Health Equity

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  • Researcher Spotlight | Vishal Verma, PhD

    In his Researcher Spotlight, Prof. Vishal Verma discusses his work on assessing the health impacts of ambient air pollutants, measuring the toxicity of these pollutants, and the connection between COVID-19 and air pollution.

  • Researcher Spotlight | Christopher R. Larrison, MSW, PhD

    In his researcher spotlight, Prof. Christopher R. Larrison discusses his work on developing, testing, implementing, and evaluating mental health services that are responsive to individual and community needs and advocating on a national level to strengthen the public systems of care that address health, mental health, poverty, and racism.

  • Researcher Spotlight | Margarita Teran-Garcia, MD, PhD, FTOS

    Margarita Teran-Garcia, MD, PhD, FTOS, is an extension specialist in Hispanic Health Programs at the University of Illinois Extension and has research assistant professor appointments in the Carle Illinois College of Medicine, the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, and the Division of Nutritional Sciences. Prof. Teran-Garcia's research focuses on implementing, adapting, and evaluating the effectiveness of a community workshop-based curriculum to prevent childhood obesity and promote healthy nutrition and lifestyle behaviors among low income, low literacy families.

  • Researcher Spotlight | Tim Hale, PhD

    Tim Hale, PhD, is a teaching assistant professor for health technology in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health. Prof. Hale’s research focuses on digital divides and inequalities in health technology and the implications for providing equitable care. Prof. Hale comes to Illinois with 7 years of experience in applied health technology research at Partners Healthcare Pivot Labs (formerly the Center for Connected Health), in Boston, Massachusetts.

  • Researcher Spotlight | Nidia Ruedas-Gracia, PhD

    Nidia Ruedas-Gracia, PhD, is an assistant professor of educational psychology in the College of Education and the principal investigator of Gracia Lab. Her research seeks to develop a nuanced understanding of what it means to "belong" and how this sense of belonging impacts life outcomes such as academic performance and mental health. Prof. Gracia earned her doctoral degree in Developmental and Psychological Sciences from Stanford University.

  • The African American Leadership & Policy Institute Seeks Collaborations With University of Illinois Researchers

    The past several months have illuminated the harsh realities of anti-Black racism in the U.S. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate African American communities throughout the nation. The recent murders of Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, among many others, have prompted calls for leaders to declare racism a public health crisis.

    The African American Leadership & Policy Institute (AALPI) seeks collaborations with University of Illinois researchers, policy advocates, and community engagement professionals to respond to these racial justice issues. Sequane Lawrence, Executive Director of AALPI, and Lou Turner, a Clinical Assistant Professor with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Department of Urban & Regional Planning who is also a member of AALPI, share more about the organization’s response to recent work in these areas and how Illinois researchers can get involved.

  • Researcher Spotlight | Jessie Chin, PhD

    Jessie Chin, PhD, is an assistant professor in the School of Information Sciences and the principal investigator of The Adaptive Cognition and Interaction Design (ACTION) Lab. Her research aims at advancing knowledge in cognitive sciences regarding evolving human interaction with the contemporary information technologies and translating theories in social and behavioral sciences to the design of technologies and interaction experience to promote health communication and behavior across the lifespan. Prof. Chin earned her doctoral degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

  • Researcher Spotlight | Zeynep Madak-Erdogan, PhD

    Zeynep Madak-Erdogan, PhD, is an assistant professor of nutrition and the principle investigator of the Women's Health and Nutrition Lab. Prof. Madak-Erdogan earned her doctoral degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

  • Researcher Spotlight | Carla D. Hunter, PhD

    Carla D. Hunter, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology and the principal investigator of the Cultural Heritage and Racial Identity Lab. She is also a member of the Community Healing and Resistance Through Storytelling (C-HeARTS) Collaborative. Prof. Hunter earned her doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology from Columbia University.

  • Researcher Spotlight | Shardé McNeil Smith, PhD

    Shardé McNeil Smith, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies.  Dr. Smith examines the impact of racial discrimination on mental health outcomes, and the supportive resources used to combat these effects, within the African American family context.  She seeks to reduce mental health stigma, foster healthy family relationships, and ultimately contribute to the reduction in existing racial health disparities. Dr. Smith is a member of the C-HeARTS Collaborative and served as a faculty mentor to IHSI’s first cohort of Health Equity Scholars.

  • 2019 Health Equity Scholars Profile: Jahnellia Brown

    Jahnellia Brown works with Rachel Garthe and Kevin Tan, assistant professors in the School of Social Work, and DREAAM House to help administer and evaluate the Youth Empowerment Solutions (YES) program aimed to prevent youth violence.

