Tonda Hughes, PhD, RN, FAAN

  • Professor
  • Associate Dean for Global Health, College of Nursing
  • Research Director, UIC National Center of Excellence in Women's Health
  • Co-Director, UIC Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH)

Dr. Hughes has a distinguished career focusing on women’s mental health and substance use (total funding exceeding $20 million USD). She is well known for her ground breaking work in the 1980s related to chemically dependent nurses, and is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in the area of alcohol use among sexual minority (lesbian and bisexual) women.  Her pioneering studies on the predictors and consequences of alcohol use among sexual minority women have received continuous funding since 1999 from the U.S. National Institutes of Health and other sources and have grown into the world’s longest running longitudinal study of alcohol use and health among sexual minority women. She has served as Co-Investigator on numerous other funded studies with researchers from major U.S. and Australian institutions, including the University of Melbourne and Deakin University.

Current Area of Teaching

Dr. Hughes supervises masters, doctoral and postdoctoral students and fellows. Prior to assuming her previous administrative role as Head of the Department Health Systems Science, she taught graduate core courses in the UIC Interdisciplinary Women’s Health Concentration. She has participated in more than a dozen training grants and has served as mentor or consultant to numerous researchers at UIC, throughout the US, and in Canada, India, Thailand, Rwanda, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. She serves as primary and national mentor for two Robert Wood Johnson Faculty Nurse Scholars. In addition, she is currently co-investigator/co-director of the UIC Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) (PI: S. Geller), NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health, K12 HD055892, 2007-2017 and is part of the leadership team for a National Institutes of Health and Fogarty International Center, D43 (PI, S. Weine). This project focuses on building research capacity in low- and middle-income countries concerning the major global health problem of migration-related non-communicable diseases.

Selected Honors & Awards

The impact of Dr. Hughes’ research is evident in the myriad awards she has received from diverse organizations on local, national, and international levels. 

  • 2015    International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame, Sigma Theta Tau International.
  • 2014    Distinguished Researcher Award, University of Illinois College of Nursing
  • 2014    Betty Ford Award (National), Association of Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse
  • 2014    Distinguished Contribution Award, Midwest Nursing Research Society
  • 2011    Inducted into University of Kentucky, College of Nursing, Hall of Fame
  • 2010    Outstanding Alumni Award. One of 50 outstanding alumni honored at the 50th anniversary celebration of the University of Kentucky College of Nursing
  • 2010    Fellow, Leadership for Academic Nursing, American Association of Colleges of Nursing
  • 2009    Nursing Leadership Recognition Award, Sigma Theta Tau (Alpha Lambda Chapter)
  • 2008    Honorary Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
  • 2006    Oak Park Area Lesbian and Gay Association, OPAL Award (for contributions to LGBT health)
  • 2003    Inducted into Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, Chicago Commission on Human  Relations
  • 2003    Community Leadership Award, Chicago Lesbian Community Cancer Project
  • 2002    Research Award, Sigma Theta Tau International (Alpha Lambda Chapter)
  • 2001    Fellow, American Academy of Nursing
  • 1998    Research Award, Outstanding Contributions to Addictions Research, National Nurses Society on Addictions
  • 1996    Graduate Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award, UIC Graduate Student Organization
  • 1995    Outstanding Alumnus, College of Allied Health and Nursing, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky
  • 1992    Teaching Award (Integration of substance abuse into undergraduate nursing curriculum), UIC, HIGH 5 Project (Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education [FIPSE])
  • 1991    Research Award (Outstanding contributions to addictions research), Illinois Nurses Society on Addictions
  • 1990    Dean’s Award, outstanding PhD graduate, UIC College of Nursing. Selected on the basis of scholarship, research, and scholarly productivity
  • 1989    American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award for Addiction in the Nursing Profession: Approaches to Intervention and Recovery (Co-edited with M. Haack)
Selected Publications

Dr. Hughes has more than 140 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and other scholarly papers to her credit—as well as scores of scientific paper presentations, workshops and invited addresses at national and international research conferences.

