Uba Backonja, PhD, RN

Assistant Professor in Nursing and Healthcare Leadership, UW Tacoma

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education




Community-based health informatics, Data visualization, Health inequities, Women’s health, Health promotion


  • BS in Anthropology and a BS, MS, and PhD in Nursing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Awarded a predoctoral fellowship from the National Institutes of Health to conduct research on associations between biopsychosocial factors and endometriosis
  • National Library of Medicine Medical Informatics Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Washington School of Medicine within BIME (focus: data visualization)


  • Understanding how to develop and evaluate data visualizations for different tasks and stakeholders
  • Working with potential end users to develop health informatics tools for: hypertension management among teens, caregivers, and healthcare providers; managing and transitioning through menopause among midlife women and healthcare providers; hospice team meetings among team members; public health-related decision-making among public health leaders


  • Health informatics, databases, and analytics for Healthcare Leadership (THEALTH 405 and 406)
  • Nursing informatics for Masters of Nursing (TNURS 554)
  • Nursing leadership for BS Nursing (TNURS 435)
  • Critical thinking + writing and Transition to Baccalaureate Education for BS Nursing (TNURS 350 and 450)
  • Past courses: Seminars in biomedical data visualization and health disparities + informatics for BIME

Other Roles:

  • Member, Nursing Research Committee, Seattle Children’s Hospital
  • Member, Visual Analytics, Nursing Informatics, and Public Health Informatics Working Groups of the American Medical Informatics Association

Representative publications:

Backonja U, Chi NC, Choi Y, Hall AK, Le T, Kang Y, Demiris G. Visualization approaches to support healthy aging: A systematic review. Journal of Innovations in Health Informatics. 2016;23(3). doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.14236/jhi.v23i3.860

Roberts K, Boland MR, Pruinelli L, Dcruz J, Berry A, Gerogsson M, Hazen R, Sarmiento RF, Backonja U, Yu KS, Jiang Y, Brennan PF. Biomedical informatics advancing the national health agenda: The AMIA 2015 Year-in-Review in clinical & consumer informatics. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. 2016 [ahead of print]. doi: 10.1093/jamia/ocw103.

Schliep KC, Mumford SL, Johnstone EB, Peterson CM, Sharp HT, Stanford JB, Chen Z, Backonja U, Wallace M, Buck Louis GM. Sexual and Physical Abuse and Endometriosis: Findings from the ENDO Study. Human Reproduction. 2016 [ahead of print].

Backonja U, Robledo CA, Wallace ME, Flores KF, Kiely M. Reproductive health knowledge among African American women enrolled in a clinic-based randomized control trial to reduce psychosocial risk, Project DC-HOPE. Women’s Health Issues. 2016 [ahead of print]. doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2016.03.005.

Hartzler AL, Taylor MN, Park A, Griffiths T, Backonja U, McDonald D, Wahbeh S, Brown C, Pratt W. Leveraging cues from person-generated health data for peer matching in online health communities. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. 2016;23(3):496-507. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jamia/ocv175

Hartzler AL, Weis B, Cahill C, Pratt W, Park A, Backonja U, McDonald D. Design and usability of interactive user profiles for online health communities. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (ToCHI). 2016; 23(3): Article 15. doi:10.1145/2903718

Backonja U, Hall MK, Thielke S. Older Adults’ Current and Potential Uses of Information Technologies in a Changing World: A Theoretical Perspective (article). International Journal of Aging and Human Development. 2014;80(1):41-63. doi: 10.1177/0091415015591109.

Backonja U, Royer HR, Lauver DR. Young Women’s Reasons to Seek Sexually Transmitted Infection Screening. Public Health Nursing. 2014;31(5):395-404. doi: 10.1111/phn.12125.

Backonja U, Kim K, Casper GR, Patton T, Ramly E, Brennan PF. Observations of Daily Living: Putting the Personal in Personal Health Records. Proceedings of the International Congress on Nursing Informatics. 2012;2012:6.