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Ryan Westergaard

Ryan Westergaard, MD, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health



"Reaching the hard-to-reach with HIV prevention and treatment"

Research Interests

Ryan's research aims to understand and address the mechanisms for health disparities in HIV prevalence and HIV treatment outcomes among key underserved populations, including people with substance use disorders and people who are incarcerated. He has collaborated with CHESS since 2015 to develop and evaluate smartphone-based tools to monitor patients' symptoms and life events that can disrupt continuity of HIV care for people with opioid use disorder. Using these tools, he hopes to improve communication among patients and their providers to ensure life-long suppression of HIV with antiretroviral therapy.


Ryan is an infectious disease physician and clinical researcher who has served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine since 2011. He was the recipient of a K23 Career Development Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to study transitions of HIV care for people who are released from prison. In 2016, he was awarded the prestigious Avenir Award for Research on Substance Abuse and HIV/AIDS, which supports his current work with CHESS. Ryan is proud to serve as mentor for graduate students in the health sciences from numerous departments across the University as part of the TEAM-Science Program in the UW Center for Women's Health. He is also a member of the Madison Symphony Chorus, where he sings in the Bass Section.


  • 2016 NIH Director's New Innovator Award
  • 2014 New Investigator Award, Wisconsin Partnership Program
  • 2014 HIV Medical Association Investigator Award, Infectious Disease Society of America
  • 2011 NIH Health Disparities Loan Repayment Award
  • 2003 Marcia G. Pines Award for Bioethics and Public Health; Johns Hopkins University
  • 2002 Watt-Hansel Fellowship for Medicine and Public Health; Johns Hopkins University
  • 1999 Theodore Herfurth Award for Initiative and Efficiency, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • 1999 Instructor of the Year Award--Industrial Engineering Student Awards

Selected Publications

  • Westergaard RP, Hull SJ, Merkow A, Stephens LK, Hochstatter KR, Olson-Streed HK, Baker LM, Hess TM. "Computerized Tailored Interventions to Enhance Prevention and Screening for Hepatitis C Virus Among People Who Inject Drugs: Protocol for a Randomized Pilot Study." JMIR Research Protocols. 2016; Jan 22; 5(1):e15. PMID: 26800903. PMCID: PMC4744331.
  • Westergaard RP, Beach MC, Saha S, Jacobs EA. "Institutional trust in health care and HIV conspiracy beliefs among racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S.: Implications for HIV vaccine research." JGIM. 2014; 29(1):140-6. PMID: 23979684. PMCID: PMC3889971
  • Westergaard RP, Kirk GD, Richesson DR, Galai N, Mehta SH. "Incarceration predicts virologic failure for HIV-infected injection drug users receiving antiretroviral therapy." Clinical Infectious Diseases, 2011;53(7):725–731. PMID: 21890777. PMCID: PMC3202322.