Dr. Julie Ober Allen's research seeks to understand and address how chronic stressors rooted in social and structural inequities (e.g., discrimination, race and gender ideologies, ageism) get “under the skin” to generate disparities in chronic disease among older U.S. adults. Most of her work to date has focused on racial health disparities, the health of older adult Black men, and chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, cancers, depression, and multimorbidity.
Dr. Allen’s research program includes two complementary lines of research. In the first, she is pursuing a series of qualitative and quantitative studies elucidating the complex interactions between contextual, psychosocial, biological, and behavioral factors involved in stress and coping processes that influence health disparities. The objectives of this work are: 1) to provide insight on mechanisms through which inequities contribute to accelerated biological aging, increased risk for stress-related chronic diseases, and health disparities; and 2) to identify key leverage points to inform targeted interventions to prevent and treat chronic diseases among socially marginalized groups. Dr. Allen’s second line of research integrates research on stress and coping-based mechanisms of health with evidence on best practices for developing contextually- and culturally-specific health promotion interventions. This work capitalizes on Dr. Allen’s 15+ years of experience at the University of Michigan collaborating with diverse partners on community-based interventions to reduce racial health disparities in southeast Michigan.
This fall, Dr. Allen will be teaching Principles of Community Health, launching the Stress and Health Disparities Lab, and exploring hiking/backpacking opportunities, restaurants (hopefully), home renovations, and fun things to do in Oklahoma.