Selected Publications

Google Scholar H index=30; i10 index=60; Scopus H index=24; Peer-reviewed1, Data-based2

  • Hughes, T.L. & Sommers, L. (accepted). Health disparities among sexual minority women: A global perspective. (accepted).  The Lancet. 2
  • Hughes, T.L., Wilsnack, S.C. & Kantor, L. (accepted). Alcohol use and alcohol-related problems: Toward a global perspective. Alcohol Research: Current Reviews. 1
  • Martin, K., Johnson, T.P. & Hughes, T.L. (accepted). Using respondent driven sampling (RDS) to recruit sexual minority women. Survey Practice. 1,2
  • Talley, A.E., Aranda, F.A., Hughes, T.L., Everett, B., & Johnson, T. (accepted). Longitudinal associations among discordant sexual orientation dimensions and hazardous drinking in a cohort of sexual minority women. Journal of Health and Social Behavior. 1,2
  • Bostwick, W.B., Hughes, T.L. & Everett, B. (2015, March 11, [Epub ahead of print]). Health behavior, status and outcomes among a community-based sample of lesbian and bisexual women. LGBT Health.1,2doi:10.1089/lgbt.2014.0074.
  • Hughes, T.L. (2015, March 16, [Epub ahead of print]). Developing a research career focusing on a stigmatized and marginalized population: Sexual minority women’s drinking. Substance Abuse. 2 doi:10.1080/08897077.2015.1007202
  • Bostwick, W. B., Boyd, C., Hughes, T.L., McCabe, S.E., & West, B. (2014). Discrimination and mental health among lesbian, gay and bisexual adults in the United States. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 84(1), 35-45.1,2  doi: 10.1037/h0098851. PMID: 24826824.
  • Bostwick, W.B., Meyer, I.H., Aranda, F., Russell, S., Hughes, T.L., Bickett, M., & Mustanski, B. (2014).  Mental health and suicidality among racially diverse sexual minority youth. American Journal of Public Health, 104,6, 1129-1136. 1,2  doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301749. PMID: 24825217.
  • Hughes, T.L., Johnson, T.P., Steffen, A., Wilsnack, S.C., & Everett, B. (2014). Lifetime victimization, hazardous drinking and depression among heterosexual and sexual minority women. LGBT Health, 1(3), 1-12. 1,2 doi:10.1089/lgbt.2014.0014.
  • Kaysen, D., Kulesza, M., Balsam, K., Rhew, I., Blaynley, J., Lehavot, K., & Hughes, T.L. (2014). Coping as a mediator of internalized homophobia and psychological distress among young adult sexual minority women. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 1(3), 225-233. doi: 10.1037/sgd0000045 1,2
  • Matthews, A.K., Riley, B., Everett, B., Hughes, T.L., Aranda, F., Johnson, T.P. (2014).  A longitudinal study of the correlates of persistent smoking among sexual minority women. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 16 (9), 1199-1206.1,2  
  • Talley, A., Hughes, T.L. (co-lead authors), Aranda, F., Bickett, M., & Marshal, M. (2014). Exploring the impact of sexual orientation on alcohol-use behaviors in adolescents: Intersections with sex, age and ethnicity. American Journal of Public Health, 104(2), 295-303. 1,2 doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301627. PMID: 24328614.
  • Alvy, L., Hughes, T.L., Wilsnack, S.C., & Kristjanson, A.F.  (2013). Sexual identity group differences in child abuse and neglect. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 28(10), 2088-21111,2  doi: 10.1177/0886260512471081. PMID: 23345571.
  • Corte, C., Matthews, A.K, Brown, R. & Hughes, T.L. (2013). Advancing health equity in disparity populations. A focused issue on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.  Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 19, 239-240. doi:10.1177/1078390313505767. PMID: 24251332.
  • Johnson, T.P., Hughes, T.L., Cho, Y., Wilsnack, S.C., Aranda, F., & Szalacha, L. (2013). Hazardous drinking, depression and anxiety among sexual minority women: Self-medication or impaired functioning?  Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs,74(4), 565-575.1,2 PMID: 23739020.
  • Marshal, M.P., Dermot, S.S., Cheong, J.W., Burton, C.M., Friedman, M.S., Aranda, F., & Hughes, T.L. (2013). Trajectories of depressive symptoms and suicidality among heterosexual and sexual minority youth. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42, 1243-1256. 1,2 doi:10.1007/s10964-013-0070-0. PMID: 23784511.
  • Matthews, A.K., Young, C., Hughes, T.L., Wilsnack, S.C., & Johnson, T.P. (2013). The influence of childhood physical abuse on adult health status in sexual minority women:  The mediating role of smoking. Women’s Health Issues, 23(2), 95-102.1,2  doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2012.11.007. PMID: 23415321.
  • Wilsnack, S.C., Kristjanson, A.F., Hughes, T.L., & Benson, P.W. (2012). Characteristics of childhood sexual abuse in lesbian and heterosexual women. Child Abuse and Neglect, 36(3), 260-265.1,2 doi:  10.1016/j.chiabu.2011.10.008. PMID: 22425697.
  • McCabe, S.E., Hughes, T.L., Bostwick, W.B. & Morales, M., & Boyd, C. (2011). Measurement of sexual identity in surveys: Implications for substance abuse research. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41, 649-657. 1,2  doi: 10.1007/s10508-011-9768-7. PMID: 21573706.
  • Bloomfield, K., Wicki, M., Wilsnack, S.C., Hughes, T.L., & Geml, G. (2011).  International differences in alcohol use according to sexual orientation. Substance Abuse, 32, 210-219.1,2  doi: 10.1080/08897077.2011.598404. PMID: 22014251
