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The UW School of Nursing has a national and international reputation for excellence. An unusually fertile environment for nursing research guides and shapes its baccalaureate and graduate educational programs. It also builds practice that emphasizes leadership skills for the health care needs of a multicultural world.


Box 357260
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195
Phone: 206-543-8736

Patricia A. Betrus, PhD, RN, BC-PMHCNS
Associate Professor

Psychosocial & Community Health
Box 357263
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-7263

Email Address:


My area of expertise is in psychiatric mental health, specializing in women. My doctoral preparation is in physiological psychology with an emphasis in neuroscience. My research focuses primarily on the mental health of women. Specifically, I am interested in women who have experienced or are experiencing depression, trauma and violence in their lives. A current focus of research is on perinatal mental health of women the effects upon their newborns. My theoretical frame used in my research is seen through an epigenetic perspective. Epigenetics, the study of how the our genetic code responds to and changes within environments, directs the investigation of both psychosocial variables and neurophysiological data, to look at the interaction and changes that occur over time. This approach also allows investigators to study changes and patterns intergenerationally.


I have taught undergraduate pathophysiology, communications and clinical rotations, Professional Transitions, and Professional Foundations. In the graduate program (MN, DNP, and PhD), I have taught or am teaching biological basis of mental health, psycho pharmacology, Psychiatric Mental Health interpersonal theory, epigenetics, Emotions and Mental Health: from adversity to adaptation and graduate research methods. I also each a module on perinatal mental health and trauma/abuse. Several times a year I provide clinical supervision for MN and DNP students in clinical agencies.

Practice, Service, Community Involvement

I am a practicing clinician with certification as a PMHCNS. At the current time I am not engaged in active practice, so am limited consultation to colleagues. I am also involved in working outside of the university in animal related support groups. I am a keen sheepherder when not at work. Currently, health limits my activities.

Current Research Projects

June of 2011, our HRSA grant on " Advanced Nursing in Women's Mental Health: Pregnancy and Postpartum was funded. I am a co-investigator on this grant. Yoriko Kozuki (PI).

5-yr. Grant from VA to study Domestic Violence in men with and without PTSD. Dr. April Gerlock (PI), I was consultant to this endeavor. ended 2011.

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