University of Wisconsin
School of Medicine and Public Health

Program Faculty and Staff

Faculty

Director

Amy Kind, MD, PhD is an Associate Professor at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, founding Director of the UW Department of Medicine Health Services and Care Research Program and Director of the Madison VA Dementia and Cognitive Care Clinic. As a practicing geriatrician and a PhD health services/implementation scientist, she leads a robust research program focused on assessing and improving care for highly vulnerable and disadvantaged older adult populations, especially those with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and other dementias.

Dr. Kind strives to develop novel ways to eliminate health disparities through innovative research in health outcomes, health policy and clinical programs. She is a national leader in the field of neighborhood-level socioeconomic contextual disparities, especially as they relate to health outcomes and Medicare policy. The updated neighborhood disadvantage metric---the Area Deprivation Index (ADI)---incorporates poverty, education, housing and employment indicators; predicts disparity-related health outcomes; and is employed by multiple US States and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) through our provision. CMS is now using ADI as a novel eligibility criteria for one of its national disparities programs. Dr. Kind receives R01 funding to support this research from the NIH/NIMHD, and she serves as a technical expert on these issues for CMS.

Dr. Kind also leads efforts to determine the impact of timing and dosage of neighborhood disadvantage exposure on Alzheimer’s Disease, with particular interest in outcomes of AD-specific pathologic features, vascular burden and cognitive decline. Furthermore, she designs, leads and assesses systems interventions which improve care for high-risk older adult patients with AD, and which are particularly applicable in low-resource and safety-net hospital settings. Some of these programs have disseminated widely. One of these, the Coordinated-Transitional Care (C-TraC) Program, is a low-cost, mostly phone-based intervention designed to improve hospital-to-home transitions and has disseminated to multiple US hospitals. She has a strong track record of mentoring junior faculty and has formal NIH-supported training in mentorship, especially for mentees from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Christie Bartels, MD, MS, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine - Division of Rheumatology. She seeks to improve the cardiovascular health and survival of patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases and more broadly to improve how primary and specialty care providers communicate and collaborate. Her research program investigates how the collaboration between rheumatologists and primary care providers affects management of modifiable cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases. She is interested in using results from these and other research projects to design interventions to improve CVD health for patients with inflammatory diseases, and to improve care coordination for patients who receive both specialty and primary care. Dr. Bartels is a member of the HSCR Executive Committee.

Assistant Professor of Medicine

William Ehlenbach sees patients in the UW Pulmonary Medicine Clinic and manages critically ill patients in UW Hospital's ICUs. His research program aims to improve understanding of long-term outcomes among survivors of critical illness, particularly cognitive and other functional outcomes among older persons. His clinical and health services research program seeks to identify specific aspects of critical illnesses and the therapies used to treat them that may be associated with chronic cognitive impairment. Additional research interests include in-hospital cardiac arrest among older patients and the delivery of palliative care in the intensive care unit. Dr. Ehlenbach is a member of the HSCR Executive Committee.

Assistant Professor of Medicine (CHS)

Farah Acher Kaiksow, MD, MPP is an Assistant Professor (CHS) in the Department of Medicine and the Medical Director of Quality Improvement for the Division of Hospital Medicine. As a hospitalist she spends her clinical time taking care of patients admitted to both the UW and VA hospitals; she also provides clinical instruction to residents and medical students while at the VA. During her chief residency at Tulane University she was selected for the Humanism in Medicine Award by the Tulane University Medical School. Dr. Kaiksow also received the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award as a medical student at UW. She has a Masters in Public Policy from UCLA and her research interests include health disparities and how public and health policy can be used to reduce those disparities. Dr. Kaiksow is a member of the HSCR Executive Committee.

