• This program is supported by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health/Office of Minority Health of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $3,614,521 with 100% funded by the OASH/OMH/HHS. The Office of Health Literacy has a sub-contract with the City of Rockford Office of Health and Human Services and in partnership with CURA Strategies for a project to run from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2024. Dr. Paula Allen-Meares serves as a Co-PI for this project.
  • Members of our team who conduct the training for healthcare professionals and community outreach workers in Rockford include Dr. Yolanda Suarez-Balcazar, Professor and Chair for the Department of Occupational Therapy from the College of Applied Health, Dr. Olga Garcia-Bedoya, a physician at UI health. Dr. Manorama Khare, a research professor on the Rockford campus is the member of my team who is tasked with evaluation for the project. We offer training on health literacy and cultural humility to health care professionals and community health workers who directly serve residents in Rockford.

U54 Chicago Center on Health Equity Research (CHER) grant

  • This project is funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) Grant. The original timeline was Sept 2017 – June 2021, but an Administrative Supplement was granted for July 2021 – June 2023. We have applied for a P50 grant to continue this work. Dr. Paula Allen-Meares serves as a Co-Investigator for this grant. Dr. Martha Daviglus, Executive Director of the UIC Institute for Minority Health Research (IMHR) serves as PI on this grant.
  • Dr. Allen-Meares on the Investigator Development Core of the U54 CHER grant. She is part of the IDC for this project that has worked on the development of a robust Lunch and Learn series to educate our early stage investigators. A recent presenter was Dr. Preeti Malani, Deputy Editor for the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) who conducted a session on scientific communication.
  • The purpose of the center is to investigate how social structures and determinants contribute to the health of marginalized groups, and to work toward the elimination of structural violence through collaborative community partnerships, innovative research, and development and growth of researchers, including mentoring of Early Stage Investigators.

The Chicago CHW H.E.R.O. Project

  • This project is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and has a timeline of Aug 2022 – Aug 2025. The Office of Health Literacy is partnering with the PI Angela Ellison who is the Executive Director of UIC Office of Community Engagement and Neighborhood Health Partnerships (OCEAN-HP). Dr. Paula Allen-Meares serves as a PI on this grant.
  • In August 2022, the Office of Health Literacy secured a subaward for The Chicago CHW H.E.R.O. Project. We are working with Angela Ellison, Director of UIC OCEAN-HP and other partners to provide training for community health workers.
  • The faculty members who provide the training for community health care workers in Cook County include Dr. Yolanda Suarez-Balcazar and Dr. Carolyn Dickens, both experts in cultural humility and health literacy respectively.

COVID Built Environment Initiative for a COVID Cancer and Health Literacy Initiative

  • This project is funded by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Grant. The timeline is from Jan 2023 – May 2024. Dr. Paula Allen-Meares serves as Co-PI on this grant along with Dr. Yolanda Suarez-Balcazar.
  • We are working with the IDPH Comprehensive Cancer Control on a project to train community health workers throughout the state of Illinois on the topics of health literacy and cultural competence. Each participant is invited to attend an initial training webinar that is followed a few weeks later with a second webinar that focuses on implementation of the strategies introduced.
  • The team of faculty who provide the training in heath literacy, health equity, health disparities and cultural humility include Dr. Yolanda Suarez-Balcazar, Dr. Olga Garcia-Bedoya, Dr. Alana Biggers, and Dr. Carolyn Dickens.

EAGER: A Hybrid Dialogue System Architecture for Symbolic Control of Deep Learning Networks

  • This project is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant. The timeline is from Aug 2021 – Aug 2025.
  • Allen-Meares serves as Co-PI along with Drs. Andrew Boyd (College of Applied Health Sciences) and Barbara Di Eugenio (College of Engineering) on this artificial intelligence project to develop a dialogue agent targeted at African American and Latinx patients with heart failure. We meet bi-weekly to discuss our progress and plan for future steps.
  • Initially, they were awarded a campus wide grant through the UIC Discovery Partners Institute Cycle 1 seed funding program. In 2019, they officially kicked off the research project to investigate the use of technological innovation to address health disparities among urban African American and Latino patients with heart failure. In 2021, they secured funding to begin the development of a chat bot that can be used to education patients with heart failure.

Radio Show

Did you know that the Office of Health Literacy has its own bi-weekly radio show which airs on the UIC Radio station? The Dr. Paula Show is streamed online at www.uicradio.net every other Tuesday at 11:00am. These 15-minute interviews with leading researchers at UIC and elswhere touch upon a variety of topics in the realm of health literacy and health disparities. See the schedule below for upcoming air dates and guests!