Aleksandra Zgierska, MD, PhD

Aleksandra Zgierska photo

Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine



Aleksandra Zgierska, MD, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine. Her studies are rooted in her clinical practice in family medicine and addiction medicine, and focus on substance use disorders (primarily opioids) and opioid-treated chronic pain. Dr. Zgierska’s research includes clinical trials of innovative interventions, implementation and health services research, and development of interactive training programs for clinicians on the management of substance misuse. Her current projects include a multi-center randomized clinical trial evaluating mindfulness meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy for improving health and reducing reliance on opioids in adults with opioid-treated chronic pain; implementation and evaluation of an innovative, community-based “smart policing” program, Madison Addiction Recovery Initiative, that will apply a “treat instead of arrest” approach to those involved in minor drug-related crimes; assessment of EHR-based predictors of clinician adherence to opioid prescribing guidelines; and trials of interventions aimed at improving clinicians’ opioid prescribing practices. As president of the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, she is involved in state-wide and national efforts to improve access to, and outcomes in, substance use disorders.

Research Funding

Comparative Effectiveness Randomized Controlled Trial of Mindfulness Meditation versus Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Opioid-Treated Chronic Low Back Pain
PCORI, 2017-2021
Role: Principal Investigator

Madison Addiction Recovery Initiative
US Department of Justice, 2017-2019
Role: Research Principal Investigator

Maximizing Outcomes and Safety of Long-Term Opioid Therapy in Chronic Non-Cancer Pain: Correlates of Clinician Adherence to Evidence-Based Treatment Guidelines
Pfizer Unrestricted Investigator-Initiated Research, WI194536, 2016-2017
Role: Principal Investigator

Improving Responsible Opioid Prescribing for Individuals with Chronic Pain
Pfizer Unrestricted Investigator-Initiated Research, 2015-2017
Role: Co-Principal Investigator

Recent Publications (selected)

Fuller-Rowell TE, Curtis DS, El-Sheikh M, Duke AD, Ryff CD, Zgierska A. Racial discrimination mediates race differences in sleep problems: A longitudinal analysis. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology (in press).

Zgierska AE, Burzinski C, Cox J, Kloke J, Stegner A, Cook D, Singles J, Mirgain S, Coe C, Bačkonja M. Mindfulness Meditation and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Intervention Reduces Pain Severity and Sensitivity in Opioid-Treated Chronic Low Back Pain: Pilot Findings from a Randomized Controlled Trial. Pain Medicine (in press).

Zgierska AE, Burzinski CA, Cox J, Kloke J, Singles J, Mirgain S, Stegner A, Cook DB, Bačkonja M. Mindfulness Meditation-Based Intervention is Feasible, Acceptable and Safe for Chronic Low Back Pain Requiring Long-Term Daily Opioid Therapy. J Altern Complement Med 2016;22(8):610-20.

Curtis D, Fuller-Rowell TE, Doan SN, Zgierska AE, Ryff CD. Racial and Socioeconomic Disparities in Body Mass Index among College Students: Understanding the Role of Early Life Adversity. J Behav Med 2016;39(5):866-75.

Andrew Quanbeck A, Brown RT, Zgierska AE, Johnson RA, Robinson JM, Jacobson N. Systems Consultation: A Novel Implementation Strategy to Promote Evidence-Based Practice in Primary Care. Health Res Policy Syst. 2016;14(1):8.

Rösner S, Willutzki R, Zgierska A. Mindfulness-based interventions for substance use disorders. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 6.

Rabago D, Mundt M, Zgierska A, Grettie J. Hypertonic dextrose injection (prolotherapy) for knee osteoarthritis: Long term outcomes.Complement Ther Med. 2015;23(3):388-95.

Hayer SD, Rabago D, Amaza IP, Kille T, Coe C, Zgierska A, Zakletskaia L, Mundt M, Krahn D, Molander R. Effectiveness of nasal irrigation for chronic rhinosinusitis and fatigue in patients with gulf war illness: Protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Contemporary Clinical Trials 2015;41:219-226

Zgierska A, Wallace ML, Burzinski CA, Cox J, Backonja M. Pharmacological and toxicological profile of opioid-treated, chronic low back pain patients entering a mindfulness intervention randomized controlled trial. J Opioid Manag, 2014;10(5):323-35.

Zgierska A, Amaza I, Brown RL, Mundt M, Fleming M. Unhealthy drug use-- How to screen, when to intervene. J Fam Pract. 2014;63(9):524-30. 

Zgierska A, Rabago D, Miller M. Impact of Patient Satisfaction Ratings on Physicians and Clinical Care. Patient Preference and Adherence, 2014:8.437-446. 

Rabago D, Patterson J J, Mundt M, Zgierska A, Fortney L, Grettie J, Kijowski R. Dextrose and morrhuate sodium injections (prolotherapy) for knee osteoarthritis: A prospective open label trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2014 May;20(5):383-91. 

Quick Links

Contact Us

Health Innovation Program
University of Wisconsin 
800 University Bay Drive
Suite 210, Box 9445
Madison, WI 53705 

Join Our Email List

Learn about upcoming events and other news of interest. You can unubscribe at any time.

2 + 8 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.

IT Help

For urgent requests, please call the HIP IT staff at 608-262-8301.

Please e-mail other IT requests or issues, with as many details as possible, to

To reset your password for your HIP computer or remote access, go to 

Known UW IT outages are available on the DoIT site.

Follow Us

Twitter logoLinkedIn Logofacebook logoGoogle Plus logo

Privacy Statement | Terms & Conditions | Copyright 2006-2016 Health Innovation Program, University of Wisconsin  Back to Top