Theresa Watts, PhD, MPH, RN, CPH

Assistant Professor
Theresa Watts


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

Theresa’s program of research incorporates population health perspectives to identify the social determinants of health that form patterns of infectious disease disparities and inequities. Her research addresses gaps in scientific evidence related to emerging and prevailing infectious diseases by integrating knowledge from nursing science, epidemiology, and health policy. By addressing these research gaps, Theresa’s program of research aims to improve nursing and healthcare practice, health policy, and strengthen nursing leadership in infectious diseases and population health.

As a teacher, Theresa is passionate about incorporating population health perspectives into nursing education, and to motivate students to critically think about the social determinants of health when caring for patients, communities, and populations. Her goal is to develop nurse leaders who understand the complexities of health and who are empowered to advance health through competent individual care, research, advocacy, and social justice change.

Professional Experience

  • Nursing faculty for undergraduate and graduate programs
  • Research principle investigator or assistant on several research projects
  • Public health nurse for local and state communicable disease control programs
  • Registered nurse in long-term and acute care


  • 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.
  • Watts, T., Zahner, S., & Mrochek, T. (2017). Financial and legal characteristics of cross-jurisdictional shared service agreements between local public health agencies. Journal of Public Health Management & Practice, 24(2), 172-180.

Research Interests

  • Hepatitis C Virus
  • Infectious diseases
  • Environmental and climate justice
  • Public health nursing


  • PhD in Nursing, University of Wisconsin–Madison, School of Nursing – 2019
  • MPH, The George Washington University, Milken Institute School of Public Health – 2011
  • BSN, State University of New York (SUNY)–Plattsburgh, Nursing Department – 2008