Community Engagement Core Personnel


Alicia Matthews, PhD

Dr. Matthews is the Co-Director of the Recruitment, Retention and Community Engagement Program of CCTS.  They are known nationally and internationally for their health disparities research with underserved populations primarily focused on the development and evaluation of culturally targeted health risk reduction interventions.  They are a Professor in the Department of Health Systems Sciences at UIC’s College of Nursing.  Their program of research focuses on cancer prevention and control in underserved populations with a primary emphasis on culturally tailored smoking cessation treatments. Funded by NIH, they have conducted research in health disparities research for more than 15 years.  Their research and advocacy regarding mentholated cigarettes has contributed to tobacco policy change in Chicago and Cook County.  They have served on three separate Institute of Medicine panels focused on improving mental health outcomes among cancer survivors and addressing health disparities among LGBT populations.

Amparo Castillo, MD, MS, PhD

Dr. Castillo is Co-Director of the Recruitment, Retention and Community Engagement Program of CCTS.  She is Acting Director of the UIC Midwest Latino Health Research Training and Policy Center, as well as the Center’s Training Coordinator. She develops and implements educational programs for community health workers and other health care professionals assisting the Hispanic and African American minorities. Dr. Castillo is also co-author and Senior Trainer of the Diabetes Empowerment Education Program (DEEP) and other health education programs addressing low health literacy among minority groups. Additionally, she conducted intervention research using Tai Chi for glycemic control and stress reduction among Latino older adults. Her current interests continue to address health disparities by implementing health education interventions, and facilitating the training and capacity building of community health workers. 

Emily E. Anderson, PhD, MPH

Emily Anderson serves as Co-Director of the Recruitment, Retention and Community Engagement Program of CCTS. She is assistant professor in the Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics at Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine. Dr. Anderson holds a PhD in Health Care Ethics from Saint Louis University and an MPH from University of Illinois at Chicago. Her work encompasses several themes, including informed consent, community-based research, IRB decision making and policy, research misconduct, and research with vulnerable populations. She has over 10 years of experience serving on 6 different IRBs (both biomedical and social/behavioral science boards) and has presented at numerous conferences of Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIM&R), the membership association for IRB professionals. Dr. Anderson has been a co-investigator on several federally-funded research and educational projects related to research ethics. She developed a comprehensive human subjects protection training program for community research partners, entitled CIRTification (Anderson 2015), which is available freely online and has been downloaded by approximately 200 individuals nationwide (http://www.ccts.uic.edu/repository/cirtification). She also wrote and produced Informed Consent in Action, a 60-minute training DVD (available through same link) that shows research staff, particularly those without previous research experience, best practices for obtaining informed consent in community-based research. 

Susan Newman, MPH

Susan Newman serves as a project coordinator for the Recruitment, Retention and Community Engagement Program of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science and also as Coordinator of the Community Engagement Advisory Board (CEAB).  She has extensive experience at the University of Illinois at Chicago as a research coordinator of various health-related projects, in the areas of smoking cessation, violence prevention, and health disparities.  Working at UIC for nineteen years, she understands both the importance of community engaged research as well as the value and necessity of being able to navigate one’s way around UIC in the day-to-day operations of a research project. As a health educator, she has a long history of collaborating with various community groups while working in a variety of settings, including a voluntary health organization, medical center and a professional medical society.  She is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and the UIC School of Public Health.

Wendy Choure, BS, MPH (c)

Wendy Choure is a research assistant for the Recruitment, Retention and Community Engagement Program and serves on the Community Engagement Advisory Board (CEAB). She is currently completing her last year as an MPH student in the Community Health Sciences program at the University of Illinois at Chicago and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Central Florida. She has experience working with special populations (LGBT and Latinos) and has worked with Dr. Matthews on her culturally targeted smoking cession study at Howard Brown Health Center where she assisted in recruitment, retention, and one-on-one interviews. She has also done Spanish translation for the HEALE training program at Howard Brown Health Center and for Dr. Anderson’s CIRTification. Her research interests include health disparities of special populations (LGBT, Hispanics, African Americans) mental health (PTSD, depression, anxiety), and HIV/STI prevention and awareness.