  • 2019 Health Equity Scholars Profile: Geraldine Dagher

    Geraldine Dagher works with Shardé Smith, an assistant professor in the Departments of African American Studies and Human Development and Family Studies, DREAAM House, and the Community Healing and Resistance through Storytelling (C-HeARTS) Collaborative to identify what practices may promote community healing in response to racial trauma caused by gun violence.

  • 2019 Health Equity Scholars Profile: Pascale Grant

    Pascale Grant works with Margarita Teran-Garcia, a research assistant professor in the Carle Illinois College of Medicine and the Departments of Human Development and Family Studies and Nutritional Sciences, and the Multicultural Community Center (MCC) in Rantoul to identify the best tools and opportunities to promote culturally-tailored health messages on improving behaviors on nutrition, physical activity, and positive family function (including mealtimes).

  • 2019 Health Equity Scholars Profile: Alexandra Kontos

    Alexandra Kontos works with Karen Tabb Dina, an associate professor in the School of Social Work, and the Identifying Depression Through Early Awareness (IDEA) Women's Coalition to conduct a pilot study evaluating the effectiveness of depression screening during pregnancy for racial/ethnic minority women and their infants. 

  • 2019 Health Equity Scholars Profile: Eric Solberg

    Eric Solberg works with Chelsea Singleton, an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology & Community Health, and Experimental Station in Chicago to evaluate the effectiveness of the Link Match incentive program in increasing the affordability and accessibility of locally grown fruits and vegetables in low-income communities.

  • 2019 Health Equity Scholars Profile: Leslie Villarreal

    Leslie Villarreal works with Susan Aguiñaga, an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, and several adult day centers in Central Illinois and Chicago to examine the impact of exercise on cognition, physical function, and quality of life for older adults in Latino communities.

  • Researcher Spotlight | Ryan Wade, PhD

    Ryan Wade, PhD, is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work. He is currently investigating a phenomenon known as Racialized Sexual Discrimination (RSD), as experienced by gay/bisexual men of color on mobile apps and websites used for dating and sexual networking. He uses mixed methods to develop, validate, and refine a multidimensional scale of RSD. He also uses quantitative methods to examine the association between RSD sub-scales and markers of pyschological wellbeing (e.g., depressive symptoms and feelings of self-worth).

  • Researcher Spotlight | Robin Fretwell Wilson, JD

    Robin Fretwell Wilson, J.D., is the Roger and Stephany Joslin Professor of Law and the Director of the Epstein Health Law and Policy Program at the University of Illinois College of Law, and has placed special focus on poverty as a social determinant of health care costs and health generally. Professor Wilson believes that as a land-grant institution, we have the obligation to do more for those who have the least. She believes smart, engaged policy holds the promise to enhance human flourishing for all.

  • Researcher Spotlight | Kate Wegmann, PhD

    Kate Wegmann, PhD, is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work. She conducts school-based social work research focused on social and environmental barriers to academic achievement and children’s general well-being. She is particularly interested in the role that stereotyping plays in the “achievement gaps” between different groups of students and how this knowledge can be leveraged for both prevention and intervention.

  • Researcher Spotlight | Chelsea Singleton, PhD

    Chelsea Singleton, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology & Community Health at the University of Illinois. Her work focuses on disparities in access to quality, affordable, and healthy food, and its subsequent effects on health.

  • Researcher Spotlight | Daniel Morrow, PhD

    Daniel Morrow, PhD, is chair and professor in the Department of Educational Psychology in the university's College of Education. His work focuses on the effect of health literacy on positive self-care behaviors in older adults with chronic illnesses. 

  • Researcher Spotlight | Reginald Alston, PhD

    Reginald Alston, PhD, is professor of kinesiology and community health in the university's College of Applied Health Sciences. His work focuses on health disparities within racial groups, particularly African Americans, in rehabilitation outcomes within the state and federal systems.

  • Workshop on perinatal depression planned for June 1-2

    Patients who have perinatal depression and their health care providers are serving as investigators on a research project co-led by University of Illinois social work professor Karen Tabb and Brandon Meline, director of the Maternal and Child Health Division at the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District.

  • Brazilians with less education more likely to report being in poor health, study finds

    Illinois professor Flavia Cristina Drumond Andrade led a study of education levels and self-reported health in Brazil.

  • Researcher Spotlight | Karen Tabb Dina, PhD

    Karen Tabb Dina is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Illinois. According the American Psychological Association, one in seven women, worldwide, suffer from perinatal depression every year. Tabb Dina’s research works to develop better programs and policies to increase awareness about the disorder.

  • Researcher Spotlight | Craig Gundersen, PhD

    Craig Gundersen, PhD, is the Soybean Industry Endowed Professor in Agricultural Strategy and the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Economics in the College of ACES. Over 40 million Americans struggle with food insecurity, and Gundersen’s research helps shape the policy and programs looking to alleviate food insecurity.