University of Wisconsin
School of Medicine and Public Health

Karen Hansen, MD, MS



MADISON, WI 53705-2281

(608) 263-3457


  • University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin - MD
  • University of Wisconsin – MS in Clinical Investigation
  • UW Hospitals and Clinics, Madison, Wisconsin – Residency in Internal Medicine
  • UW Hospitals and Clinics – Chief Resident
  • Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina – Fellowship in Rheumatology

Professional Activities ACTIVITIES

Dr. Karen Hansen is a faculty member within the divisions of Rheumatology and Endocrinology within the Department of Medicine and is a highly regarded researcher, educator, and clinician. She has published over 80 peer-reviewed papers and secured multiple federal and other grants. She is a reviewer for multiple journals and has served on the Professional Practice Committee for her medical society, the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR). Dr. Hansen has been generous with her scientific expertise, participating as an ad hoc reviewer for several NIH study sections as well as reviewing grant applications for the American College of Rheumatology and the Arthritis Research United Kingdom.

Clinical Specialties

Dr. Hansen’s clinical interests include osteoporosis, abnormal vitamin D and calcium homeostasis and renal osteodystrophy along with the care of common and rare rheumatologic disorders. She follows a large group of patients with osteogenesis imperfect. She reads bone mineral density studies for UW Health in a rotating schedule with UW radiologists. She performs tetracycline labeled bone biopsies in patients with undiagnosed metabolic bone diseases; the closest center that would otherwise offer this service is Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.

Research Interests

View Dr. Karen Hansen's publications on NCBI MyBibliography  

Dr. Hansen is a nationally and internationally recognized leader in the study of bone and mineral metabolism. She has focused her efforts on an understanding of vitamin D and calcium absorption as they relate to the major clinical problem of osteoporosis.

Her primary research focus centers around issues related to osteoporosis, including risk factors, diagnosis and management of osteoporosis. She has published several studies on factors that influence calcium absorption. Her latest NIH-sponsored study is a randomized, double-blind trial to compare the effects of placebo, low-dose and high-dose vitamin D therapy on changes in calcium absorption, bone density and muscle fitness in 230 postmenopausal women with serum 25(OH)D levels between 15 and 25 ng/mL at study entry. That study was published in JAMA-Internal Medicine.