Andi Schwingel, PhD, Lab Director

I study ways to improve the health of underserved populations through community health programs that are both culturally sensitive and sustainable. Underserved populations, such as US Latino immigrants, older adults, and rural dwellers, are often at the highest risk for developing chronic diseases. My research informs public health policy and practice that can lead to healthier communities.

Graduate Students

Sadia Anjum Ashrafi

PhD candidate, Community Health
Curriculum Vitae

Through my research, I aim to improve the access to Chronic Kidney Disease care at the community level, especially for minorities. I also want to determine effective strategies to manage Chronic Kidney Disease in minorities, especially in African Americans and Hispanics.

Laura M Quintero Silva

PhD Candidate (Community Health)

I study ways to improve the provision of palliative and end-of-life care for historically underrepresented communities living with life-threatening illnesses. I am particularly interested in understanding how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted patient-centered models of care and the role of technology in supporting the patient-provider relationship under conditions of isolation and social distancing

Rifat Alam

PhD Student(Community Health)
Curriculum Vitae

My research interest lies in seeking answers about the prevention of dementia in older adults. I also want to address the growing concerns of health inequities and will gather evidence on what could be done to prevent dementia among the disadvantaged population and in resource-constrained settings.

Ogunjesa Babatope Ayokunle

PhD student( Community Health)
Curriculum Vitae

My research interest revolves around population health and how socioeconomic factors intersecting behavioral and cultural practices influence the health outcomes of the vulnerable population, especially older adults. Primarily, I am investigating factors that serve as barriers to the uptake of respite care services by family caregivers and building predictive models on respite care utilization.

Ana Laura Selzer Ninomiya

PhD student(Kinesiology)

My research interest focuses on strategies to increase physical activity levels to promote health equity. I am particularly interested in low-cost physical activity interventions such as active transportation and the Community Health Workers’ model on the prevention of chronic diseases in vulnerable populations.

Rafael Guimaraes de Lima e Silva

PhD student(Community Health)

My research interest is related to the development of nutrition apps that can improve the quality of health in the community. Specifically, I study a new model of nutrient intake recommendation based on the energy expenditure, which allows a personalized recommendation of micronutrients.

Deanivea Mendes Felix

My research interests are Brazilian Politics, Public Health, Global Health, and International Organizations

Iffat Noor

PhD Student (Community Health)

I am an incoming Ph.D. student, currently finishing up MPH. My research work revolves around the modeling and behavior of SARS-CoV-2.

Francisco Timbó de Paiva Neto

PhD Student (Visiting Scholar)

I study Organization of Health Systems with a focus on Health Care Models, in the Public Health area. I also carry out research related to the promotion of physical activity in community contexts based on implementation science and research on the environmental determinants of physical activity, particularly among the older adults.

Diana Morales

PhD student(Kinesiology)

My research interests include neurodegenerative disease and aging, as well as developing and implementing culturally adapted behavioral interventions in Latine populations to improve brain health outcomes.

Watanabe Soufen, Juliana Eri

PhD Student(Community Health)

My research interest is to understand the societal impact of large-scale infrastructure improvement projects in the health of vulnerable families. Particularly, I would like to answer how the community health programs truly impact people’s lives using a thoughtful evaluation process, which includes, among others, the beneficiaries’ voices.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Pari Shah

Undergraduate student(Community Health)

My research interests include community health, diversity in our population, data analysis and anything science related. I hope to be able to use my education to better our community

Katherine Hopkins

Undergraduate student( Interdisciplinary Health Science)

 I am interested in research interests that include diversity as well as community and public health. I will use this experience to better my understand and others of health inequalities in my future education and career


Headshot of Julie Bobitt

Julie Bobitt, PhD

Faculty affiliated
Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago
Curriculum Vitae

My research focuses on evaluating the dissemination and implementation of policies and programs for older adults.  This work informs policy makers and promotes the development of better programs to improve the lives of older adults.

Headshot of Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko

Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko, PhD

Faculty affiliated
Professor and Dean of Graduate College

My primary research interests are in the area of aging and health. My research focuses on public policy and public health recommendations related to physical activity and healthy living.

Tania Benedetti, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Physical Education, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil

Susie Aguiñaga, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Headshot of Patricia Galvez

Patricia Galvez, PhD

Collaborator, Assistant Professor, College of Medicine, University of Chile

My research focuses on home food environment and family relationships with food. I am currently studying how family can influence women’s eating behaviors in vulnerable neighborhoods in Chile with high prevalence of obesity.

Headshot of Emerson Sebastião

Emerson Sebastião, PhD

My research interest focuses on the broad relationship between physical activity/exercise/fitness, health outcomes and quality of life in older adults and persons with Multiple Sclerosis. My research helps device strategies and intervention aiming to promote physical activity among these at-risk populations.