David O. Francis, MD, MS

Associate Professor

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

(608) 262-8693

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

  • Utilization and Influence of Online Support Communities in Idiopathic Subglottic Stenosis Patients.
    Verma SP, Goshtasbi K, Berry LD, Anderson C, Francis DO, Gelbard A
    Laryngoscope 2020 Sep 29;
    [PubMed ID: 32990358]

  • What Promotes Surgeon Practice Change? A Scoping Review of Innovation Adoption in Surgical Practice.
    Arroyo NA, Gessert T, Hitchcock M, Tao M, Smith CD, Greenberg C, Fernandes-Taylor S, Francis DO
    Ann Surg 2020 Aug 26;
    [PubMed ID: 33055590]

  • Leveraging COVID-19-Inspired Changes to Advance Otolaryngology-Here to Stay.
    Khariwala SS, Weinreich HM, McCoul ED, Graboyes E, Francis DO, Baldassari C, Poetker DM, Tunkel DE, Davies L
    JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2020 07 01; 146(7): 605-607
    [PubMed ID: 32343298]

  • Effect of Tonsillectomy on Cognition in Preschool Children With Sleep-Disordered Breathing.
    Francis DO, Lam DJ
    Pediatrics 2020 02; 145(2)
    [PubMed ID: 31919047]

  • From Overdiagnosis to Overtreatment of Low-Risk Thyroid Cancer: A Thematic Analysis of Attitudes and Beliefs of Endocrinologists, Surgeons, and Patients.
    Jensen CB, Saucke MC, Francis DO, Voils CI, Pitt SC
    Thyroid 2020 05; 30(5): 696-703
    [PubMed ID: 31910092]

All Publications on PubMed