Susan Hughes Named UIC Researcher of the Year


The University of Illinois at Chicago has named Susan L. Hughes the 2012 Researcher of the Year Award for Social Sciences and the Humanities. She is the second scientist from the Institute for Health Research and Policy to receive this award.

Hughes is professor of community health sciences in the School of Public Health and codirector of IHRP’s Center for Research on Health and Aging. Her research focuses on the health of older adults, including long-term care policy, cost, and quality; the effectiveness of community-based services for older adults; the prevention of disability; and the adoption of and adherence to wellness behaviors in this population.

Since the late 1990s, a major focus of Hughes’s research has been the development and testing of an evidence-based physical activity program for older adults with arthritis. The eight-week program, called Fit and Strong!, has demonstrated significant functional and physical activity improvements in this population.

Hughes has conducted studies in the field of aging for over 30 years with support from the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute on Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and private foundations, such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Arthritis Foundation. Since 1998, she has received continuous funding for the Midwest Roybal Center, which supports new research to promote the health of older adults.

Hughes is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America. The American Public Health Association’s Gerontological Health Section recognized her with their Leadership Award in 2003.

Hughes joined the UIC and the newly created Health Research and Policy Centers in 1997. She holds a doctorate in social work from Columbia University.

One UIC investigator in the social sciences and humanities receives the Researcher of the Year Award each year. The award recognizes the efforts and commitment of tenure-track faculty who are advancing the field of knowledge in their area of expertise and to inspire and promote continued excellence in research at UIC. Frank Chaloupka, distinguished professor of economics and director of IHRP’s Health Policy Center, received the award in 2008.

Other faculty named as UIC Researchers of the Year for 2012 are Gail Prins, professor of urology, for basic life sciences, and Cecelia Gerber, professor of physics, for natural sciences and engineering.

A reception hosted by Interim Vice Chancellor for Research Mitra Dutta honoring the award recipients will be held Wednesday, February 8, at 4 p.m. in the UIC Student Center West, 828 S. Wolcott Ave.

This news release was written by Veronica Johnston, IHRP communications director.