Joan Pennington Totka, Ph.D., RN

Joan Pennington Totka
Joan Pennington Totka, Ph.D., RNMarquette University

Clark Hall, 345

MilwaukeeWI53201United States of America
(414) 288-0506

Joint Clinical Associate Professor

Highest Degree and Institution

Ph.D., University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

Courses Taught

NURS 4000:  Quality and Safety in Nursing

NURS 4995: Independent Study in Nursing

NURS 6010: Research and Evidence

NURS 6825: Quality and Patient Safety in Healthcare

HEAL 7010:  Translational Research

Research Interests

Dr. Totka holds a joint position between Marquette University and Children’s Wisconsin. The aim of her program of research is to develop, implement, evaluate, and disseminate evidence-based programs and resources to support clinical teams working with youth with chronic illness and their families. Partnering with interprofessional teams, she uses implementation strategies to translate research into practice.  She has experience conducting mixed methods research and engages with those interprofessional teams to holistically individualize care.  Current research involves integrating patient reported outcome measures, such as social determinants of health, quality of life, depression, anxiety, and disease specific measures into clinical practice.

Professional Affiliations

American Association of Diabetes Educators

International Family Nursing Association  

Midwest Nursing Research Society

Sigma Theta Tau International - Eta Nu Chapter


Pediatrics: care and education of children with chronic illness and their families.

Research: Evidence-based practice, Implementation Science, Translational Research, Qualitative Research.


Link to Marquette University E-Publications - Totka

Honors and Awards

Sigma Theta Tau Doctoral Poster Award     
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee  Type 1 Diabetes: Factors that affect youth and parent HRQOL and youth A1c

Sigma Theta Tau Excellence in Education Award
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Demonstrated excellence in supporting clinical and family education.

Association for the Care of Children in Hospitals (ACCH)

Award for Innovation
For the development of an innovative outpatient program for children newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and their families that included outpatient initiation of insulin and a year-long program of multidisciplinary education to support their care at home.

Julie Lathrop Nursing Research Award
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin- one award per year for demonstrated excellence in nursing
Exploring the Boundaries of Pediatric Practice: Nurse Stories Related to Relationships (a qualitative study using Heideggerian hermeneutical analysis)
Nursing Transitions during the first year of practice (a mixed methods program evaluation study)


2020: Co-I (PI: Aubel, B, Co-I Wolfgram, P, Kaugars, A, Fannin R.).Documenting prevalence, patient characteristics, and mental health interventions offered to youth with diabetes and positive depression screens.” Medical College of Wisconsin Devin Wyatt Memorial Research Grant

2019-2020: PI (Co-I Wolfgram, P., Steinberg, J., Kaugars, A.) “Patient and Provider Experience Using PRO’s in High Risk Asthma and Diabetes Clinics”