Patricia Wren

Patricia Wren

Professor of Public Health
Chair, Department of Public Health

 3181 Faculty/Administration Building (FAB)

Curriculum vitae

Patricia Wren


 Department of Public Health

A first-generation college student, Dr. Patricia Wren began her college education at the local community college two miles from her parents’ home in suburban Chicago. There, she earned an associate’s degree in Social Sciences (1984) from Harper College. After transferring to DePaul University in downtown Chicago, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science (1986) and a master’s degree in Public Service Management (1988). Dr. Wren completed her education at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. There she earned a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in Health Behavior/Health Education (1992) as well as a PhD in Education (1999).

Dr. Wren started her public health career as part of a research team evaluating HIV/AIDS prevention and service organizations funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). Working closely with faculty mentors from the University of Michigan School of Public Health and Hunter College (NYC), this work took her to Chicago IL; San Francisco, CA, Cleveland, OH, and Alabaster, AL among other places. Since then, her research has largely focused on the measurement of patient-centered outcomes – in essence, she makes sure that decisions about disease progression or treatment success take into account patient preferences and important indicators like quality of life, patient satisfaction, mobility, and functional status. Dr. Wren has been worked on more than 20 research studies that secured over $33 million in funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, National Science Foundation, National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, National Eye Institute, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These community-based research and clinical trials have addressed a range of health problems including HIV/AIDS, glaucoma and strabismus, breast and colorectal cancer, stroke, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, mental health and suicide, and pelvic floor disorders in women.

Dr. Wren has taught intensive seminars to a dozen MPH students, lecture courses to 200 first-year undergraduate students, and everything in between. You can generally find her teaching introduction to public health courses. These classes are dynamic, always changing, and intended to encourage wrestling with health disparities, social inequalities, and evidence-based decision-making using public health principles and data.

In addition, Dr. Wren serves as the chair of the undergraduate Department of Public Health. She brings a wealth of experience in higher education leadership, strategic planning, and academic administration to this position. Previously, Dr. Wren served as the director of the Health Sciences and Applied Health Sciences Programs at Oakland University (Rochester, MI) and was founding director of the Master of Public Health (MPH) Program there. More recently, she served as chair of the Department of Health and Human Services at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Research interest(s)/area of expertise

  • Patient-centered outcomes assessment
  • Survey design and administration
  • Creation of new measures and psychometrics


  • PhD, Education, University of Michigan, 1999
  • MPH, Health Behavior/Health Education, University of Michigan, 1992
  • MS, Public Service Management, DePaul University, 1988
  • BA, Political Science, DePaul University, 1986
  • AA, Social Science, William Rainey Harper College, 1984

Awards and grants

  • Co-Investigator, “Diversity and Inclusion in College Film and Media Programs,” University of Michigan M-Cubed Funding Initiative, 2019-2020. PI: Jennifer Proctor, PhD, $15,000.

  • Co-Principal Investigator, “Grizzlies Response: Awareness and Suicide Prevention (GRASP) at Oakland University,” Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2012-2015. PI: Michael MacDonald, PhD, $611,546

  •  Co-Investigator, “Preparations for In-Home Testing of Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI) Operating Assistive Technology,” National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Education, 2009-2012. PI: Jane Huggins, PhD, $605,995

Selected publications

Wei JT, Dunn R, Nygaard I, Burgio K, Lukacz ES, Markland A, Wren PA, Brubaker L, Barber MD, Jelovsek E, Spino C, Meikle S, Janz N and for the Pelvic Floor Disorders Network (2017). Development and validation of a quantitative measure of adaptive behaviors in women with pelvic floor disorders. Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery. 23(4):232-237. PMID: 28650896. doi: 10.1097/SPV.0000000000000431.

Doherty D, Maher SF, Ivanikiw C, Hales M, Lebiecki T, Wren PA (2017). Perceptions of cultural competency in Doctor of Physical Therapy students. Journal of Cultural Diversity. 24(2):31-38.

Hawley LD, MacDonald MG, Wallace EH, Smith J, Wummel B, Wren PA (2016). Baseline assessment of campus-wide general health status and mental health: Opportunity for tailored suicide prevention and mental health awareness programming. Journal of American College Health. 64(3):174-83. PMID: 26629894. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2015.1085059.

Huggins JE, Moinuddin AA, Chiodo AE, and Wren PA (2015). What would brain-computer interface users want: Opinions and priorities of potential users with spinal cord injury. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 96(3 Suppl 1):S38-45. PMID: 25721546.

Menees SB, Kim HM, Wren P, Zikmund-Fisher BJ, Elta GH, Foster S, Korsnes S, Graustein B, Schoenfeld P (2014). Patient compliance and suboptimal bowel preparation with split-dose regimen in average-risk screening colonoscopy. Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. 79(5):811-820.e3. PMID: 24631492.

Currently teaching

  •  PH 2100: Introduction to Public Health, 3 cr., Winter 2021

Courses taught

 PH 2100: Introduction to Public Health, 3 cr., Fall 2020