Sandra Daack-Hirsch, PhD, RN, FAAN

Professor, Executive Associate Dean

Sandra Daack-Hirsch is an Associate Professor in the College of Nursing and the Director of the PhD program. Dr. Daack-Hirsch focused her master’s study on genetic counseling and care of children and families who have inherited and congenital disorders. She completed her PhD in the Parent Child & Family Area of study with an emphasis in public health and genetics. Dr. Daack-Hirsch has consulted on numerous national projects to promote the education of nurses in genetics.

Dr. Daack-Hirsch joined the faculty in the College of Nursing in the January of 2007 at the rank of Assistant Professor. As a doctoral student, she was awarded an F31 National Service Research Award and was a fellow at NINR’s Summer Genetics Institute. She is the recipient of the James N. Murray Teaching Award and the highly prestigious University of Iowa Michael J. Brody Award for Faculty Excellence in Service.

Dr. Daack-Hirsch’s program of research is patient-centered and focuses on lay public perspectives on genetics/geomatics using qualitative and mixed methods. Her earlier research includes an ethnographic study in the Philippines on cultural explanations for the cause orofacial clefting in order to translate complex genetic information and develop culturally appropriate education and counseling strategies. She also completed work on a CDC grant (Improving the Diagnostic Process for Families of Children with DBMD). She led a team on an NIH grant (Managing incidental findings related to clinical and research genomic testing) to gain the public’s perspectives on incidental findings from genome-based testing. She recently completed mixed-methods NIH-funded study to elucidate the personalizing process of genetic/genomic risk in a diverse group of individuals who have a first degree relative with type 2 diabetes mellitus (Personal Perspective and Provider Communication of Genomic Risk for T2DM).

Her current research project is in the area of inherited cardiovascular diseases. Inherited cardiovascular diseases are estimated to affect 1/200 families in the United States, and affected individuals are largely responsible communicating risk to their at-risk family members so they can also be screened and treated. In her current research she is developing an innovative family communication tool that is ethical, convenient, and uses modern communication modes to help families pass along life-saving information. Effective communication is a critical first step to prevent life-long disability and early death among at-risk relatives.

Curriculum Vitae

Research areas
  • Genetic disorders and families
  • Knowledge and perception of genetic information
  • Familial health risk—perception and communication
Sandra Daack-Hirsch
PhD, University of Iowa
MSN, University of Iowa
BSN, University of Iowa