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SUHI Staff: Maureen Benjamins

MAUREEN BENJAMINS, PHD

Senior Research Fellow

Professional Summary

Maureen Benjamins' research interests pertain to health disparities and the influence of social factors on these disparities.  In particular, her work focuses on the role of religion, discrimination, race, and ethnicity on health care utilization, health behaviors, and other health outcomes. Dr. Benjamins has led several initiatives to study disparities nationally and in Chicago, including the Sinai Community Health Survey 2.0, of which she is the co-Principal Investigator.  The Sinai Survey provides data from a representative survey of 1,500 adults and 400 children in 9 Chicago communities and is one of the largest community-driven, face-to-face health surveys in Chicago history.  Dr. Benjamins is also currently the Principal Investigator of CHAMP (Controlling Hyperglycemia Among Minority Population), a randomized control trial testing two diabetes management programs to lower blood glucose levels in a sample of minority patients with uncontrolled diabetes.

Other interests of Dr. Benjamins include expanding medical education to include a focus on social determinants of health and health disparities.  To this end, she is an adjunct faculty member at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science where she assists with the Clinical Epidemiology course and directs research internship programs for medical students.

Previously, Dr. Benjamins has evaluated data from the Jewish Community Health Survey and, based on the findings from that survey, she developed and implemented a five-year, multi-component obesity prevention program for the Jewish school system in Chicago. She co-authored a book, Urban Health: Combating Disparities with Local Data, with Steve Whitman and Ami Shah that describes this initiative and others. Urban Health was published by Oxford University Press in 2010. Following this, Dr. Benjamins received a 2-year grant from the American Cancer society to better understand the impact of discrimination on cancer screening behavior in underserved communities.

Education
Postdoctoral Fellow in Gerontological Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2005
Ph.D., Sociology, The University of Texas at Austin, 2004
M.A., Sociology, The University of Texas at Austin, 2001
B.A., Sociology, Duke University, 1998

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