  • Hughes, T.L. (2011). Alcohol use and alcohol-related problems among sexual minority women. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 29, 403-435.1  PMID: 16353369.
  • McNair, R. P., Szalacha, L.A., & Hughes, T.L. (2011). Health status, health services use, and satisfaction according to sexual identity of young Australian women. Women’s Health Issues, 21, 40-47.1,2  PMID: 21185989.
  • Bostwick, W.B., Boyd, C.J., Hughes, T.L., & McCabe, S.E. (2010). Dimensions of sexual orientation and the prevalence of mood and anxiety disorders in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 100, 468-475.1,2  PMCID: PMC2820045.
  • Hughes, T.L., McCabe, S.E., Wilsnack, S.C., Boyd, C., & West, B.T. (2010). Victimization and substance use disorders in a national sample of heterosexual and sexual minority women and men. Addiction, 105, 2130-2140.1,2   PMCID: PMC3006226.
  • Hughes, T.L., Szalacha, L.A. & McNair, R.P.  (2010). Substance use and mental health disparities: Comparisons across sexual identity groups in a national sample of young Australian women. Social Science & Medicine, 71, 824-831.1,2  PMID: 20579794.
  • McCabe, S.E., Bostwick, W.B., Hughes, T.L., West, B.T., & Boyd, C.J. (2010). The relationship between discrimination and substance use disorders among lesbian, gay and bisexual adults in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 100, 1946-1952.1,2  PMID: 20075317.
  • McCabe, S.E., Hughes, T.L., Bostwick, W.B., West, B.T., & Boyd, C.J. (2009). Sexual orientation, substance use behaviors and substance dependence in the United States. Addiction, 14, 1333-1345.1,2   PMCID: PMC2975030.
  • Hughes, T.L., Johnson, T.P., & Matthews, A. (2008). Sexual orientation and smoking: Results from the Multi-site Women’s Health Study. Substance Use & Misuse, 43(8-9), 1218-1239.1,2  PMCID: PMC2882163.
  • Wilsnack, S.C., Hughes, T.L., Johnson, T.P., Bostwick, W.B., Szalacha, L.A., Benson, P., Aranda, F., & Kinnison, K.E. (2008).  Drinking and drinking-related problems among heterosexual and sexual minority women. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 69, 129-139.1,2  PMID:18080073.
  • Aaron, D.J. & Hughes, T.L. (2007). Association of childhood sexual abuse to obesity in a community sample of lesbians. Obesity, 15, 1023-1028.1,2  PMID: 17426338.
  • Hughes, T.L., Johnson, T.P., Wilsnack, S.C., & Szalacha, L. (2007). Childhood risk factors for alcohol abuse and psychological distress among adult lesbians. Child Abuse & Neglect, 31(7), 769-789.1,2   PMCID: PMC2600503.
  • Hughes, T.L., Wilsnack, S.C., Szalacha, L.A., Johnson, T., Bostwick, W.B. , Seymour, R. , Aranda, F., Benson, P., & Kinnison, K.E. (2006). Age and racial/ethnic differences in drinking and drinking-related problems in a community sample of lesbians.  Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 67, 579-590.1,2  PMID: 6736078.
  • Hughes, T.L. (2005). Alcohol use and alcohol-related problems among lesbians and gay men. Annual Review of Nursing Research, 23, 283-325. PMID: 16353369.
  • McCabe, S.E., Hughes, T.L., Bostwick, W. & Boyd, C. (2005). Assessment of differences in dimensions of sexual orientation: Implications for substance use research in a college-age population. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 66, 620-629. 1,2   PMID: 16331847.
  • McCabe, S.E., Hughes, T.L., & Boyd, C. (2004). Substance use and misuse: Are bisexual women at greater risk? Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 36(2), 217-225.1,2  PMID: 15369203.
  • Hughes, T.L. (2003). Lesbians’ drinking patterns: Beyond the data. Substance Use and Misuse, 38, 1739-1758.1,2   PMID: 14582576.
  • Hughes, T.L., Matthews, A., Razzano, C., & Aranda, F. (2003). Psychological distress in African American lesbian and heterosexual women.  Journal of Lesbian Studies, 7(1), 51-68.1,2
  • McCabe, S.E., Boyd, C.J., Hughes, T.L. & d’Arcy, H. (2003). Sexual identity and substance use among undergraduate students.  Substance Abuse, 24(2), 77-91.1,2  PMID: 12766375.
  • Hughes, T.L., & Eliason, M. (2002). Substance use and abuse in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations. The Journal of Primary Prevention, 22(3), 263-298.1 doi: 10.1023/a:1013669705086
  • Matthews, A., Hughes, T.L., Razzano, L., Johnson, T., & Cassidy, R. (2002). Prediction of depressive distress in a community sample of women: The role of sexual orientation. American Journal of Public Health, 92(7), 1131-1139.1,2  PMID: 12084697.
  • Hughes, T.L., Johnson, T., & Wilsnack, S.C. (2001). Sexual assault and alcohol abuse: A comparison of lesbians and heterosexual women. Journal of Substance Abuse, 13, 515-532.1,2  PMID: 11775080.
  • Nawyn, S., Richman, J., Rospenda, K., & Hughes, T.L.  (2000). Sexual Identity and alcohol-related outcomes: Contributions of workplace harassment. Journal of Substance Abuse, 11, 289-304.1,2  PMID:11026127.
  • Hughes, T.L. & Wilsnack, S.C.  (1997). Use of alcohol among lesbians: Research and clinical implications.  American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 67(1), 20-36.1 PMID:9034019
  • Hughes, T.L. & Wilsnack, S. (1994). Research on lesbians and alcohol: Gaps and implications.  Alcohol Health and Research World, 18(3), 202-205.1
Current Research

