the UW Carbone Cancer Center (UWCCC) is organized around six scientific programs. UWCCC programs encompass laboratory research, clinical research, population sciences and advanced research training. Shared resources provide researchers with a wide variety of services to ensure that their science is supported by state-of-the-art technology and techniques. Our shared resources are designed to support multidisciplinary research and unite physicians and scientists to speed the transfer of science to patients.
Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute
The Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute (WAI) is home of the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention (WRAP) study, one of the world’s largest and longest running studies of individuals at risk for Alzheimer’s disease. WRAP is comprised of over 1,600 individuals, followed over time, including biological, health and lifestyle factors that may affect the disease.
Wisconsin Institute for Discovery
The Wisconsin Institute for Discovery is a research institute that draws on the scientific excellence of the University of Wisconsin–Madison and that specializes in making science better, uniting world-class faculty from dozens of UW departments. It maximizes potential by targeting expertise in inherently interdisciplinary areas like data science, precision medicine, complex systems, and emerging technologies.
Research Resources at the School of Nursing
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Center for Aging Research and Education
The Center for Aging Research and Education (CARE) promotes timely and relevant research focused on care of older adults by promoting inter-professional collaboration and community engagement to strengthen and inform nursing research and to contribute towards evidence-based practice.
Community Advisors on Research Design and Strategies
Community Advisors on Research Design and Strategies (CARDS) is a community-based team of advisors who offer researchers candid feedback on recruitment materials and strategies, data collection approaches, and engagement with research participants. Since 2010, over 200 CARDS meetings have been held at local community centers between researchers and the CARDS® , advisory group.
Cooper Hall, home to the School of Nursing, offers many research resources:
- Exercise Laboratory
Cooper Hall houses a fully-equipped exercise laboratory managed by the department of kinesiology, which also serves as a local NIH All of Us data collection site.
- Simulated Home Environment
The simulated home environment recreates a fully functional one-bedroom apartment where researchers can simulate or test care delivery in the setting that mimics patients’ home-recovery environment. It consists of a replica apartment that introduces students to the latest in consumer-facing health-management technology and provides the School of Nursing with a valuable toolkit for investigating and studying patient recovery. The simulated home environment is equipped with cameras and a state-of-the-art video-recording system, and its raised floor provides space for motion and pressure sensors.
- Interaction Laboratory
Cooper Hall’s Interaction Laboratory offers an informal living-room-style research space where researchers can observe the behavior and activities of occupants under varying conditions. Installed cameras allow video capture and live feed in the adjacent viewing rooms. A second, smaller observation room offers similar facilities for participant observation.
- Viewing Rooms
The two viewing rooms allow School of Nursing researchers and clinicians to observe and monitor the interaction laboratory spaces. Each viewing room is equipped with flat-panel video displays to view video feed, and push-button microphones allow researchers to communicate with participants.
Nursing Research and Sponsored Programs
The NRSP Office in the School of Nursing is dedicated to supporting research through an array of services. Under the leadership of the associate dean for research, staff members provide expert assistance to graduate students, faculty, and staff in identifying funding opportunities, developing grant proposals, coordinating mock reviews, submitting materials, and managing post-award processes. Staff serve as liaisons between the university’s central research offices and School of Nursing researchers. NRSP also serves as an informational hub for research compliance issues and processes various types of agreements associated with research administration.
Research Design and Statistics Unit
The Research Design & Statistics Unit (RDSU) within the NRSP Office provides consultation and support around issues of research design, data analysis, and manuscript preparation. Statisticians are available to provide support for both faculty and graduate students as they prepare and implement their research proposals. The RDSU offers online training in statistical software packages commonly used by School of Nursing researchers. It also offers access to a variety of specialized data, data analysis methods, and methodological papers.
Symptom & Self-Management Science Research Interest Group
Nurse scientists lead inquiry into the influence of biopsychosocial factors on symptoms and illness self-management, which provides essential knowledge for precision health, ensuring appropriate and effective health care for all. The group is open to any faculty members or students who are interested in gaining expertise in symptom and self-management science, including the use of biomarkers and genomic data in nursing research.
Wisconsin Network for Research Support
The WINRS team provides researchers with effective and innovative strategies for engaging stakeholders and study participants—especially those from underrepresented populations.
The Wisconsin Public Health Research Network
WPHRN is a group of health department leaders and researchers who support and advance public health systems and services research that is driven by the needs and interests of health departments in Wisconsin.