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Bonnie L Svarstad, PhD


Dr. Svarstad and her co-workers recently completed a 5-year NIH grant to examine the impact and cost-effectiveness of a pharmacy-based, team-oriented model of care designed to improve pharmacist-patient communication, patient adherence, and hypertension control in 576 African-American patients with unconrolled hypertension. This cluster randomized controlled trial was conducted in 28 community chain pharmacies (14 intervention, 14 control)located in five Wisconsin cities.  Svarstad no longer accepts graduate students.

Background: Bonnie received her MA (1966) and PhD (1974) degrees in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before joining the UW-Madison faculty in 1975, she worked as a medical sociologist at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Health Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. Prof. Svarstad has served on the American Pharmaceutical Association's Task Force on Women in Pharmacy and the National Academy of Sciences - Institute of Medicine Committee to Evaluate Patient Package inserts. From 1985-89 she served on the National Advisory Council on Health Professions Education. In 2003, she was appointed a Special Government Employee to assist the Drug Safety and Risk Management Committee, U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Svarstad received the American Pharmacists Association Foundation Research Achievement Award in Economic, Social and Administrative Sciences in 1988 and the Pinnacle Award in 2004. She has been cited for developing the Health Communication Model and the Brief Medication Questionnaire, tools for understanding and improving professional - patient communication and patient adherence with drug regimens.

Professional Interests: Behavioral theories and methods of measuring patient adherence; methods of improving professional-patient communication and prescription drug use.


  • MA 1966 Sociology - University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • PhD 1974 Sociology - University of Wisconsin-Madison
Highlighted Publications:
  • Svarstad BL, Brown RL, Shireman TI.  A successful intervention to improve medication adherence in black patients with hypertension: Mediation analysis in 28-site TEAM Trial. J Am Pharm Assoc. May-Jun 2022;62(3):800-808.
  • Svarstad, BL, and Shireman, T.I. Cost-effectiveness of Wisconsin TEAM model for improving adherence and hypertension control in black patients. J Am Pharm Assoc. Jul-Aug 2016;56(4):389-96.
  • Svarstad, BL, Kotchen, J.M., Shireman, T.I., Brown, R.L., Crawford, S.Y., Mount, J.K., Palmer, P.A., Vivian, E.M., Wilson, D. A.. Improving refill adherence and hypertension control in black patients: Wisconsin TEAM trial. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2013;53:520-529.
  • Svarstad, BL, Kotchen, J. M., Shireman, T. I., Crawford, S. Y., Palmer, P A., Vivian, E. M., and Brown, R. L.. The Team Education and Adherence Monitoring (TEAM) Trial: Pharmacy interventions to improve hypertension control in blacks. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2009; 2(3): 264-271
  • Svarstad BL, Bultman DC, Mount JK, Tabak ER. Evaluation of written prescription information provided in community pharmacies: An 8-state study. J of American Pharmaceutical Association, 2003; 43:383-393.
  • Svarstad BL and Mount J. Effects of resident depression, sleep, and demand for medication on benzodiazepine use in nursing homes. Psychiatric Services, 2002; 53:1159-1165.
  • Svarstad BL, Bultman DC, Mount JK. Patient counseling provided in community pharmacies: Effects of state regulation, pharmacist age, and busyness. J of American Pharmaceutical Association, 2004; 44:22-29.
  • Bultman DC and Svarstad BL. Effects of physician communication style on client medication beliefs and adherence with antidepressant treatment. Patient Education and Counseling, 2000; 40:173-185.
  • Bultman DC and Svarstad BL. Effects of pharmacist monitoring on patient satisfaction with antidepressant medication. J of American Pharmaceutical Association, 2002; 42:36-43.
  • Svarstad BL and Mount JK. Chronic benzodiazepine use in nursing homes: Effects of federal guidelines, resident mix, and nurse staffing. J of American Geriatrics Society, 2001; 49:1673-1678.
  • Svarstad BL, Mount JK, Bigelow W. Variations in treatment culture and nursing home response to drug regulations. Psychiatric Services, 2001; 52:666-672.
  • Svarstad BL, Chewning BA, Sleath BL, Claesson C. The brief medication questionnaire: A tool for screening patient adherence and barriers to adherence. Patient Education and Counseling, 1999; 37:113-124.
  • Schmidt I, Claesson C, Westerholm B, Svarstad BL. Resident characteristics and organizational factors influencing the quality of drug use in Swedish nursing homes. Social Science and Medicine, 1998; 47:961-971.
  • Roter DL, Hall JA, Merisca R, Ruehle B, Creten D, Svarstad BL. Effectiveness of interventions to improve patient compliance: A meta-analysis. Medical Care, 1998; 36:1138-1161.
  • Schmidt I, Claesson C, Westerholm B, Svarstad BL. The impact of regular multidisciplinary team interventions on psychotropic prescribing in Swedish nursing homes. J of American Geriatrics Society, 1998; 46:77-82.
  • Svarstad BL. The relationship between patient communication and compliance. In: D. Breimer and P. Speiser (eds.), Topics in Pharmaceutical Sciences 1985. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science Publishers, 1985.
  • Mason HL and Svarstad BL. Medication counseling behaviors and attitudes of rural community pharmacists. Drug Intelligence and Clinical Pharmacy, 18 (1984), 409-414.