Our Team
Principal Investigator
Nancy Waltman, RN, PhD, ANP  

Dr. Waltman joined UNMC in 1980 and has a master’s degree in nursing, a doctoral degree in educational administration, and is a certified nurse practitioner. Her clinical background includes medical/surgical nursing, oncology, psychiatrics, and she has 15 years of experience as a part-time nurse practioner. She has received many awards and was a 2015 recipient of the Distinguished Scientist award at UNMC. She teaches graduate courses for the UNMC College of Nursing in addition to her research in Osteoporosis.
Nancy worked in the 130th General Army hospital in Nurnberg, Germany from 1979 to 1984 as a civilian nurse. There were many American troops in Germany to protect western European countries during the Cold War, so civilian nurses were hired because military nurses were needed in Vietnam. Nancy said of her time in Germany, “The hospital was open during the Nazi Regime so there were all kinds of tunnels under the building that were fun to explore.”
Bone health research is important to Nancy because as a nurse practioner she has provided care to patients with early bone loss (osteopenia) and the recommendations for treatment are not clear. Nancy states, “osteoporosis is a costly, debilitative, and deadly disease and we need more preventative treatments for women with early bone loss.” The purpose of the Heartland Osteoporosis Prevention Study is to contribute to the best practice guidelines for women with low bone density and to ultimately prevent Osteoporosis.
Nancy is married with two sons and enjoys spending time with her extended family. She loves to travel and has visited almost all 50 states in the U.S. and many countries in Europe and Asia.

Principal Investigator            
Laura Bilek, PT, PhD

Dr. Bilek is a 1988 graduate of the UNMC Physical Therapy program and also received her PhD through the Medical Sciences Interdepartmental Areas graduate program. She joined the UNMC faculty in 1994 and currently serves as the Associate Dean for Research in the College of Allied Health Professions. Laura has clinical experience in geriatric physical therapy in multiple settings.
The focus of Laura’s research has been the role of physical activity in the management of chronic disease and the effect of exercise on immune function.  She is honored to serve as a Co-Principal Investigator on the Heartland Osteoporosis Prevention Study to provide an important contribution to the understanding of how to prevent bone loss in women. “Postmenopausal women typically think about prevention of heart disease and diabetes, but don’t realize they also need to focus on bone health at this critical time,” Laura said.
Laura is married with four children and enjoys spending time gardening, hiking, and biking.