Distinguished Scientist: Nancy Waltman, Ph.D.

February 04, 2016

Image with caption: Nancy Waltman, Ph.D.

Nancy Waltman, Ph.D.

This profile is part of a series to highlight the researchers who will be honored at a ceremony for UNMC's 2015 Scientist Laureate, Research Leadership, Distinguished Scientist and New Investigator Award recipients.

The Distinguished Scientist Award

The Distinguished Scientist Award -- which is sponsored by the chancellor -- recognizes researchers who have been among the most productive scientists in the country during the past five years.

  • Name: Nancy Waltman, Ph.D.
  • Title: Professor at UNMC College of Nursing
  • Joined UNMC: January 1980
  • Hometown: Seward, Neb.

Research focus:
Prevention of osteoporosis

Describe your research briefly in layman's terms.
My present research study tests the effectiveness of three study treatments for preventing further bone loss in women who are osteopenic (low bone mass) and are within 5 years post-menopause. Women who are osteopenic are at increased risk for severe bone loss or osteoporosis. Without the protective effect of estrogen, bone loss can occur rapidly during the first 5 years post-menopause.

The three study treatments are:

  • calcium and vitamin D (CaD) supplements;
  • the bisphosphonate "risedronate" and CaD; and
  • a bone-loading exercise program and CaD.

Women will be randomly assigned to one of the three study treatment groups, and after 12 months of treatment, changes in bone mineral density and bone structure will be evaluated in women in each group. My co-principal investigator for this research study is Laura Bilek, Ph.D., of the College of Allied Health Professions.

How does your research contribute to science and/or health care?
Results of this study could be used in developing a clinical management pathway for women with osteopenia (low bone mass) at their peak period of bone loss that would involve lifestyle modifications such as exercises prior to medications such as the bisphosphonates.

What is the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you, professional or personal?

  • Be persistent -- don't quit trying. Manuscripts generally are revised a number of times before they are published. Grant proposals may not get funded on the first submission.
  • Friendships and networking are important. Other people can help you to grow both personally and professionally.

List three things few people know about you.

  • I worked as a staff nurse at 130th General Army Hospital in Nuremberg, Germany from 1969 to 1974.
  • I love to travel and have visited places few other Nebraskans have visited. For example, I visited Lebanon, Iran and Russia, as well as most of the countries in Europe.
  • Although most of the time as a nurse I have worked with adult medical-surgical patients, I have, on three occasions, worked as a staff nurse on psychiatric units.