Matthew D. McHugh


The Independence Chair for Nursing Education

Professor of Nursing

Director, Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research

Faculty Director, Nursing and Health Care Management Coordinated Dual Degree Program


379 Fagin Hall

J.D., Northeastern University School of Law, 2006
Ph.D., Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, 2004

The fundamental question underlying Dr. McHugh’s program of research is “How does nursing influence the achievement of our most important national and international health policy goals?” As Associate Director of Penn Nursing’s Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research, he directs highly visible studies that draw on his expertise in nursing, law, public health, and health services research to evaluate how nursing can be a force for quality, equity, and innovation in health services. 

As principal investigator on multiple large-scale studies funded by NIH, AHRQ, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Dr. McHugh’s work has advanced the field of nursing outcomes and policy research by showing the value of investing in nursing as a vehicle to achieve a higher functioning health care system. For example, Dr. McHugh has conducted studies directly evaluating implemented policy; papers from his AHRQ-funded study evaluating the impact of a California law mandating minimum nurse-to-patient ratios in hospitals have been published in leading policy journals including Health Affairs and The Milbank Quarterly. He is now evaluating a new nurse-to-patient ratio mandate in Queensland, Australia. Dr. McHugh has also carried out a number of studies evaluating the impact of nurse practitioner scope-of-practice restrictions and Medicaid reimbursement rates on access to care.

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