Nicole Rogus-Pulia is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Surgery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Additionally, she is the Director of the Swallowing and Salivary Bioscience Research Program in the Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital and Director of the multi-site Veteran Health Administration’s (VHA) Intensive Dysphagia Treatment (IDT) program. Dr. Rogus-Pulia leads a translational research program focused on dysphagia, or swallowing dysfunction, in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The goal of Dr. Rogus-Pulia’s work is to systematically identify and characterize factors underlying dysphagia in patients with AD and then to translate these findings into novel, evidence-based treatments for maintenance of quality of life and prevention of pneumonia onset. Dr. Rogus-Pulia’s specific research interests include the effects of intensive dysphagia rehabilitation, including tongue strengthening, on swallow function and health status; the feasibility of exercise-based approaches to dysphagia treatment for patients with early stage AD; and the impact of oral microbial profiles and saliva production on oral health and pneumonia risk in patients with dysphagia.

Associate Professor of Medicine

Nasia Safdar, MD, PhD serves in multiple clinical and research roles, including epidemiologist for UW Health, Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Medicine, and Associate Chief of Staff for Research at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital. Her research focuses on healthcare-associated infections, particularly in the acute care setting. Her well-funded research program has been supported by agencies such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and the National Institutes of Health, among others.  Dr. Safdar is a member of the HSCR Executive Committee.

Associate Professor of Medicine

Ann Sheehy, MD, MS is Chief of the Division of Hospital Medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. She has a background in academic medicine, with emphasis on diabetes screening practices and care of inpatients with hyperglycemia, as well as health care disparities and the effect of health care policy on patient care in the hospital. Dr. Sheehy is a member of the Society of Hospital Medicine Public Policy committee, and serves as Vice President of the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics (UWHC) Medical Board and is chair of the Credentials Committee. Dr. Sheehy is a two-time recipient of the Evans-Glassroth Department of Medicine Inpatient Teacher of the Year Award and has also been awarded the University of Wisconsin Internal Medicine Residency Professionalism Award. Her interests include health care policy and the impact on hospitalized patients and health disparities. Dr. Sheehy is a member of the HSCR Executive Committee.

Staff

Associate Research Specialist

Colleen is a member of the Neighborhoods and AD study conducting genealogical and public records research.

Health Geographer

Dr. Buckingham provides geographic perspective to the Health Services and Care Research Program, including developing and updating geographically based measures of socioeconomic contextual disadvantage and conducting geographic analysis relative to the program's research questions.

Research Assistant

Amanda provides data management and analytic support for HSCR projects.

Associate Research Specialist

Alex is a member of the Neighborhoods and AD study team focusing on residential histories for ADRC and WRAP participants. She also provides support to the HSCR program.

Program Manager

Carol oversees the administrative functions of the Health Services and Care Research Program, including personnel, finance, facilities, and research/contract compliance.

Network Administrator

Aldo oversees the management, maintenance and security of the server environment for the Health Services and Care Research Program, including user provisioning, access controls, software installation and updates.

Programmer/Analyst

Joe develops programming algorithms and manages datasets to support research.

Research Data Manager

Jinn-ing oversees the management, development and production of research data to ensure timely delivery of analyses and provide accurate reporting.

Associate Research Specialist

Aly is a member of the Neighborhoods and AD study conducting genealogical and public records research.

Assistant Scientist

Ryan Powell, PhD, MA, is a health services research scientist at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. His research interests are rooted in advancing research methods and analytic frameworks involved in health care research. Broadly, he is interested in improving the ways in which research is developed, interpreted, and used to inform key health care decisions. Within the Health Services and Care Research Program, his work is primarily concerned with providing evidence via well-designed, rigorous observational studies from healthcare databases in areas that include: comparative effectiveness and safety, health quality and outcomes research, and chronic disease epidemiology. Prior to joining UW, he conducted research at the VA’s Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research on many comparative effectiveness and pharmacoepidemiologic studies using data from the large national clinical population of Veterans served by the Veteran Health Administration.

Programmer Analyst

Fangfang develops programming algorithms and manipulates administrative datasets to support research.

ADRC Dementia Care Core Program Manager

Meghan oversees the operations of the new Dementia Care Research Core within the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, including managing recruitment and retention of participants into the Dementia Care Research Core group.

Research Specialist

Leigha coordinates the Neighborhoods and Alzheimer’s Disease studies and contributes additional research support for the Health Services and Care Research Program