Our Theme

Improving health outcomes in diverse populations through the science of self-management.

Our Focus

Self-management is defined as a process by which individuals and families use knowledge and beliefs, self-regulation skills and abilities, and social facilitation to achieve health-related outcomes. Self-management takes place in the context of risk and protective factors specific to the condition, the physical and social environment, and the individual and family. Proximal outcomes are self-management behaviors and cost of health care services; distal outcomes are health status, quality of life and cost of health. Self-management is applicable to chronic conditions as well as health promotion [1-2].

The science of self-management is advanced by scientists who are developing and testing self-management interventions in various health and illness conditions and with diverse populations. Their findings can then be translated to practice and curricula. The Self-Management Science Center at UWM is the nexus for collaboration among scientists at UWM and at universities nationally and internationally. The science is guided by the Individual and Family Self-Management Theory, which was developed by Drs. Ryan and Sawin who were Self-Management Center Scientists.

1 Ryan, P. & Sawin, K. J. (2009). The Individual and Family Self-Management Theory: Background and perspectives on context process and outcomes. Nursing Outlook, 57, 217-225. Link to article:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908991/

2 Ryan, P. (2009). The Integrated Theory of Health Behavior Change: Background and intervention development. Clinical Nurse Specialist, 23(3), 161-170. Link to this article: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2778019/

3 UWM Self-Management Science Center Working Group*. (2011). Individual and Family Self-Management Theory: Definition of self-management.

4 Ryan, P. A., & Sawin, K. J. (2014). Individual and Family Self-Management Theory [Revised Figure]. Retrieved from

*Working group members. P. Ryan, K. Sawin, J. Doering, B. Rodgers, S. Morgan, R. Schiffman, E. Hildebrandt & R. Marine.

Self-management Researchers

Alexa Anderson
  • Assistant Professor
Jennifer Doering
  • Head of School, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor
  • School of Nursing
Julie Ellis
  • Associate Professor
Hyunkyoung Oh
  • Assistant Professor
Michele Polfuss
  • Professor
  • Joint Research Chair in the Nursing of Children
Murad Taani
  • Associate Professor