Photo of Nasia Safdar and Elizabeth "Betsy" Nugent.

Clinical trials leaders join forces to enhance patient care offerings

It’s not every day that you find perfectly complementary visionaries who can successfully co-lead an initiative. But that is what the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and UW health found in Elizabeth “Betsy” Nugent, MSPH, CCRP, and Nasia Safdar, MD, PhD ’09 (PG ’00, ’02), as they joined forces to play vital roles in the academic medical center’s clinical trials enterprise and established the Wisconsin Medicine Institute for Clinical Trials.


By Kaine Korzekwa, UW School of Medicine and Public Health


The two have traveled different paths — they grew up in different countries, earned different degrees and experienced different career trajectories — but they are united by a fascination and commitment to the power and importance of clinical trials in advancing medicine and public health.


After earning a master’s degree in public health from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, she helped lead management and innovation in clinical trials for the health care and research giant Kaiser Permanente in its Colorado region. She also is a certified clinical research professional, indicating excellence in the ethical conduct of clinical trials.


In September 2019, Nugent moved her career to the School of Medicine and Public Health and UW Health, where she is the inaugural director of clinical trials development and accreditation, chief clinical research officer and director of the Wisconsin Medicine Institute for Clinical Trials.


“I’m a roll-up-your-sleeves type of person who gets in there and figures out a situation and how to streamline it, and that captured the attention of the team when I interviewed here,” says Nugent. “I was very eager to get started, and I was a bit starstruck to be coming to the same place that houses scientists, such as Dr. Thomas Rockwell ‘Rock’ Mackie, who have inspired me.”


Nugent also is motivated by the innovations that clinical trials exhibit and their important role in pushing medical science forward. The opportunity to be able to see firsthand these incredible discoveries gets her out of bed each morning. Read more …