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Nancy Tkacs

Adjunct Professor Dept. of Nursing

Nursing expert, specializing in the study of pathophysiology and neuroscience

Media Contact
Nancy Tkacs
Phone:  +1 213.8215927
Rank:  Adjunct Faculty
Department:  Nursing
Assignment:  VAC

Nancy Tkacs

Adjunct Professor Dept. of Nursing

Nursing expert, specializing in the study of pathophysiology and neuroscience

Media Contact


Nancy Tkacs is part of the adjunct faculty in the Department of Nursing, where she teaches courses on pathophysiology and pharmacology for advanced nursing practice. She is also an associate professor emerita of nursing at the University of Pennsylvania. She has more than 25 years of experience teaching pathophysiology to advanced practice nursing students. As a master’s-prepared nurse with a doctorate in physiology, she is able to build a bridge between physiology concepts and the pathophysiology of disease. Prior to joining USC, she served as assistant dean for diversity and cultural affairs at UPenn. In this capacity, she developed and implemented action plans to increase faculty diversity and facilitate an inclusive and supportive climate. Her research focuses on the study of pathophysiological adaptation to a variety of disease-induced stressors. She has studied brain mechanisms of a diabetes complication called hypoglycemia unawareness in projects funded by more than $1.2 million from the National Institutes of Health and JDRF. She has also served as content expert as dissertation chair or committee member for many doctoral students who are using biologically based research approaches. Tkacs received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from the UPenn School of Nursing and her PhD in physiology with a focus in neuroscience from Loyola University of Chicago Graduate School at the Stritch School of Medicine. She completed her postdoctoral training in neuroendocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International, the American Diabetes Association and the American Physiological Society.


Loyola University of Chicago, Graduate School at the Medical Center

PhD 1989

University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

MSN 1977

University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

BSN 1975

Area of Expertise

  • Nursing
  • Neuroscience
  • Pathophysiology
  • Medicine

Industry Experience

  • Health Care - Services
  • Health Care - Facilities
  • Writing and Editing
  • Program Development
  • Research
  • Education/Learning
  • Public Policy
  • Health and Wellness
  • Health Care - Providers


Outstanding Educator Award
Awarded by the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

Articles & Publications

Caregiving immediately after stroke: A study of uncertainty in caregivers of older adults | Journal of Neuroscience Nursing
Byun, E., Riegel, B.J., Sommers, M.S., Tkacs, N.C. & Evans, L.K.
2016 Caregivers of stroke survivors experience high rates of mental and physical morbidity. Stroke has sudden onset, and the outcome is not immediately known. Uncertainties surrounding the new caregiving role may not only necessitate major changes in the lives of family caregivers but also contribute to negative health outcomes for the caregiver.

Advancing LGBT health at an academic medical center: A case study | LGBT Health.
Yehia, B.R., Calder, D., Flesch, J.D., Hirsh, R.L., Higginbotham, E., Tkacs, N., Crawford, B. & Fishman, N. (
2015 Academic health centers are strategically positioned to impact the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) populations by advancing science, educating future generations of providers, and delivering integrated care that addresses the unique health needs of the LGBT community. This report describes the early experiences of the Penn Medicine Program for LGBT Health, highlighting the favorable environment that led to its creation, the mission and structure of the Program, strategic planning process used to set priorities and establish collaborations, and the reception and early successes of the Program.

Self care and health outcomes of diabetes mellitus | Clinical Nursing Research,
Song, M., Ratcliffe, S.J., Tkacs, N.C. & Riegel, B.
2012 Studies show that self-care improves diabetes mellitus (DM) outcomes; however, previous studies have focused on self-care maintenance, and little is known about self-care management. The objective of this study is to examine the influence of DM self-care maintenance and management on number of hospitalizations and hospitalization days. A cohort design with secondary analysis of data from the Health and Retirement Study 2002-2004 was used. Data from 726 adults with DM were analyzed with logistic regression and negative binomial regression adjusting for covariates. Self-care maintenance and management were significant determinants of hospitalization outcomes. Establishing a goal for HbA1c (self-care management) and eating ≥2 snacks or desserts per day (self-care maintenance) were associated with a decrease in hospitalizations (IRR = 0.860, p = .001; IRR = 0.914, p = .043, respectively). DM self-care maintenance and management influence health outcomes but in different ways. These data provide evidence that both elements are needed in the education of patients about DM.