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Founding Co-Directors Heading link

Naoko Muramatsu photo.

Naoko Muramatsu, PhD, Contact PI, CHECA Co-Director, is a professor in the division of Community Health Sciences in the UIC School of Public Health and an affiliated faculty in the Department of Sociology in the UIC College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She is passionate about improving the well-being of aging populations and the quality of long-term care systems. Her research focuses on understanding how place impacts aging, health, work, and caregiving experiences of diverse populations nationally and globally. Her current research develops cost-effective, sustainable community-based health promotion programs in partnership with older adults, caregivers, community-based organizations, and multidisciplinary research teams. Guided by life course perspectives, Dr. Muramatsu uses multilevel longitudinal analysis and mixed methods to understand and intervene upon the complex individual, organizational, and system-level factors that impact aging populations and the quality of health care systems.

Tanvi Bhatt photo.

Tanvi Bhatt, PhD, CHECA Co-Director, received her BS in Physical Therapy from University of Mumbai in 1997 and her Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Sciences from the University of Manitoba in 2000. She began her doctoral work at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2001 and received her Ph.D. in Movement Sciences/Motor Control in 2006. Dr. Bhatt has also continued her Physical Therapy practice and is a registry staff member at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital. Dr. Bhatt’s research expertise is in field of adaptive perturbation training for fall prevention. Her research involves investigating neuromechanical basis of balance recovery from external perturbations such as slips and trips and subsequently designing intervention paradigms for reducing fall-risk in healthy and pathological populations. Her research interest and focus also lays in examining effects of alternative cognitive and motor therapies for improving impairment, function and participation in community-dwelling people with neurological disorders with an emphasis on stroke survivors. Dr. Bhatt has nearly 50 peer-reviewed publications and has been extramurally funded since 2011 by agencies such as American Heart foundation and NIH.

Executive Committee (Core Leads) Heading link

Ben Shaw photo.

Benjamin Shaw, PhD, MPH, Co-Lead, Research and Education Component (REC), is a Professor and Director of the Division of Community Health Sciences at the University of Illinois Chicago School of Public Health. Prior to coming to UIC (in 2021), he was a Professor of Health Policy, Management, and Behavior – and Associate Dean for Research – at the University at Albany (SUNY) School of Public Health. His research focuses on social and behavioral determinants of health across the life course,
with a emphasis on aging populations. He is a Fellow in the Gerontological Society of America, and currently serves on three editorial boards.

Olusola Ajilore photo.

Olusola Ajilore, MD, PhD, Co-Lead, Research and Education Component (REC), In his faculty and clinical roles, Dr. Ajilore is the Director of the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Clinical Program and the Associate Director of Residency Training and Education in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He also co-directs the Computational Neuroimaging and Connected Technologies lab at UIC. He has a longstanding commitment to translate discoveries from affective and cognitive neuroscience to improve our understanding and treatment of anxiety and mood disorders, particularly in the context of late-life and medical co-morbidities.

Michael Berbaum photo

Michael Berbaum, PhD, Lead, Analysis Core (AnC) Senior Biostatistician at the Institute for Health Research and Policy (IHRP) at UIC is Director of the Methodology Research Core at IHRP and Director of the Biostatistics Core, part of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science. Dr. Berbaum has provided statistical support to numerous investigators in health and community prevention studies throughout his career. His current research interests include applications of ordinal regression to
diagnostic performance in radiology.

David Marquez photo

David X. Marquez, PhD, Co-Lead, Community Liaison Recruitment Core (CLRC) Professor, Interim Department Head, Kinesiology and Nutrition at the University of Illinois Chicago. David X. Marquez, PhD, earned a doctoral degree and a master’s degree in kinesiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Loyola University Chicago. He is a Professor and Interim Department Head of Kinesiology and Nutrition and Director of the Exercise
Psychology Laboratory at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC). He is also Leader of the Latino Core of the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center. His research focuses on reducing health disparities, and primarily focuses on older Latino adults and individuals at risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Uchechi Mitchell photo

Uchechi Mitchell, PhD, Co-Lead, Community Liaison Recruitment Core (CLRC) Associate Professor at the University of Illinois Chicago’s School of Public Health in the Division of Community Health Sciences. She is a health disparities and minority aging researcher who addresses questions at the intersection of population and biopsychosocial sciences. She uses data from large national surveys of older adults to investigate pathways leading to late life racial/ethnic disparities in psychosocial outcomes, biomarkers, and supportive resources. A central theme throughout her research is an interest in the ways in which individual and community-level stressors and coping processes shape health over the life course and contribute to our understanding of risk, resilience and protective factors among older African Americans, specifically.

