Sue Popkess-Vawter, RN, PhD, APRN

BSN, University of Kansas
MS, University of Kansas
PhD, University of Texas

Sue Popkess-Vawter, PhD, RN has dedicated over 40 years to nursing education and research, 34 of which have been spent at the KU School of Nursing.

In past research, funded by the National Institutes Health-National Institute of Nursing Research, Professor Sue Popkess-Vawter, PhD, RN, focused on weight cyclers' psychological relationships with food, such as eating for reward, comfort, and anger control. Popkess-Vawter developed a weight management program called the Holistic Self-care for Healthy Weight. The program is based on Apter's Reversal Theory, which holds that people naturally move among eight specific but mutually exclusive mental states, as a basis for cognitive restructuring to identify negative self-talk that can lead to overeating, skipping exercise, and feeling bad about self. She offered services through the faculty practice corporation of KU Health Partners, Inc. in several genres: (a) a caseload of clients in independent weight management counseling format; (b) a corporate program offered weekly in a large group format; (c) a telephonic program offered weekly in Lunch 'n Learn format; and (d) a Telehealth program offered over six months in an Interactive TeleVision (ITV) format. Currently, Popkess-Vawter and co-researcher Dr. Kelli Kramer-Jackman are testing scales to measure tension and stress related to overeating, skipping exercise, and feeling bad about self that are administered in online format.

Dr. Popkess-Vawter, who has taught nursing courses in the traditional classroom and via the Internet through KU Medical Center's Virtual Classroom, has served as Chairperson for 12 Doctoral students' dissertation committees, 45 Master's students' thesis committees, and 46 Masters students' research project committees. She served as a committee member on 23 students' dissertations committees, 30 Master's students' thesis committees, and 54 Master's students' oral examination committees. In the new Doctor of Nursing Practice program, she served as Co-chairperson and member for 3 DNP students.

After earning both her bachelor of science and master's degrees in nursing from the University of Kansas, she received her doctorate degree in nursing from the University of Texas.

Selected Practice & Research Publications

  • Kramer, K., Luder, M., & Popkess-Vawter, S. (2004). Nursing practice mailed client surveys as a source of evidence-based data. Nurse Practitioner World News, 9, 9-11.
  • Popkess-Vawter, S. (2004). Weight Management Strategies: A Holistic Approach. 7.5 CEU Independent Study offered through Professional Continuing Education.
  • Popkess-Vawter, S., Gajewski, B., & Yoder, E. (2005). The role of spirituality in holistic weight management, Clinical Nursing Research,14, 158-174.
  • Popkess-Vawter, S. (2010). Weight Management, in Fitzpatrick, J., Encyclopedia of Nursing Research.
  • Kramer-Jackman, K., & Popkess-Vawter, S. (2011). Method for technology-delivered healthcare measures, Computers, Informatics, Nursing, 29(12), 730-740.
  • Popkess-Vawter, S. (2012). Chapter 22 Weight Management, (6th Ed.), in Dossey, B., et al., Handbook of Holistic Nursing, 415-442. 

View profile

Last modified: Sep 04, 2014


Sue Popkess-Vawter, RN, PhD, APRN

P: (913) 588-3373