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Photo of Vonderheid, Susan

Susan Vonderheid, PhD, RN

Clinical Assistant Professor

Department of Human Development Nursing Science


Building & Room:

843 NURS


845 S. Damen Ave., MC 802, Chicago, IL 60612

Office Phone:



Dr. Vonderheid's interests include the development and evaluation of interventions that improve the quality of care and subsequently, reduce persistent health disparities and health care costs. Dr. Vonderheid’s first area of research focuses on evaluating the effectiveness of an innovative model of group visit prenatal care (CenteringPregnancy) compared to traditional prenatal care to improve women’s psychosocial well-being and healthy behaviors and subsequently, improve infant health outcomes. This research also examines the mechanisms that contribute to CenteringPregnancy’s potential effects on health outcomes and care utilization during pregnancy and postpartum. Dr. Vonderheid also developed English and Spanish measures of knowledge, self-efficacy, and health behaviors related to pregnancy and parenting, a Spanish measure of empowerment-related to pregnancy; and process evaluation tools for providers and researchers to examine the fidelity of the group visit model of prenatal care, Centering Pregnancy. A second area of research is the cost of health services. As a co-investigator, Dr. Vonderheid examines the health care utilization and costs of interventions to improve maternal and infant outcomes among preterm infants. As a consultant, Dr. Vonderheid works with nurses and other disciplines to develop and evaluate interventions such as health education to improve patient satisfaction and reduce adverse health outcomes among obese pediatric patients, a modified early warning system to improve patient health and safety outcomes, and lactation education for maternity nurses to improve patient breastfeeding outcomes.

Dr. Vonderheid collaborates with experts in disciplines of nursing, midwifery, medicine, public health, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and health care economics. Her close collaboration with women’s health clinicians, adminstrators and her clinical background in neonatal and pediatric nursing inform her research.

Dr. Vonderheid teaches research methods at the graduate level. She also works with undergraduate students completing independent studies focused on research methods and Honor College students' evidence-based practice and research projects.

Selected Publications

Klima, C., Vonderheid, S.C., Norr, K. & Park, C. (submitted). Development of the Pregnancy-Related Empowerment Scale.

Vonderheid, S.C, Klima, C., Norr, K.F., Grady, M. & Westdahl, C. Using Focus Groups and Social Marketing to Strengthen Promotion of Group Prenatal Care, Advances in Nursing Science, 36(4):320-35.

Holditch-Davis, D., White-Traut, R., Levy, J., Williams, K.L, Ryan, D., & Vonderheid, S. (2013). Maternal Satisfaction with Administering Infant Interventions in the NICU. Journal of Gynecology and Neonatal Nursing, 42, 641-654.

Patil, C., Abrams, E.T., Klima, C., Kaponda, C.P.N., Leshabari, S.C., Vonderheid, S.C, Kamanga, M., Norr, K. Innovative Group Antenatal Care: A Strategy for Meeting Global Health Goals in Africa. Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health, 29(10):1190-8.

Vonderheid, S.C., Kishi, R., Klima, C. & Norr, K. (2011) Group Prenatal Care and Doula Care for Pregnant Women. In Handler, A., Peacock, N., Kennelly, J. (Eds), Population-based interventions for reducing racial/ethnic disparities in perinatal outcomes (pp. 369-400). New York, New York: Springer. ISBN 978-1-4419-1498-9.

Garcia, R., Vonderheid, S.C. McFarlin, Djonlich, M., Maghirang, J., Jang, C. (2011) “Cost and infant health outcomes associated with mandatory MRSA screening in a Special Care Nursery”. Advances in Neonatal Care, 11(3) 200-7.

Rossman, B., Meier, P.P., Engstrom, J.L., Vonderheid, S.C., Norr, K.F., Hill, P.D. (2011). “They’ve Walked in my Shoes” Mothers of Very Low Birth Weight Infants and their Experiences with Breastfeeding Peer Counselors in the NICU. Journal of Human Lactation, 27(1): 14-24.

