Renae L. Smith-Ray, PhD

Research Scientist

Dr. Renae Smith-Ray became manager of health analytics, research and reporting at Walgreen Co., in Deerfield, Ill., in July 2016. Prior to that position, she was a research scientist at the Institute for Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois Chicago, where she is recognized as an IHRP Fellow. Her areas of expertise are in gerontological public health, cognition, health promotion interventions for older adults, and dissemination and implementation of health promotion programs. Dr. Smith-Ray has worked on health behavior change research interventions targeting physical activity and cognitive health and most recently has focused her efforts on fall prevention interventions for older adults. She has been principal investigator on two pilot randomized trials testing the viability of a computer-based cognitive training intervention to improve balance and reduce falls among older adults.

Dr. Smith-Ray is a member of the research team that developed and tested Fit and Strong!, an evidence-based physical activity and behavior change program for older adults. During her doctoral training she received an individual dissertation award from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ R36). She has been the recipient of a number of prestigious awards at the University of Illinois at Chicago, including the Illinois Dean’s Scholar Award and the Paul D. Doolen Scholarship for the Study of Aging. Dr. Smith-Ray is currently funded by a 1-year career development award (KL2) to examine the link between the central nervous system (CNS) and balance in older adults.  

Research Interests

Health promotion programs for older adults, including healthy cognitive aging, the use of cognitive training to promote physical and cognitive health in old age, physical activity programs for older adults, and the relationships between cognitive health and physical, mental, and social activities.

Recent and Noteworthy Publications

Access articles published by Dr. Smith-Ray through this edited list on PubMed.

Smith-Ray RL, Irmiter C, Boulter K. Cognitive Training among Cognitively Impaired Older Adults: A Feasibility Study Assessing the Potential Improvement in Balance. Front Public Health. 2016 Oct 17;4:219. eCollection 2016. [See abstract.]

Mikels JA, Shuster MM, Thai ST, Smith-Ray R, Waugh CE, Roth K, Keilly A, Stine-Morrow EA. Messages that matter: Age differences in affective responses to framed health messages. Psychol Aging. 2016 Jun;31(4):409-14. [See abstract.]

Almeida FA, Smith-Ray RL, Dzewaltowski DA, Glasgow RE, Lee RE, Thomas DS, Xu S, Estabrooks PA. An interactive computer session to initiate physical activity in sedentary cardiac patients: randomized controlled trial. J Med Internet Res. 2015 Aug 24;17(8):e206. [See abstract.]

Smith-Ray RL, Hughes SL, Prohaska TR, Little DM, Jurivich DA, Hedeker D. Impact of cognitive training on balance and gait in older adults. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2015 May;70(3):357-66. [See abstract.]

Hughes S, Smith-Ray RL, Shah A, Huber G. Translating Fit and Strong!: lessons learned and next steps. Front Public Health. 2015 Apr 27;2:131.[See abstract.]

Smith-Ray RL, Makowski-Woidan B, Hughes SL. A randomized trial to measure the impact of a community-based cognitive training intervention on balance and gait in cognitively intact black older adults. Health Educ Behav. 2014 Oct;41(1 Suppl):62S-9S.[See abstract.]

Smith-Ray RL, Fitzgibbon ML, Tussing-Humphreys L, Schiffer L, Shah A, Huber GM, et al. Fit and Strong! Plus: design of a comparative effectiveness evaluation of a weight management program for older adults with osteoarthritis. Contemp Clin Trials. 2014 Mar;37(2):178-88.[See abstract.]

Lee RE, O'Connor DP, Smith-Ray R, Mama SK, Medina AV, Reese-Smith JY, et al. Mediating effects of group cohesion on physical activity and diet in women of color: health is power. Am J Health Promot. 2012 Mar;26(4):e116-25.[See abstract.]

Smith-Ray RL, Mama S, Reese-Smith JY, Estabrooks PA, Lee RE. Improving participation rates for women of color in health research: the role of group cohesion. Prev Sci. 2012 Feb;13(1):27-35.[See abstract.]

Der Ananian CA, Desai P, Smith-Ray R, Seymour RB, Hughes SL. Perceived versus actual factors associated with adoption and maintenance of an evidence-based physical activity program. Transl Behav Med. 2012;2(2):209-217.[See abstract.]

Prohaska T, Smith-Ray RL, Glasgow R. Translation: Dissemination and Implementation Issues, In: Prohaska T, Anderson L, Binstock R, eds. Public Health for an Aging Society. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press; 2012.

Zoellner J, You W, Connell C, Smith-Ray RL, Allen K, Tucker KL, et al. Health literacy is associated with healthy eating index scores and sugar-sweetened beverage intake: findings from the rural Lower Mississippi Delta. J Am Diet Assoc. 2011 Jul;111(7):1012-20.[See abstract.]

Estabrooks PA, Smith-Ray RL, Dzewaltowski D, Dowdy D, Rheaume C, Lattimore D. Sustainability of effective community-based physical activity programs for older adults: lessons from active for life. Translational Behavioral Medicine. 2011;1:208-215.[See abstract.]

Estabrooks PA, Smith-Ray RL, Almeida FA, Gonzalez M, Schreiner P, & Van Den Berg R. Move more: translatingn efficacious physical activity intervention into effective clinical practice. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology. 2011; 9:4-18.[See abstract.]

Almeida FA, Shetterly S, Smith-Ray RL, Estabrooks PA. Reach and effectiveness of a weight loss intervention in patients with prediabetes in Colorado. Prev Chronic Dis. 2010;7(5):A103.[See abstract.]

Smith-Ray RL, Almeida FA, Bajaj J, Foland S, Gilson M, Heikkinen S, Seagle H, Estabrooks PA. Translating efficacious behavioral principles for diabetes prevention into practice. Health Promot Pract. 2009;10(1):58-66.[See abstract.]

Estabrooks PA, Bradshaw M, Dzewaltowski DA, Smith-Ray RL. Determining the impact of Walk Kansas: applying a team-building approach to community physical activity promotion. Ann Behav Med. 2008 Aug;36(1):1-12.[See abstract.]

Estabrooks PA, Smith-Ray RL. Piloting a behavioral intervention delivered through interactive voice response telephone messages to promote weight loss in a pre-diabetic population. Patient Educ Couns. 2008 Jul;72(1):34-41.[See abstract.]

France EK, Smith-Ray R, McClure D, Hambidge S, Xu S, Yamasaki K, et al. Impact of maternal influenza vaccination during pregnancy on the incidence of acute respiratory illness visits among infants. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006 Dec;160(12):1277-83.[See abstract.]

Honors and Awards

IHRP Fellow
University of Illinois Dean’s Scholar, 2011-2012
Paul Q. Peterson Public Health Doctoral Scholar, 2011
AHRQ Dissertation Research Grant Award, 2009-2011
Fellow, Grantmakers in Aging, 2010
University of Illinois Chancellor’s Graduate Research Fellowship Award, 2010-2011
Paul D. Doolen Graduate Scholar for the Study of Aging, 2009-2010
Recipient of the Estelle Goldstein Memorial Scholarship for the Study of Aging, 2008