University of Wisconsin
School of Medicine and Public Health

Program Faculty and Staff



Amy Kind:  Amy Kind, MD, PhD is a Professor in the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, founding Director of the UW SMPH Center for Health Disparities Research, Director of the UW Department of Medicine Health Services and Care Research Program, and Director of the Madison VA Dementia and Cognitive Care Clinic.  She is one of the few physicians in the country with PhD training in population health, an active research laboratory in health disparities and geo-analytics, clinical training in geriatrics and memory disorders, and a translational research agenda focused on vulnerable older adult populations with Alzheimer’s Disease

She leads a robust research program focused on health equity, the social determinants of health, neighborhood disadvantage and Alzheimer’s Disease. Dr. Kind’s work has fundamentally changed the way many conceptualize health disparities, by catalyzing a broader focus of policy, research, and clinical delivery from the single individual to the neighborhood context. With her unique skills, Dr. Kind developed the Neighborhood Atlas (, a free first-of-its-kind on-line tool that breaks down socioeconomic factors for every neighborhood in the US including Puerto Rico. Her Atlas data have already found widespread application including in the US House of Representatives, NIH, CDC, VA, HHS, AARP, health systems, and industry.

Her work has had far-reaching policy impact on a national and global scale, has been actively promoted by the NIH and published in top journals including NEJM. To directly intervene on health disparities, Dr. Kind has successfully designed, implemented, and tested models of care to improve patient outcomes in low resource and safety net areas. Her interventions, such as low-cost models of care to improve coordination of care transitions in low-resource areas, have been disseminated widely. Dr. Kind has multiple active R01s from the NIH/National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), the NIH/National Institute on Aging (NIA), and routinely advises state, federal and international entities. Her most recent R01 is one of the largest studies ever funded examining social determinants of health in AD, providing a novel window into the sociobiologic mechanisms underlying neighborhood disadvantage exposure and neurobiology. She is a dedicated clinician and serves as an outstanding research mentor, with many successfully funded mentees.

Associate Professor of Medicine

Christie Bartels, MD, MS, is an Associate 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

Farah Acher Kaiksow, MD, MPP is an Assistant Professor 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.

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.


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.

Health Services Research Administrator

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

Assistant Researcher

Amanda provides data management and analytic support for HSCR projects.

Senior Administrative Program Specialist

Carol provides program support in the areas of research administration, outreach, and 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.


Joe develops programming algorithms and manages datasets to support research.

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.

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.

Graduate Student Hourly

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


Quinton Cotton

Quinton Cotton, MSSA

Research Assistant 

Quinton is a doctoral student in the clinical investigation program through the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research. His dissertation research examines the experiences of crisis among African American dementia caregivers and socio-economic contextual disadvantage at the neighborhood level.


KJ is a Family Medicine physician and a PhD candidate in the UW Population Health department. Her research interests include neighborhood-level determinants of health and how health care providers and institutions can promote wellness and health equity for people living in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Research Assistant

Sarah is a student in the UW-Madison Population Health Sciences PhD program, minoring in health policy. Her research interests include the social determinants of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and disparities in care in this population.