Current Research Grants

2015-2017     E-Diaries to assess health effects of microag​gressions among bisexual women (PI: Bostwick; Co-I: T. Hughes). National Institute on Minority Health & Health Disparities, R21MD009585, $371,583.

2014-2019     Sexual orientation differences: Prevalence & correlates of substance use & abuse (PIs: Drabble & Trocki, University of San Jose & Alcohol Research Group, Berkeley, Co-PI: T. Hughes). National Institute on Drug Abuse, R01DA036606. $2,034,442 (Direct costs).

2010-2015     Young sexual minority women and high risk drinking (PI: D. Kaysen, University of Washington, Co-I: T. Hughes). National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, R01AA018292, $2,158,044 (Direct costs).

2009-2015     Cumulative stress and hazardous drinking in a community sample of lesbians (PI: T. Hughes). National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2R01AA013328. $2,118,222 (Direct costs).

Research Training Grants

2014-2017     Building an effective partnership for innovative nursing education and research to advance public health in India. (PI: T. Hughes). US-India Educational Foundation, Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative. $190,000.

2014-2020     Rwanda Human Resources for Health Program
To address Rwanda’s critical human resource shortage in the health professions, this program utilizes the skills and knowledge of US-based faculty in nursing/midwifery, health management and medical education, to expand and improve the existing Rwandan health education system with the long-term goal of creating a world-class, sustainable health care system for the country. UIC Project PI

2014-2019     Building research capacity in low- and middle-income countries concerning the major global health problem of migration-related non-communicable diseases. (PI: S. Weine, UIC College of Medicine). National Institutes of Health and Fogarty International Center, D43. Faculty and Member of UIC Leadership Team.

2007–2017     Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) (PI: S. Geller, Co-Investigator/Co-Director: T. Hughes). NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health, K12 HD055892-06, $462,959 (Direct costs).

2000–Present     AIDS International Training and Research Program at UIC. (PI: J. Levy, UIC School of Public Health). National Institutes of Health and Fogarty International Center, D43 TW001419. Research Training Faculty.