David O. Francis, MD, MS

Associate Professor

  • Associate Director, WiSOR
  • Associate Residency Program Director – Research
  • Section of Laryngology
  • Director of Outcomes Research 
  • Division of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery

(608) 262-0395

600 Highland Avenue
Madison, WI 53792-0001

Clinical Specialties

Dr. Francis is certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology and has high-level specialty training in the care of voice, airway, and swallowing disorders. He has extensive experience with both the medical and surgical care of professional voice users, management of neurological disorders of the voice including vocal fold paralysis and laryngeal dystonias (e.g., spasmodic dysphonia, laryngeal tremor). He has expertise in managing infectious diseases of the larynx, airway stenosis, and dysphagia. He has a patient-centric approach to caring for patients and strongly believes that “listening to the patient is central to personalized care” and that one-size does not fit all when managing voice, swallowing, and airway disorders. He also recognizes that the care of voice, swallowing, and breathing disorders requires a multidisciplinary approach that includes close collaborations with speech-language pathology, pulmonary, gastroenterology, allergy, thoracic surgery, and neurology among others.

Dr. Francis provides a wide range of services including Airway Dilation, Airway Reconstruction, Arytenoid Adduction, Cricopharyngeal myotomy, Endoscopic Partial Laryngectomy, Laryngeal Papilloma Laser Treatment, Laser Procedures, Laryngoplasty/thyroplasty, Microflap excision of vocal fold lesions, Microlaryngoscopy, Thyroidectomy, Transnasal Esophagoscopy (TNE), Vocal Fold Injection, Zenker’s Diverticulectomy.

Research Interests

Dr. Francis directs the Otolaryngology Outcomes Research group and is a member of the Wisconsin Surgical Outcomes Research Program (WiSOR), and is nationally recognized as a leader in Health Services Research. His research focuses on a patient-centered approach to personalizing and improving the care of patients with ear, nose, and throat disorders. His research has been funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH), the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), and by Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

His primary areas of study involve 1) understanding reasons surrounding geographic variations in care, 2) promoting prevention of iatrogenic vocal fold paralysis, 3) understanding the patient experience living with unilateral vocal fold paralysis, 4) development of new measurement tools to measure disability related to unilateral vocal fold paralysis, and 5) developing novel treatments and comparing their effectiveness in improving the care of patients with unilateral vocal fold paralysis. His research team consists of experts in health policy, population health, health service research, epidemiology, clinical trials, measurement theory, and scientists with expertise in peripheral nerve regeneration.

Dr. Francis was recently awarded a $2.4 million grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders for a vocal fold paralysis study. Read more here.

Recent Publications

  • Impact of Procedural Variation in Endoscopic Dilation for Idiopathic Subglottic Stenosis.
    Santapuram P, Tierney WS, Huang LC, Chen SC, Berry LD, Francis DO, Gelbard A
    Laryngoscope 2024 Mar 19;
    [PubMed ID: 38501339]

  • Economic Burden of Induced Laryngeal Obstruction in Adolescents and Children.
    Fujiki RB, Lunga T, Francis DO, Thibeault SL
    Laryngoscope 2024 Jan 17;
    [PubMed ID: 38230958]

  • Modeling Thyroid Cancer Epidemiology in the United States Using Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma Microsimulation Model.
    Alagoz O, Zhang Y, Arroyo N, Fernandes-Taylor S, Yang DY, Krebsbach C, Venkatesh M, Hsiao V, Davies L, Francis DO
    Value Health 2024 Mar; 27(3): 367-375
    [PubMed ID: 38141816]

  • Rates of Detecting Thyroid Nodules Recommended for Biopsy with Ultrasound: Are All Indications Equal?
    Kennedy E, Zhang Y, Qadadha Y, Cheng C, Adil A, Bach K, Smith D, Arroyo N, Fernandes-Taylor S, Gettle LM, Mayer AM, Francis DO, Chiu AS
    Thyroid 2023 Dec; 33(12): 1434-1440
    [PubMed ID: 37981778]

  • Factors Associated With Otolaryngologists Performing Tracheotomy.
    Soliman SI, Panuganti BA, Francis DO, Pang J, Klebaner D, Asturias A, Alattar A, Wood S, Terry M, Bryson PC, Tipton CB, Zhao EE, O'Rourke A, Santa Maria C, Grimm DR, Sung CK, Lao WP, Thompson JM, Crawley BK, Rosen S, Berezovsky A, Kupfer R, Hennesy TB, Clary M, Joseph IT, Sarhadi K, Kuhn M, Abdel-Aty Y, Kennedy MM, Lott DG, Weissbrod PA
    JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2023 Dec 01; 149(12): 1066-1073
    [PubMed ID: 37796485]

All Publications on PubMed