Co-Director, Center for Patient Partnerships; Clinical Professor
J.D. 2002, University of Wisconsin Law School
M.P.A. 2002, La Follette School of Public Affairs
B.A. 1995, Wesleyan University
Sarah Davis is Clinical Professor of Law and Co-Director, with Jill Jacklitz, MSSW, of the interdisciplinary Center for Patient Partnerships at the University of Wisconsin (housed at the Law School) where she teaches about patient advocacy, health and public health law, including in the service-learning program as supervising attorney.
Areas of interest include health professionals' advocacy roles, engaging patients in quality improvement and policymaking, building professionals' resiliency skills, and medical and legal curriculum transformation. Ms. Davis is also the Assoc. Director for LIFT Dane, a collaborative initiative to increase economic prosperity in Dane County by streamlining access to justice through technology and reforming court systems and public policies.
Ms. Davis was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Faculty Fellow in the Future of Public Health Law Program (2014-15). As a RWJF faculty fellow, she piloted a practice-based elearning course to complement public health law externships in local and remote locations. It is described in her article: Educating the New Public Health Law Professional. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 44, no. 1, Supp. (2016). She also serves as the Legal Advisor for the Wisconsin Alcohol Policy Project.
Her current scholarship includes developing an intervention to address health-harming legal issues in health clinics, and identifying dissemination and implementation barriers to engaging patients in continuous learning as part of health system quality improvement initiatives. Her study of law students' mindsets and the role it plays in professional development and well-being, was published in Law & Psychology Review (Spring 2018).
Publications include: Implementation Science Workshop: Engaging patients in Team-Based Practice Redesign-Critical Reflections on Program Design. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 2016:1-8; and The Affordable Care Act's Plan for Consumer Assistance With Insurance Moves States Forward But Remains A Work In Progress, Health Affairs, 32, no.2 (2013): 347-356.
The Center for Patient Partnerships, an interdisciplinary center of the Schools of Law, Medicine and Public Health, Nursing and Pharmacy, offers experiential patient advocacy education to students from those disciplines and others. The curriculum focuses on health advocacy, patient-centered care, and health systems change, offering a 12-credit certificate in Consumer Health Advocacy. The Center also infuses patients' voices into health systems reform, offering a critical link to health consumers' experiences. Learn more at www.patientpartnerships.org.
Scholarship & Publications
- Building an evidence-base for population health and health equity interventions
- Program implementation determinants to address health-harming legal issues
- Patient engagement in research and quality improvement efforts in health systems
- Law student professionalism and well-being
Sarah Davis has been appointed to Dane County's newly formed subcommittee looking into fines and fees, as part of the Public Protection and Judiciary Committee. The purpose of the subcommittee is to review fines and fees assessed in the civil, human services and criminal justice system and determine where the county can reduce or eliminate them.
Sarah Davis and Marsha Mansfield (along with their technology partner Nicole Bradick) presented "LIFT Dane: Technology-driven legal assistance to clear civil legal barriers" at the 2020 Self-Represented Litigation Conference, held in Nashville in March 2020.
Sarah Davis was lead discussant at a meeting of the National Quality Partners Action Team to Co-Design Patient-Centered Health Systems in March 2020. The group consists of experts and recognized leaders from the private and public sector committed to engaging patients as active partners to improve quality and patient safety.
Sarah Davis co-authored "The Jury Is In: Law Schools Foster Students' Fixed Mindsets," which appears in the current issue of Law & Psychology Review.
Sarah Davis co-authored, "Medicare shared savings programs: Higher cost accountable care organizations are more likely to achieve savings," which appears in the August edition of the International Journal of Healthcare Management.
Sarah Davis delivered the keynote address, "The Power of Partnering with Families to Transform Health," at the 2017 Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs Projects Summit held in Oshkosh in November. The theme of the event was "Advancing Family Engagement in Health Care Quality Improvement."
Sarah Davis presented "The Role of Advocacy and Engagement to Improve Health" at the International Health Policy Forum, held in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, in May. The forum was intended for health providers from Iran, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia to learn skills in advocacy, networking, organizational leadership and board governance and increase knowledge about international health rights and palliative care.
Sarah Davis presented "Understanding Health Experiences and Values in Order to Address Social Determinants of Health" at the Starfield Health Equity Summit, held in Portland, Oregon, in April 2017. The summit brought together health practitioners and thought leaders to create a blueprint for the role of academic organizations, health professions schools, family medicine and primary care in eliminating health disparities.
Sarah Davis co-edited the report, "Dane County LGBTQ+ Health and Wellness Profile: Research and Recommendations," for Public Health Madison & Dane County.
Sarah Davis's article, "Educating the New Public Health Law Professional," appeared in a Spring 2016 supplement to the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics. The supplement issue, "Transforming the Future of Public Health Law Education through a Faculty Fellowship Program," is the cumulative work of fellows, deans, mentors and project leaders, who participated in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Public Health Law faculty fellowship program during the 2014-15 academic year.
Sarah Davis co-authored “Implementation Science Workshop: Engaging Patients in Team-Based Practice Redesign—Critical Reflections on Program Design” (with Meg Gaines and others), which was published by the Journal of General Internal Medicine in March.
In September 2015, Sarah Davis presented at the Stanford Medicine X Ed conference at Stanford University School of Medicine. Davis's breakout session focused on two eLearning elective courses that Center for Patient Partnerships faculty created for the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.
Sarah Davis and Meg Gaines co-authored (with 5 others) "Engaging Patients at the Front Lines of Primary Care Redesign: Operational Lessons for an Effective Program," about their work leading a patient engagement effort at UW Health. The article appears in the December issue of the Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety. Several of the toolkits they created have also been made available to health systems through hipxchange.org/PatientEngagement.
In October, Sarah Davis participated on the panel, "Public Health Law in the Classroom," at the 2014 Public Health Law Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Her presentation focused on the use of elearning in health law.
News & Media
Friday, Jan 10, 2020UW Law's LIFT Dane project makes '20 Wisconsin startups to watch in 2020' list
Milwaukee Business Journal
Monday, Jul 1, 2019Sarah Davis and Marsha Mansfield comment on LIFT Dane's $1 million winning idea to raise net incomes of Dane County families
The Capital Times
Friday, Jun 13, 2014Sarah Davis discusses health insurance concerns for Wisconsin's newly wedded gay couples
Thursday, Feb 20, 2014Sarah Davis weighs in on the Affordable Care Act and health care access
Thursday, Nov 15, 2012Sarah Davis explains pros and cons of state healthcare exchanges
Monday, May 14, 2012Sarah Davis Discusses New Dual-Degree in Law and Public Health
Wisconsin Public Radio
- Consumer Law
- Health Law
- Health Law: Patient Advocacy
- Practice Skills
- Public Health Law