Tonda L. Hughes, PhD, RN, FAAN 


Professor of Nursing (in Psychiatry)

Director, Global Health Research, School of Nursing


Dr. Tonda Hughes, PhD, RN, FAAN is currently Professor of Nursing (in Psychiatry) and Director of Global Health Research in the School of Nursing. She is former Collegiate Professor and Associate Dean for Global Health in the College of Nursing at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) where she currently holds the title of Professor Emerita. Dr. Hughes holds honorary professorships at two Australian Universities: Deakin University in Melbourne and the University of Technology in Sydney, as well as at Oxford Brookes University in Oxford, England and at the University of Pennsylvania in the U.S.

Dr. Hughes has a distinguished career in substance abuse research focusing on women’s mental health (total funding exceeding $20 million USD in direct costs) and is an internationally recognized expert in sexual minority (lesbian and bisexual) women’s health.  Her pioneering studies on the predictors and consequences of hazardous drinking use among sexual minority women have received funding since 1999 from the National Institutes of Health 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 where she was a Visiting Professor from 2009-2014.

While at UIC Hughes was involved in several international capacity building projects including (1) Building an effective partnership for innovative nursing education and research to advance public health in India funded by the US-India Educational Foundation, Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative (PI); (2) Rwanda Human Resources for Health (UIC Project PI); and (3) Building research capacity in low- and middle-income countries concerning the major global health problem of migration-related non-communicable diseases. NIH and Fogarty International.

Hughes has published more than 160 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and scholarly papers and has presented at numerous national and international scientific conferences. She serves or has served as consultant to many U.S. Federal agencies and institutes such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institute on Drug Abuse and National Institute on Mental Health, and to researchers in the U.S., Australia, Canada, India, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Africa, South Korea, and Thailand.

The impact of Dr. Hughes’ research is evident in the many awards she has received from diverse organizations. Examples include research awards from the Illinois Nurses Society on Addictions, the International Nurses Society on Additions, and Sigma Theta Tau International. She has been honored as outstanding alumnus by both Eastern Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky, and by induction into the American Academy of Nursing, the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame and the University of Kentucky, College of Nursing Hall of Fame. Recent awards include the 2014 Distinguished Research Contribution Award from the Midwest Nursing Research Society (MNRS), the 2014 Inaugural UIC College of Nursing Distinguished Researcher Award, the 2014 Betty Ford Award from the Association of Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (AMERSA), and induction into the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame in 2015. Professor Hughes was one of 7 faculty members from all disciplines selected as 2015 University Scholar at UIC. In 2016, she received the Achievement Award for Exemplary Commitment to Improving the Health of LGBT People, and the Award of Excellence from the Nursing Section of GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality. Most recently she was one of four individuals to receive the 2017 Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice Recognition Award for contributions in behavioral health that create humane social justice policy.