Health Determinants Science

Within health determinants science, our faculty are generating knowledge to inform our understanding of health equity, special and vulnerable populations, healthful aging, health promotion behavioral change, and community and environmental factors that affect both individual and public health.

Health Determinants Marquee Background Wide

Determinants of health are multiple and complex, and fall into five broad categories. These are 1) social and economic environment (e.g., education, employment, social networks); 2) physical environment (e.g., natural and built environment); 3) health care behaviors (e.g., individual lifestyles, cultural practice, family/community beliefs); 4) genetics (e.g., genetics and epigenetics); and 5) the health care system (e.g., access, cost, quantity, and quality of health care services).

Our goal is to discover knowledge and implement programs that will improve the health and well-being of diverse individuals, families, communities, and populations across the lifespan.

Faculty

Terry A Badger

Terry Badger

Terry A Badger , PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC, FAPOS, FAAN

Eleanor Bauwens Endowed Chair

Professor, Nursing

Professor, Psychiatry

Professor, Public Health

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Research Impact

My research helps cancer survivors and their caregivers to reduce psychological distress and manage cancer symptoms during and after cancer treatment. I remove the barriers to receiving supportive care services by using the telephone to provide health education and counseling.

Aleeca Bell

Aleeca Bell

Aleeca Bell , PhD, RN, CNM

Associate Professor, Nursing

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Research Impact

I aim to improve the health and well-being of mothers and babies by promoting physiologic birth, a positive birth experience, and healthy mother-baby attachment/interaction. I also aim to understand the role of oxytocin as an underlying mechanism of conditions related to birth, attachment and adversity.

Rina S Fox

Rina S Fox

Rina S Fox , PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor, Nursing

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Research Impact

I conduct research to identify non-pharmacological interventions that can help individuals with chronic illnesses, particularly cancer, have better quality of life and lower symptom burden. Although I study many different symptoms, I am currently focusing on the role of sleep disturbance in health-related quality of life.

Judith S Gordon

Judith Gordon

Judith S Gordon , PhD

Associate Dean, Research

Professor, BIO5 Institute

Professor, Family and Community Medicine

Professor, Nursing

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Research Impact

I conduct research to help people engage in healthier lifestyle behaviors, primarily tobacco use cessation and prevention. Currently, I focus on reaching tobacco users in a variety of healthcare settings, and using integrative approaches and technology to reduce tobacco use.

Kathleen C Insel

Kathleen Insel

Kathleen C Insel , PhD, RN

Professor, Nursing

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Research Impact

My area of research focuses on cognitive function and how cognition is influenced by age, illness, and treatment; this also informs how cognitive function influences self-management. Using cognitive theories, we developed an intervention to improve medication adherence. We are now translating this intervention to an App.

Thaddeus Wesley Warren Pace

Thaddeus Wesley Warren Pace

Thaddeus Wesley Warren Pace , PhD

Associate Professor, Nursing

Associate Professor, Psychiatry

Associate Professor, Psychology

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Research Impact

I study mechanisms of stress-biological changes in cancer survivors who experience distress, fatigue and depression. Informed by this work, I also investigate effectiveness of novel integrative interventions for survivors designed to optimize psychosocial wellness. These include Cognitively-Based Compassion Training, a compassion meditation program, and curcumin.

Leslie S Ritter

Leslie S Ritter

Leslie S Ritter , PhD, RN, FAAN

Professor, Neurology

Professor, Nursing

Professor, Physiological Sciences - GIDP

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Research Impact

My research focuses on community-based models to support those who are living with stroke as a chronic condition. I am focused on identifying inflammatory mechanisms in the microcirculation of the brain during reperfusion after ischemic stroke.

Kimberly Denise Shea

Kimberly Denise Shea

Kimberly Denise Shea , PhD, RN, CHPN

Assistant Professor of Practice, Biomedical Informatics

Clinical Professor, Nursing

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Research Impact

I conduct research that combines serious illness care (palliative and hospice) and technology, primarily in residential settings. Currently, I am focusing on tele-palliative care that uses mobile device instant video conferencing to reduce stress and time to symptom reduction.

Timothy Joseph Sowicz

Timothy Joseph Sowicz

Timothy Joseph Sowicz , PhD, RN

Assistant Professor, Nursing

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Research Impact

I conduct research to facilitate personal access to health care. Presently, I concentrate on the barriers and facilitators to treatment access that Hispanic adults living with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders experience.

Ruth E Taylor-Piliae

Ruth E Taylor-Piliae

Ruth E Taylor-Piliae , PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN

Associate Professor, Nursing

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Research Impact

My research focuses on increasing physical activity among older adults, especially those with heart disease and stroke. I use innovative interventions such as Tai Chi, to help them improve their physical and cognitive function, reduce fall rates, ameliorate negative symptoms, and enhance quality of life.