Staff Spotlight: Jude Sullivan

Job Title: Senior Clinical Exercise Physiologist

Current responsibilities:

  • Class programs team leader of land-based strength, indoor cycling and moderate-higher level conditioning classes
  • Instructor of cross training class
  • Staff CPR instructor
  • Performance Edge coach
  • Integrative Health programs exercise researcher
  • Fitness Center floor staff (as needed) 


  • University of Wisconsin - Madison Bachelor of Science, Physical Education, 1987
  • University of Wisconsin - Madison, Master of Science, Clinical Exercise Physiology, 1989

More About Jude


UW Health Sports Medicine Fitness Center's Jude Sullivan working with athleteJude started at the UW Health Sports Medicine Fitness Center while a student in exercise physiology at UW. Over the years, he has worked in multiple departments, including the Fitness Center, Preventive Cardiology, Integrative Health and the Exercise Science Laboratory. His work is published in many peer-reviewed journals and he has presented at a variety of national conferences.


One of Jude's current interests and responsibilities is being a lead researcher with the UW Health Integrative Health department, working in cooperation with Dr. Richard Davidson's Center for Investigating Healthy Minds. In this capacity, Jude develops, coordinates and facilitates a Health Enhancement Program and its impact on improving one's ability to be more resilient - improved brain function, emotional stress tolerance, fitness and immune function, to name of few.


Through this work, the medical community is developing a greater understanding of how an individual can maximize how to care for themselves in order to augment their health. The program has led to consulting work with other universities across the country wanting to use this model. In addition, larger campus-wide initiatives are being developed looking into ways to create sustainable well-being interventions in larger and varied populations.


Share This StoryJude also co-coordinates the Performance Edge program, which is available for people having specific programming needs. He has developed training plans for a wide variety of individuals - seriously competitive athletes to weekend warriors - and everything in between. Over the years he has assisted a vast array of athletes to successfully prepare for their upcoming events or seasons.


He has worked with adolescents with modest beginning motives all the way to Olympic and professional athletes aspiring for ultimate goals. Many Ironman participants had very successful races after working with Jude to prepare for the event. One of his most cherished clients worked with Jude to train himself to bike up Mont Ventoux in France (a well-regarded portion of the Tour de France) after recovering from an abdominal aortic aneurysm surgery.


Jude's outside interests are many and varied. He and his wife, Kris, have six children, three whom still live at home. They also have a granddaughter in Dubuque. Their children's activities and interests are their passion and priority. With their kids (and sometimes without), Jude and Kris enjoy traveling and visiting their vast network of family and friends across the country.


Why did you enter this profession?


Growing up I've always loved sports (not an inherited family trait). I remember either thinking about or playing professional football constantly. I would "play" by myself, imagining an entire game and endlessly repeating plays pretending I was at a different position each time. Despite my love of sports, I was also overweight as a kid, and I hated gym class. (My grades showed it, too!)


Enough was enough. Rather than pout, I began my own eating and exercise program to lose weight as I entered eighth grade. Not coincidentally, my gym class grades improved and my athletic career took off. Early in my college career, I was at a crossroads and my dad had a colleague on the UW campus who mentioned the new "exercise physiology" program. It definitely sounded right up my alley, so I immediately transferred into the school of education. Working here and being in school at the same time was a definite example of my being in the right place and the right time. I am grateful for that.


Facts and Trivia

  • Hometown: Born in Madison, grew up in DeForest and Poynette. (I lived at my high school in Madison at Holy Name Seminary - a bit of a vagabond, I guess.)
  • Current home: Verona, Wisconsin
  • Birthday: June 1, a true Gemini
  • Family: Wife, Kris; stepson, Troy (33); stepdaughter, Keisha (31); stepdaughter, Kelsie (21); stepson, Austin (17); daughter, Abby (15); daughter, Hailey (13); granddaughter, Elise (5)
  • Favorite movies: There's Something About Mary, Fletch, Funny Farm, Saving Private Ryan, Braveheart, Ben Hur, Brian's Song, The Secret, and a ton of others. Love to watch movies!
  • Favorite music: 70s and 80s rock, 90s alternative. I appreciate some classical artists.
  • Hobbies: Vacationing/travel, reading self-help/personal development material, exercise, going to movies, being outdoors.
  • Favorite food: Pizza. I also have a killer sweet tooth. I will eat anyone's unwanted butter cream cake frosting.
  • Favorite beverage: Coffee (especially with my wife)
  • Favorite team to root for: Packers and Badgers. I am a closet Oakland Raider fan from my youth and I don't know how that came to be.
  • Favorite team to root against: Vikings (even without Favre)
  • Best vacation spot (so far): Hawaii
  • Childhood heroes: Just about any Green Bay Packer and/or Wisconsin Badger
  • Some people I admire: I love reading about people who overcome incredible odds and obstacles. Therefore, I admire most anyone, since we all have done this at various points in our lives.
  • Brush with greatness: Actually, I can't say I've had any real "brushes with greatness" other than living at my high school and having the Wisconsin Badger football team (Dave McClain era) run their camp where we lived. It was something to be able to be around athletes like that on a regular basis.
  • Something very few people know about me I'm willing to divulge: My wife and I own and operate our own vacation business.