Education & Experience

Current Roles

Senior Research Director, Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute

Associate Professor, University of Minnesota

Associate Program Director Surgery Residency, Hennepin County Medical Center


University of Minnesota, 2012

Ph.D. Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology

University of Central Missouri, 2001

B.S. Biology


Frostbite can result in debilitating injuries leading to life-long disabilities. Minnesota has a harsh winter climate with temperatures frequently dropping below -20 F and with wind chills it can be below -50 F. Our frostbite studies at Hennepin Healthcare have resulted in numerous publications and presentations nationally and regionally. 

Ongoing and recently completed projects I would like to highlight

1. Nygaard RM. Frostbite in January - Amputate in July: Do non-high volume centers practice watchful waiting for surgical management following frostbite injury? World Trauma Congress. Tokyo, Japan 2023

2. Coward A, Dahl R, Freese R, Schmitz K, Endorf FW, Lumbard D, Nygaard RM. Eye of the Beholder: Does Visual Assessment in Severe Frostbite Accurately Predict Need for Thrombolytics? Podium presentation. ABA 2023 meeting.

3. Frostbite: Current Controversies and Cares. 2023 American Burn Association Meeting Course Director

4. Nygaard RM. Frostbite Management: Moving Forward at a Glacial Pace but Time Matters for Best Outcomes. Midwestern Burn Conference. Invited Speaker. October 2022

5. American Burn Association Frostbite Clinical Practice Guidelines Committee Co-Lead

6. Frostbite State of the Science – American Burn Association Co-Lead
7. Total Burn Care, 6th edition. Frostbite chapter Co-Author

Firearm & Violent Trauma

Violent injury is a leading cause of death among young Americans and survivors of violent injury are at increased risk of reinjury and rehospitalization due to violence. A major barrier to firearm research is the lack of ability to track patients across systems to assess repeat injury. In our cross-hospital collaboration, we found that repeat victims of firearm injury were treated at the second hospital system 31.5% of the time. In a study using data from the National Readmission Database of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, we found that 9.9% of assault-related firearm admissions had subsequent readmission within 90-days. New traumatic injury was the primary indication of hospitalization for 9% of these readmissions. In our single center study examining violent trauma recidivism, we found 9.8% of patients had repeat injury within a range of 2.4 to 4.1 years. When examining firearm trauma recidivism across hospital systems, we found an average time to repeat firearm injury was 7.7 years (range: 7 months to 12 years). In my focused review of firearm violence, we found that repeat victims of firearm injury were at significant risk of mortality, a risk that increased with each subsequent admission.