Credentials: MD, PhD
Position title: Professor of Medicine
My research works to identify drivers of health disparities, including studies of the social exposome — an emerging term for the sum of social and environmental exposures people experience during their lifetime — and designing interventions to improve patient care in low-resource areas. Living in a disadvantaged neighborhood has been linked to a number of healthcare outcomes, including higher rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, increased utilization of health services, and earlier death. In 2021, I led the team that founded the Center for Health Disparities Research at UW–Madison. I also led the development of The Neighborhood Atlas (www.neighborhoodatlas.medicine.wisc.edu) in 2018. This resource examines the health impacts of physical, social and environmental factors to generate an Area Deprivation Index (ADI) that may be used to rank and visualize data at the neighborhood level. The atlas has been accessed more than 500,000 times and been used by health systems, policy makers, researchers and industry leaders for research as well as to guide real world decisions related to program planning and policy development. The ADI can also be used for research purposes. For example, using the ADI based on 2000 Census data, Kind et al (2014) found that the risk of living in a disadvantaged neighborhood is worse than that of health conditions such as diabetes when it comes to hospital readmission risk. While my clinical interests and focus as a geriatrician have been in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, my research program has collected a wide array of data that also informs on diabetes, obesity and other metabolic diseases.