Nancy A. Press, Ph.D. Share This OHSU Content

Nancy Press
School of Nursing and Department of Public Health & Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine
Oregon Health & Science University
School of Nursing Portland Campus
3455 SW US Veterans Hospital Road, SN-5S
Portland, Ore. 97239
Phone: 503 494-2535
FAX: 503 494-3878

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"I am trained as a medical anthropologist and am interested in all aspects of the way societies deal with health and illness as well as with the medical system as a culture. After many years of working in schools of medicine, I moved to the OHSU School of Nursing where I have found very congenial social science colleagues and learned the profound differences in nursing's approach to illness experiences and the whole person.

My specific research interests include the social and bioethical implications of genetic and genomic information, with an emphasis on reproductive genetic testing, family communication around genetic information, and behavioral genetics. I also have research interests in health care provider-patient communication.

I am currently involved, as Principal Investigator or a significant co-investigator, on five NIH-funded projects, each in a different stage of progress. I am also involved in completing data analysis on other projects. My primary expertise is in qualitative research, although most of my current projects involve a mixed-method approach. My research provides numerous opportunities for students who would like to learn more about the research process by becoming involved in data collection or data analysis on a variety of projects. These opportunities exist at all levels from BS students to those working on their dissertations, as well as postdoctoral opportunities.

While I am involved in several research projects still in early stages, I am working hard to bring together the various strands of work I have done into a series of summative and analytic papers."


Ph.D. Major: Anthropology, Duke University


"I teach a doctoral level course in Cross-Cultural Perspective in Nursing Research. It is a 3-credit course offered every other Spring quarter in the School of Nursing. I also co-teach Ethics and Epidemiology, for 3 credits, in the MPH program in the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, each Winter quarter."

Community Service


  • Chair of the Board of an international non-governmental organization, Child Aid


  • Study Section, Ethical, Legal and Social Implications Program (ELSI), National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH
  • Reviewer, The Medical Research Foundation of the Oregon Health & Science University Foundation
  • American Society for Bioethics and Humanities
  • American Anthropological Association

OHSU School of Nursing faculty committees:

  • Faculty Affairs Committee
  • PhD Progression and Admissions Committee


Is Primary Care Ready to Utilize the Promise of Genetics: A Vignette Study. Funded by the
National Human Genome Research Institute and the National Institute of Nursing Research, NIH. Principal Investigator. (2006-2009)

Research Enhancement Award Programs (REAP): Center for the Study of Chronic, Comorbid Mental and Physical Disorders. Funded by the Veterans Administration. I am a Co-Investigator and methodological consultant on qualitative methods. (2006-2008)

Genomic Health Care and the Medically Underserved: A Center for Excellence in Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications (ELSI) Research. Principal Investigator of a subcontract from the University of Washington; primary funder, National Human Genome Research Institute. (2004-2009)

Families at Risk for Melanoma: A Web-Based Intervention. Principal Investigator of a subcontract from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; primary funder, National Cancer Institute. (2004-2008)

The Implementation of Cystic Fibrosis Carrier Screening in Pregnancy. Principal Investigator (Administrative Supplement to previous project) Funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute.


Diergaarde B, Bowen DJ, Ludman EJ, Culver JO, Press N, Burke W. Genetic information: Special or not? Responses from focus groups with members of a health maintenance organization. American Journal of Medical Genetics A 2007 143(6):564-569.

Lindor NM, Petersen GM, Hadley DW, Kinney AY, Miesfeldt S, Lu KH, Lynch P, Burke W. Press N. Recommendations for the care of individuals with an inherited predisposition to Lynch Syndrome: A systematic review. JAMA 2006 296(12):1507-1517.

Burke W, Press N. Genetics as a tool to improve cancer outcomes: ethics and policy. Nature Reviews Cancer 2006 6:476-482.

Tucker DC, Acton RT, Press N, Ruggiero A, Reiss JA, Walker AP, Wenzel L, Harrison B, Fadojutimi-Akinsiku M, Harrison H, Adams, P, Crabb JA, Anderson R, Thomson E. Predictors of belief that genetic test information should be shared with family members. Genetic Testing 2006 10(1):50-59.

Parens E, Chapman A, Press N., eds. Wrestling with Behavioral Genetics: Science, Ethics and the Prospect of Public Conversation. 2006 The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Bowen DJ, Burke W, Culver J, Assuras S, Crystal S, Press N. Effects of Counseling Ashkenazi Jewish Women about Breast Cancer Risk. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. 2006 12(1):45

Press N, Reynolds S, Murthy V, Pinsky L, Burke W. “That’s like chopping off a finger because you’re afraid it might get broken:” Disease and illness in women’s views of prophylactic mastectomy. Social Science and Medicine. 2005 61:1106-1117.

Press N. Invited Editorial: Qualitative Research: Thoughts on how to Do it; how to judge it; when to use it. Editorial. Genetics in Medicine.2005. 7(3):155-158.