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Mary Jo Pugh, Ph.D., R.N.

Languages spoken: English

Academic Information

Departments: Internal Medicine - Professor, Population Health Sciences - Adjunct Professor

Divisions: Epidemiology

Academic Office Information

maryjo.pugh@hsc.utah.edu

Labs

Research Interests

  • Epidemiology of Trauma
  • Phenotypes of Multimorbidity
  • Epidemiology Using Multimodal Biomarkers
  • Chronic Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Neuroepidemiology
  • Epilepsy Outcomes Research
  • Quality Measure Development
  • Quality of Epilepsy Care
  • Quality of Care for Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Health Services Research
  • Health-related Instrument and Survey Development
  • Experimental Design, Outcomes Research

Mary Jo Pugh Ph.D., R.N., is a retired Air Force nurse and Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Epidemiology at the University of Utah School of Medicine. She is an investigator at the Informatics, Decision-Enhancement and Analytic Sciences Center of Innovation (IDEAS COIN) and the VA Salt Lake City where she leads the COIN focus area that aims to identify and mitigate health risks in Veterans across periods of vulnerability.

Integrating her training as a Veteran, a nurse and a developmental psychologist, she has developed an epidemiological research program to examine the long-term sequelae and outcomes of military exposures. Early in her career she focused on outcomes associated with suboptimal quality of care in older Veterans. Over the past decade she has targeted her work using VA data to identify phenotypes in populations with complex comorbidity such as those with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and complex multi-symptom illness in Gulf War era Veterans. Dr. Pugh’s current work related to TBI includes longitudinal observational and prospective studies to identify the emergence of distinct neurodegenerative conditions such as cognitive impairment and epilepsy, and clusters of multimorbidity that may have similar or networked biological underpinnings. Her longitudinal observational studies of approximately 1.8 million Veterans currently link Department of Defense (DoD) combat theatre and health system data with VA health system data, and will further link with DoD serum repository data. These studies aim to understand which individuals are at highest risk of neurodegeneration, mental health conditions, and deficits in functional outcomes after mild TBI. They also investigate the possibility of using personalized medicine to address treatment choices. The next steps of this line of inquiry will use deep learning models to identify optimal treatment pathways for specific phenotypes to inform treatment guidelines for mild TBI in the context of multimorbidity.

Dr. Pugh is the author or co-author of over one hundred and eighty peer reviewed publications and book chapters, and numerous presentations at national and international scientific meetings. Her work is funded by VA Health Services Research and Development in addition to VA Rehabilitation Research and Development, the Department of Defense, and the National Institutes of Health. She regularly serves as a reviewer for national funding agencies including the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense and VA, where she serves as chair for the HSR&D career development award panel. She also serves as a peer reviewer for scientific publications submitted to prominent scientific journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association, Neurology, Medical Care, Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, Brain Injury, Epilepsia, Epilepsy and Behavior and many others.

Dr. Pugh received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Nursing from the College of Saint Scholastica after which she entered the Air Force. Upon her medical retirement she earned a masters degree in Education from Boston University and masters and doctoral degrees in Psychology at the Catholic University of America.

Research Statement

Over the course of the past 20 years, I have integrated my training as an Air Force nurse, developmental psychologist, and health services research to develop a research program examining the long-term sequelae and outcomes of military exposures. My early research focused on outcomes associated with suboptimal prescribing in older Veterans. Over the past 15 years I re-focused my work to use national VA data to identify phenotypes in populations with complex comorbidity such as those with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and complex multi-symptom illness. My current work includes longitudinal observational and prospective studies to identify the emergence of distinct neurodegenerative conditions such as cognitive impairment and epilepsy, and clusters of multimorbidity that may have similar or networked biological underpinnings. The longitudinal observational studies of approximately one million veterans currently link DoD combat theatre and health system data with VA health system data. These studies seek to identify individuals at highest risk of neurodegeneration, mental health conditions, and deficits in functional outcomes after mild TBI. Next steps of this line of inquiry will use deep learning models to identify optimal treatment pathways for specific phenotypes which seek to inform treatment guidelines for mild TBI in the context of multimorbidity.

Education History

Certification University of Utah
Leading with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Certificate
Certification University of Utah
Women in Leadership
Certificate
Postdoctoral Fellowship Center for Health Quality, Outcomes & Economic Research/Boston University School of Public Health
Health Services Research
Postdoctoral Fellow
Doctoral Training The Catholic University of America
Psychology
Ph.D.
Graduate Training The Catholic University of America
Psychology
M.A.
Graduate Training Boston University
Counseling Psychology
Ed.M.
Undergraduate University of Central Florida
Psychology
B.A.
Undergraduate The College of St. Scholastica
Nursing
B.A.

Global Impact

Service

Date Role Description Country