Staff Heading link

Maria Caceres photo

Maria Caceres, LPN Research Coordinator

Lijuan Yin photo.

Lijuan Yin, PhD Data Manager and Analyst, is experienced in health and aging research, as well as research methodology and data management. She has a special interest in how social and environmental factors influence older adults’ health. Dr. Yin has worked on multiple funded grants; and worked on promoting family caregivers’ health before joining UIC. Dr. Yin earned her PhD in Public Health from the University of Illinois Chicago.

Senior Collaborators Heading link

Andrew Boyd photo

Andrew Boyd, MD, has served as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research in Computing and Data Initiatives at the University of Illinois Chicago since March 2020. He is an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical and Health Information Sciences, and the Department of Physical Therapy, College of Applied Health Sciences, and the Department of Medical Education, College of Medicine. He is also the Associate Chief Health Information Officer for Innovation and Research at UI Health. The research in his laboratory involves data simplification to improve clinical outcomes engaging patients, administrators, and clinicians. He is a fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine.

Susan Hughes photo.

Susan (Sue) Hughes PhD, Professor Emerita in the School of Public Health and was the Founding Director of the Center for Research on Health and Aging at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Her research focuses on the design and testing of evidence-based health promotion programs for older adults. She has conducted six multi-site randomized trials of interventions with funding from NIH, CDC, the Veterans Administration and major foundations. Sue worked with an interdisciplinary team to design and test the Fit & Strong! (F&S) exercise/behavior change program for older adults with osteoarthritis (OA). Sue has also served as Principal Investigator of UIC’s Midwest Roybal Center for Health Promotion and Translation that has been funded five consecutive times by the National Institute on Aging. The pilot funding provided by the Roybal Center has stimulated research on aging broadly across many Departments and Schools at UIC.

Project Cores Heading link

Learn about how CHECA works.

The Leadership and Administrative Core will provide scientific and intellectual leadership, strategic direction, and administrative oversight to produce synergy across CHECA Cores.

  1. Naoko Muramatsu, PhD. Co-Director, CHECA; Co-Lead, Leadership and Administrative Core
  2. Tanvi Bhatt, PhD. Co-Director, CHECA; Co-Lead, Leadership and Administrative Core
  3. Susan Hughes, PhD. Professor Emerita, Senior Collaborator, CHECA
  4. Andrew Boyd, MD, Senior Collaborator, CHECA
  5. Maria Caceres, LPN, Research Coordinator, CHECA
  6. Lijuan Yin, PhD, Data Manager and Analyst, CHECA

The Research Education Component will provide a mentoring program for RCMAR Scientists to support their long-term careers, will implement the pilot funding program (solicitation, review, and selection of pilot studies for funding), and will provide tools and training relevant to the CHECA themes.

  1. Olusola Ajilore, Co-Lead, Research and Education Component
  2. Benjamin A. Shaw, PhD. Co-Lead, Research and Education Component

The Analysis Core will support Scientists’ pilot projects through mentoring and consultation, enrich methodological infrastructure, and promote collaboration among CHECA Scholars, mentors, and the research community.

  1. Michael L. Berbaum, Lead
  2. John Dziak, Co-Investigator

The Community Liaison Recruitment Core will provide CHECA Scientists and their mentors with training opportunities and resources for conducting community-engaged research and will facilitate bi-directional collaborations between CHECA and community partners.

  1. David X. Marquez, PhD. Co-Lead, Community Liaison Recruitment Core
  2. Uchechi A. Mitchell, PhD. Co-Lead, Community Liaison Recruitment Core