Self-Management Science Center

Definition of Self-Management

Self-management is a process by which individuals and families use knowledge and beliefs, self-regulation skills and abilities, and social facilitation to achieve health-related outcomes. Self-management takes place in the context of risk and protective factors specific to the condition, physical and social environment, and individual and family. Proximal outcomes are self- management behaviors and cost of health care services; distal outcomes are health status, quality of life and cost of health. Self-management is applicable to chronic conditions as well as health promotion. [1-3]

Purpose and Goals

The purpose of the Self-Management Science Center (SMSC) at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee College of Nursing (UWM CON) is to expand programs of research that enhance the science of self-management in individuals and families.

SMSC Goals are to:
  • Conduct Studies Advance self-management science across persons of different ages, relationships (social/environmental) & health status/needs (prevention, acute and chronic);
  • Develop Expertise SMSC researchers in the areas of intervention development & testing;
  • Enhance Capacity Interdisciplinary synergy, and partnerships with colleagues studying self-management within & outside the university; and 
  • Strengthen CON Research InfrastructureTo support researchers in development, implementation, & evaluation of self-management interventions.
Building on the College’s strong, existing quantitative and qualitative research programs, the strength of UWM’s Self-Management Science Center is its emphasis on a combination of methodological perspectives:
  • Individual & Family Outcomes
  • New Methodological Foci Development, including Economic Models
  • Exploring Biological & Behavioral Variable Interactions
Center Structure

SMSC Executive Committee
Provides: Management, direction, and governance. Chaired by SMSC Director; members as follows: Methods Core Director, Financial Manager, Associate Dean for Research, and Methods Core Scientists.

SMSC Advisory Council
Provides: Counsel, expertise, oversight and strategic visioning; interdisciplinary collaboration, both internal/external; resource/capacity building & evaluation.

Lead Faculty:
Dr. Rachel F. Schiffman RN PhD FAAN-- UWM CON Associate Dean for Research;
Director, UWM CON SMSC

Christine R. Kovach PhD RN FAAN--Director, SMSC Methods Core


Two Interactive Cores comprise the SMSC: the Administrative Core and the Methods Core.

Team Science principles promote SMSC investigators’ interaction with the broader research community—affording yet more access to community resources and partnerships. In addition to support for its five principal internal projects, SMSC offers resources & opportunities to researchers in the larger self-management community. Currently, four center-funded projects are yielding results that will be applied to larger studies in this field.


1UWM Self-Management Science Center Working Group*. (2011). Individual and Family Self-management Theory: Definition of self-management. Retrieved from

2Ryan, P.  & Sawin, K.J  (2009) The Individual and Family Self-Management Theory: Background and Perspectives on Context Process and Outcomes. Nursing Outlook, 57, 217-225.
3 Ryan, P. (2009). The integrated theory of health behavior change: background and intervention development. Clinical Nurse Specialist, 23(3), 161-170.

*Working group members. P. Ryan, K. Sawin, R., Doering, B. Rodgers, S. Morgan, R. Schiffman, E. Hildebrandt & R. Marine.