Theresa Watts, Ph.D., MPH, RN, CPH

Assistant Professor
Theresa Watts


Theresa Watts’ (she/her) academic background, clinical experience, and program of research supports content area expertise in infectious diseases, environmental health, and public health nursing.

Theresa’s program of research focuses on addressing health disparities among people who experience marginalization or who are inadequately cared for within the health care system. She has used big-data, qualitative, and survey methods within her research. Theresa’s program of research aims to improve nursing practice, health policy, and strengthen nursing’s role in social justice.

As a teacher, Theresa is passionate about incorporating population health perspectives into nursing education. Her goal is to develop nursing students into leaders who understand the complexities of health and who are empowered to advance health through competent patient care and social justice change.

Theresa has worked as a public health nurse within communicable disease, disaster preparedness, environmental health, and STI programs.

Areas of interest

  • Hepatitis C virus and related infectious diseases
  • Harm reduction
  • Climate change and health
  • Public health nursing

Select publications

  • Watts, T., Bane, C., Brandley, J., Schmidt, E., & Tucker, M. (2023). Nursing harm reduction education and care for people who use drugs or who engage in sex work. Public Health Nursing, 40(5), 762-765.
  • Watts, T., Lauver, D., Snedden, T., & Zahner, S. (2021). Risks for acquiring hepatitis C virus among women in the United States. Public Health Nursing, 38(2), 309–320.
  • LeClair, J., Watts, T., Zahner, S. (2021). Environmental justice communities and nursing: A scoping review. Public Health Nursing, 38(2), 296-308.
  • Watts, T. Stockman, L., Guilfoyle, S., Vergeront, J., & Zahner, S. (2020). Estimates of prenatal human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis B virus, and hepatitis C virus testing among pregnant people enrolled in Wisconsin Medicaid, 2011–2015. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 24(2), 177-185.
  • Watts, T., Stockman, L., Martin, J. Guilfoyle, S., & Vergeront, J. (2017). Increased risk for mother-to-infant transmission of hepatitis C virus among Medicaid recipients ― Wisconsin, 2011–2015. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), 66(42), 1136-1139.


  • Ph.D., School of Nursing, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2019
  • MPH, Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University, 2011
  • BSN, State University of New York (SUNY)–Plattsburgh, 2008