Co- Principal Investigators:  Ben Gerber, MD, MPH, FACP; Jun Ma, MD, PhD, FAHA, FABMR

Ben Gerber, MD, MPH, FACP

Dr. Gerber is a Professor of Medicine, internist and health services researcher in the Division of Academic Internal Medicine and Geriatrics at UIC. He currently serves as Associate Chief for Research and Education and directs the Academic Internal Medicine Residency Track.  His research background includes evaluation of community health workers and technology-based (mobile health and telehealth) interventions that promote nutrition, physical activity, diabetes self-management, and weight management behaviors in underserved populations. As a faculty member at UIC for 20 years, Dr. Gerber has considerable experience mentoring undergraduate, graduate, medical student, resident, fellow and junior faculty members; including MD and PhD postdoctoral fellows. He shares a passion for training the next generation of behavioral scientist as well as recruiting and retaining underrepresented minorities in research careers.



Dr. Jun Ma is a professor in the Division of Academic Internal Medicine and Geriatrics and Associate Head for Research in the Department of Medicine. She also directs the Institute for Health Research and Policy (IHRP) Center for Health Behavior Research. Dr. Ma’s research broadly seeks to address highly intractable health problems and disparities among racially/ethnically and socioeconomically diverse adult populations. Dr. Ma is particularly interested in effective prevention and control of debilitating and costly chronic conditions through comprehensive, mechanism-driven lifestyle interventions. Dr. Ma has directed the development and publication of new randomization methods and software programs. In addition to her extensive experience leading rigorous experiments ranging from pilot randomized studies to multicenter pragmatic trials, she has also published frequently on national patterns of outpatient care quality and health disparities in lifestyle-related physical and mental health disorders using complex population survey datasets.

Of central relevance to the PREMIER training program is Dr. Ma’s belief that for established scientists, mentoring is an obligation, not a choice – and for her personally, mentoring is a passion. She has substantial experience as a reviewer of T and K series grants for NIH, as a mentor of MD and/or PhD postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty in her previous and current appointments. Dr. Ma’s Center for Health Behavior Research hosts two weekly 1.5-hour meetings on Wednesdays, the Sunrise Meeting with Mentees and the afternoon Lifestyle Research Collaboratory, both of which will be open to all PREMIER fellows. The regular attendees include junior faculty, postdoctoral research professionals, PhD and Masters’ students. These meetings serve as a forum for collaborative grant development and for providing consultations and grant reviews to junior investigators.

PREMIER Coordinator

Julia Henkins, MPH - Ms. Henkins is a recent MPH graduate with a background in urban education in Chicago Public Schools. Ms. Henkins research interests include prevention technologies for chronic health conditions in underserved populations and identifying risk factors for chronic disease in large-scale population studies. She also coordinates mytapp, a 2-way text messaging application designed for chronic disease management support and the promotion of healthy behavior, created by Dr. Gerber.

INSTRUCTIONS: In order to add a sidebar anchor:

  1. Duplicate the existing item, listed as a 1/6 text field. (Or create a 1/6 column and add a text field, modify the class so it's exactly "additionalAnchor").
  2. Modify the text field inside the 1/6 column. Inside there, modify the HYPERLINK so that it would go to a corresponding section with a "#" in front of it. (Example, we have a "chief" section on the page, then it would make sense to have the hyperlink go to "#chief")
  3. Then change the hyperlink TEXT to a appropriate label.
  4. IMPORTANT: If not done already, go into that CONTAINER that corresponds to your anchor (i.e. Meet The Chiefs), and add an ID matching the anchor's HYPERLINK WITHOUT the "#", i.e. "chief".
  5. (If using side bar widget box, then there's a saved copy of a widget box COLUMN, grab it in the column library, it should 1/6 of a length of a column.)

NOTE: Order added to the sidebar is from last to first.