Andrea Gilmore-Bykovskyi receives 2023 Outstanding Women of Color Award

Andrea Gilmore-Bykovskyi, PhD, RN (in green) with Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin, Chief Diversity Officer LaVar J. Charleston, PhD, and the 2023 Outstanding Women of Color honorees.

Andrea Gilmore Bykovskyi, PhD, RN, associate professor with tenure and associate vice chair of research at the BerbeeWalsh Department of Emergency Medicine, is among six 2023 Outstanding Women of Color Award honorees at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Established in 2007, the annual awards acknowledge and honor women of color at the state’s flagship campus whose advocacy, activism, and/or scholarship has positively transformed their organizations or community, and whose efforts advance equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging for people of color. This year’s honorees include faculty and doctoral students from across the UW–Madison campus.

“[These women] are doing remarkable work in a variety of academic areas, including in environmental sciences, public health and medicine, anthropology, geoscience and more,” said UW–Madison Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin at an awards reception held on March 7 at Union South, held to coincide with Women’s History Month. “They are making such meaningful contributions, both seen and unseen, across our campus and within broader communities.”

As a practicing geriatric nurse, Gilmore-Bykovskyi leads an NIH-funded research program focused on promoting effective, equitable and meaningful care for people living with dementia. Her commitment to this line of work first took shape during her undergraduate training at UW–Madison, where she was introduced to the nursing discipline and opportunities to pursue research through a competitive BSN-to-PhD accelerated degree program. During this formative time, she also worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant in a Skilled Nursing Facility where she saw the incredible challenges, and opportunities, that shaped care for people facing dementia – which served as a lasting anchor and inspiration for the research program she now leads.

After obtaining her PhD in 2014, Gilmore-Bykovskyi completed an Advanced Fellowship at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital and a Claire M. Fagin Hartford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship. At UW–Madison, Gilmore-Bykovskyi and her research team have led advances in dementia-focused care research that have resulted in new areas of investigation on care-delivery patterns and outcomes of importance to people living with dementia and their caregivers. Her lab has developed novel approaches for data collection and outcome assessment of clinical research, all aimed at prioritizing and incorporating real-life experiences, perspectives, and narratives of individuals at every stage of scientific research.

“I want to pay close attention to what people living with dementia are telling us,” Gilmore-Bykovskyi said. “That lived experience is a key missing piece in many scientific puzzles.”

In her research endeavors, Gilmore-Bykovskyi prioritizes active engagement with community and clinicians, as well as direct collaboration with individuals affected by dementia and their caregivers. This inclusive approach ensures that their perspectives and experiences are fully integrated into all stages of the research process, yielding more comprehensive and impactful results. In recognition of her national leadership in dementia care research, she was selected to co-chair the third NIA/NIH National Dementia Care and Caregiving Research Summit in 2023.

Gilmore-Bykovskyi is a thought leader on personhood in dementia research and care who has been supported by NIA with research training and early career awards, including a Paul B. Beeson Emerging Leaders Career Development Award in Aging. Her active, NIA R33-funded study explores lucidity, which is the unexpected return of communication and functional abilities in people with advanced dementia. It is the first prospective observational study to investigate the phenomenon.

In 2017, Gilmore-Bykovskyi’s research lab launched the Brain Health Equity Initiative to foster direct community investment and capacity building to facilitate healthy brain aging. This initiative leverages coalition partnerships that are responsive to community priorities and needs, with the primary purpose of promoting brain health and health equity. A cornerstone program of the initiative, Brain and Body Fitness, has been offered in the greater Madison community through these partnerships since 2019. In parallel with this initiative, Gilmore-Bykovskyi has also developed seminal frameworks to advance the practice of scientific inclusion and research equity.

Gilmore-Bykovskyi’s focus on bringing an inclusive view to science and public health “has inspired many investigators, both new and experienced, to think holistically about health and health care research conduct,” said Elena Fazio, PhD, director of NIA’s Office of AD/ADRD Strategic Coordination, who has worked with Gilmore-Bykovskyi on the NIA/NIH Summit and several grants.

While her pioneering work as a clinician-scientist that has led to an exceptional international reputation, it is Gilmore-Bykovskyi’s ongoing commitment to mentoring and creating supportive environments for mentees of color that is “her most significant and lasting influence,” according to Manish N. Shah, MD, MPH, professor and chair of the BerbeeWalsh Department of Emergency Medicine. Across her research, she has mentored 46 trainees from a range of programs and disciplines, and she is passionate about teaching research and building research infrastructure that facilitates meaningful advances in practice and care.

“Dr. Gilmore-Bykovskyi is one of the most exceptionally talented clinician-scientists I have known,” said Shah. “The exponential impact of her work will be felt by multidisciplinary fields for decades to come.”

Learn more about Dr. Gilmore-Bykovskyi’s research at