Tyson Family Endowed Term Chair for Gerontological Research
Associate Professor of Nursing

Older minority patients suffer poorer outcomes than white patients when hospitalized, in part because they are sicker when they enter the hospital or more likely to have fewer economic resources. Poor outcomes may also occur due to receipt of care in hospitals with less than optimal nursing care quality. 

Margo Brooks Carthon was one of the first nurse researchers to demonstrate empirical relationships between the quality of nursing care and racial inequities in outcomes. Her work shows that when nursing units in hospitals are inadequately staffed and nurses have insufficient resources, the patients who need the most care may receive the least. This increases the risk of mortality, re-admissions, and reduced patient satisfaction compared to patients who receive higher-quality care. 

Moving Towards Health Equity  

Based on her findings, Dr. Brooks Carthon aims to determine the nursing care needs of vulnerable older adults and recommend ways to change outcomes. For example, investing strategically in nursing in certain hospitals and care environments can result in better care and fewer deaths and readmissions.  

A vision of equitable health care for all guides Dr. Brooks Carthon as she works to improve health care for patients who are marginalized because of their age, race, or economic status. Through her research and teaching at Penn Nursing, Dr. Brooks Carthon works on the problems of inequality in health care from many angles.

The proverb, If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together, has infused my team-based research to reduce health disparities.”


  • PhD, University of Pennsylvania, 2008 
  • MSN, University of Pittsburgh, 1998 
  • BS, North Carolina A&T State, 1995