Kishi, R., McElmurry, Vonderheid, S., Altfeld, S., & McFarlin, B (2011).”Japanese women’s experiences from pregnancy through early postpartum period” Health Care for Women International, 32(1): 57-71. PMID:21154074

Kominiarek, M., Vonderheid, S., & Endres, L.K, (2010) Maternal Obesity: Do Patients Understand the Risks? Journal of Perinatology, 30(7):452-8. PMID:20410907.

Muangpin, S. Tiansawad, S. Kantaruksa, K., Yimyam, S. Vonderheid, S.  (2009). Northeastern Thai Adolescents Perceptions of being Unmarried and Pregnant”. Pacific Rim International Journal of Nursing Research,14(2), April-June.

Vonderheid, S., Pohl, J., Tanner, C.L., Newland, J. & Gans, D. (2009). CPT Coding Patterns at Nurse Managed Health Centers: Data from a National Survey. Nursing Economics (27)4,211-220. PMID: 19753894

Klima, C., Norr, K.F., Vonderheid, S.C., & Handler, A.S. Introduction of CenteringPregnancy® In a Public Health Clinic (2009) Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health, 54(1):27-34. PMID: 19114236.

Vonderheid, S.C. & Kishi, R. (2008). An innovative model for prenatal care: CenteringPregnancy®. Child Research Net.

Vonderheid, S.C., Klima, C. Norr, K.F. (2008). CenteringPregnancy® – A Group Model of Prenatal Care Holds Promise for Improving Access to and the Quality of Prenatal Care. Child Research Net.

Vonderheid, S.C., Norr, K.F. & Handler, A. Prenatal Health Promotion Content and Health Behaviors. (2007). Western Journal of Nursing Research, 29(3): 258-76, discussion 277-283. PMID:17420520.

Barkauskas, V.H. Schafer, P., Sebastian, J.G.,  Pohl, J., Benkert, R., Nagelkerk, J., Stanhope, M,

Vonderheid, S.C, & Tanner, C.L. (2006) Clients Served and Services Provided by Academic Nurse-Managed Centers. Journal of Professional Nursing, 22 (6), 331-8. PMID:17141716

Pohl, J.M., Vonderheid, S.C., Barkauskas, V.H., & Nagelkerk, J. Tracking Financial Date in Academic Nurse-Managed Centers: Insights for NP Practice. (2006). The American Journal for Nurse Practitioners,10(4), 10-16. NLM UID: 101148830

Pohl, J., Vonderheid, S., Naglekerk, J. & Barkauskas, V. (2004). The Safety Net: Academic Nurse Managed Centers’ Role. Journal of Nursing Practice, Policy and Politics, 5(2): 84-94. NLM UID: 100901316

Barkauskas, V., Pohl, J., Breer, L., Tanner, C., Bostrum, A., Benkert, M., & Vonderheid, S. (2004) Academic Nurse-Managed Centers (ANMCs): Approaches to Evaluation. Outcomes Management, 8(1):57-66. PMID: 14740586.

Vonderheid, S., Pohl, J. Schaffer, P., Forrest, K. Poole, M. Barkauskas, V., & Mackey, T. (2004). Using FTE and RVU Performance Measures to Assess the Financial Viability of Academic Nurse-Managed Centers.Nursing Economics, 22(3): 124-134 . PMID: 15211915

Vonderheid, S.C., Montgomery, K. & Norr, K.F. (2003) Ethnicity and Prenatal Health Promotion Content Among Low-Income African-American and Mexican-American Women. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 25(4), 388-404. PMID: 12790055

Vonderheid, S., Pohl, J. Barkauskas, V., Gift, D., & Hughes-Cromwick, P. (2003) Financial Performance of Academic Nurse-Managed Primary Care Centers. Nursing Economics, 21(4),167-179. PMID: 14509875.

McIntosh, E. Naglekerk, J., Vonderheid, S.C. , Poole, M., Dontje, & J. Pohl. (2003). Financially Viable Nurse-Managed Centers. Nurse Practitioner: American Journal of Primary Health Care. 28(3), 40 – 51. PMID: 12800694.

Vonderheid, S.C. & Al-Gasseer, N. (June, 2002) World Health Organization and Global Health Policy.   Journal of Nursing Scholarship.34(2), 109-110. PMID: 12078532