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.

Recent Publications

  • Navigating Pathways to Diagnosis in Idiopathic Subglottic Stenosis: A Qualitative Study.
    Damico Smith C, Nanda N, Bonnet K, Schlundt D, Anderson C, Fernandes-Taylor S, Gelbard A, Francis DO
    Laryngoscope 2023 Sep 23;
    [PubMed ID: 37740907]

  • Association between Estrogen Exposure and Idiopathic Subglottic Stenosis.
    Nanda N, Huang LC, Chen SC, Berry LD, Talatala ERR, Clark E, Ye W, Gelbard A, Francis DO, North American Airway Collaborative
    Laryngoscope 2023 Sep 05;
    [PubMed ID: 37668331]

  • Concerns Over Diagnostic Accuracy of Fine-Needle Biopsy in Thyroid Nodule Diagnosis-Reply.
    Hsiao V, Fernandes-Taylor S, Francis DO
    JAMA Surg 2023 Aug 01; 158(8): 889-890
    [PubMed ID: 37043230]

  • New Directions for Improving the Minimal Clinically Important Difference in Patient-Reported Outcome Measures for Use in Clinical Care and Research.
    Fernandes-Taylor S, Zhao J, Francis DO
    JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2023 Mar 01; 149(3): 276-277
    [PubMed ID: 36729483]

  • Questions About Study Selection, Data Extraction, and Synthesis in the Meta-analysis Comparing Total Thyroidectomy vs Hemithyroidectomy for Treatment of Papillary Thyroid Microcarcinoma-Reply.
    Hsiao V, Fernandes-Taylor S, Francis DO
    JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2023 Feb 01; 149(2): 186-188
    [PubMed ID: 36547949]

All Publications on PubMed