Health Services Research and Implementation Science

Dr. Christie Bartels is a rheumatologist health services researcher and implementation scientist. Her research aims to improve cardiovascular health and longevity and reduce health disparities among patients with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and other conditions.

Her work is cited in the 2018 U.S. cholesterol guidelines and has led to over 85 peer-reviewed publications. 

Overhead photo of Dr. Bartels in her office discussing research with a medical student

Population Health Approaches to Improve Cardiovascular, Rheumatic Disease Outcomes and Reduce Disparities

In addition to a number of epidemiologic studies, Dr. Bartels has developed innovative electronic health record-supported blood pressure (BP) and Quit Connect protocols for rheumatology clinic staff that reduced rates of high blood pressures across 28,000 visits. The successful implementation of these protocols achieved population-level blood pressure improvement with a significant reduction in racial disparities, as well as 20-fold higher smoking cessation referrals.

These population health approaches aim to improve both rheumatic disease and cardiovascular disease outcomes. Dissemination research based on the BP and Quit Connect Interventions has been successful in academic and community settings, including Atlanta’s Grady public hospital rheumatology clinic and other centers.

Bartels’ team also investigates Care Continuum pathways and interventions to reduce disparities in systemic lupus care and outcomes. Dr. Bartels co-chaired the American College of Rheumatology-CDC efforts to define lupus care quality measures.

Research Team

Research Lab Manager

Maria Schletzbaum, PhD

Maria Schletzbaum, PhD

MD/PhD Graduate Student

Ang Yu, MA, MS

Graduate Student Assistant

Dr. Bartels at her desk with a medical student
Join Us!

Dr. Bartels’ lab has opportunities for graduate students and postdocs interested in rheumatology, health disparities, and health services research, epidemiology and data analysis. Interested individuals can send their CV and a summary of their research experience and interests to Dr. Bartels.

Active Projects

Advancing Health Equity for Lupus Patients in Wisconsin: How a Care Continuum and Community Stakeholders Can Inform Interventions to Close Disparities Gaps

Adaptation of an HIV model and novel data analysis methods to study the five key steps for lupus care to identify the step with the largest impact on patient health. Results will provide a foundation for a future study to improve damage-free survival and health equity in lupus with stakeholders from five statewide rheumatology groups, public health, foundations, and ACR.

The Role of Care Retention in Lupus Disease Outcomes

Measuring care retention and hospitalization- and nephritis-free survival in young adults with lupus and their predictors, including evaluating care as a mediator of disease outcomes. Care retention and disease complication-free survival and predictors will also be evaluated in pediatric and adolescent patients with lupus.

Connect Health Implementation Research and Interventions

Funding Support

Dr. Bartels has had funding from the the NIH/National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, the NIH/National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, the Rheumatology Research Foundation, the Wisconsin Partnership Program and other foundations

Closeup of UW crest on an interior wall at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Help Us Transform Medicine

You can help support research by making a gift to the Department of Medicine's Rheumatology Fund for Excellence.