MAUREEN BENJAMINS, PHD
Senior Research Fellow
Maureen Benjamins' research interests pertain to health disparities and the influence of social factors on these disparities. In particular, her work focuses on the role of religion, discrimination, race, and ethnicity on health care utilization, health behaviors, and other health outcomes. Dr. Benjamins has led several initiatives to study disparities nationally and in Chicago, including the Sinai Community Health Survey 2.0, of which she is the co-Principal Investigator. The Sinai Survey provides data from a representative survey of 1,500 adults and 400 children in 9 Chicago communities and is one of the largest community-driven, face-to-face health surveys in Chicago history. Dr. Benjamins is also currently the Principal Investigator of CHAMP (Controlling Hyperglycemia Among Minority Population), a randomized control trial testing two diabetes management programs to lower blood glucose levels in a sample of minority patients with uncontrolled diabetes.
Other interests of Dr. Benjamins include expanding medical education to include a focus on social determinants of health and health disparities. To this end, she is an adjunct faculty member at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science where she assists with the Clinical Epidemiology course and directs research internship programs for medical students.
Previously, Dr. Benjamins has evaluated data from the Jewish Community Health Survey and, based on the findings from that survey, she developed and implemented a five-year, multi-component obesity prevention program for the Jewish school system in Chicago. She co-authored a book, Urban Health: Combating Disparities with Local Data, with Steve Whitman and Ami Shah that describes this initiative and others. Urban Health was published by Oxford University Press in 2010. Following this, Dr. Benjamins received a 2-year grant from the American Cancer society to better understand the impact of discrimination on cancer screening behavior in underserved communities.
Postdoctoral Fellow in Gerontological Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2005
Ph.D., Sociology, The University of Texas at Austin, 2004
M.A., Sociology, The University of Texas at Austin, 2001
B.A., Sociology, Duke University, 1998
- Benjamins, MR; Middleton, M. 2019. Perceived Discrimination in Medical Settings and Perceived Quality of Care: A Population-Based Study in Chicago. PLOS One. 14(4): e0215976. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0215976.
- Benjamins MR, Hirschtick JL, Hunt BR, Hughes MM, Hunter B. Racial Disparities in Heart Disease Mortality in the 50 Largest U.S. Cities. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities (2016); DIO: 10.1007/s40615-016-0300-6.
- Benjamins MR, Hunt BR, Raleigh SM, Hirschtick JL, Hughes MM. Racial Disparities in Prostate Cancer Mortality in the 50 Largest US Cities. Cancer Epidemiology (2016); 44: 125-131. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.canep.2016.07.0719.
- Hughes MM, Yang E, Ramanathan D, Benjamins MR. Community-Based Diabetes Community Health Worker Intervention in an Underserved Chicago Population. J Community Health. June 2016:1-10. doi:10.1007/s10900-016-0212-8.
- Hunt BR, Allgood KL, Kanoon JM, Benjamins MR. Keys to the Successful Implementation of Community-Based Outreach and Navigation: Lessons from a Breast Health Navigation Program. Journal of Cancer Education (2015); doi: 10.1007/s13187-015-0904-2.
- Whitman S, Shah A, Benjamins M, West J. Using Survey Data to Improve Health: Community Outreach and Collaboration. In Johnson TP (ed). Handbook of Health Survey Methods (Chapter 13). Wiley, 2014.
- Benjamins MR and Whitman S. Relationships between Discrimination in Health Care and Health Care Outcomes among Four Race/Ethnic Groups. (2014). Journal of Behavioural Medicine, 37 (3): 402-413.
- Benjamins MR. Comparing Measures of Racial/Ethnic Discrimination, Coping, and Associations with Health-Related Outcomes in a Diverse Sample. (2013). Journal of Urban Health, 90(5): 832-848.
- Ellison CG, Benjamins MR. Invited Commentary: Advancing research on spiritual influences at the end of life. (2013). JAMA Internal Medicine: 173(12):1117-8.
- Fitchett G, Benjamins MR, Skarupsky K, and Mendes de Leon C. Worship Attendance and the Disability Process in a Community-based Population of Older Adults. (2013). Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 68(2): 235-245.
- Benjamins MR. Race/Ethnic Discrimination and Preventive Service Utilization in a Sample of Whites, Blacks, Mexicans, and Puerto Ricans. (2012). Medical Care, 50(10):870-6.
- Benjamins, Maureen R. Religious Beliefs, Diet, and Physical Activity among Jewish Adolescents. (2012). Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 51(3): 588-597.
- Benjamins MR, Ellison CG, Krause N, and Marcum JP. Religion and Preventive Service Use: Do Congregational Support and Religious Beliefs Explain the Relationship Between Attendance and Utilization? (2011). Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 34(6): 462-476.
- Benjamins MR, Hirschman J, Hirschtick J, and Whitman S. Exploring Differences in Self-Rated Health among Blacks, Whites, Mexicans, and Puerto Ricans. (2012). Ethnicity and Health, 17(5):463-76.
- Greil, Arthur, Julia McQuillan, Maureen Benjamins, David R. Johnson, Katherine M. Johnson, and Chelsea Heinz. Dissecting the Effects of Religiosity on Medical Helpseeking: The Case of Infertility. (2010). Social Science and Medicine, 71: 734-742.
- Margellos-Anast H, Gutierrez M. Pediatric Asthma in Black and Latino Chicago Communities: Local Level Data Drives Response in Whitman, S. Shah, A. Benjamins, M. Urban Health: Combating Disparities with Local Data (247-284) Oxford University Press, 2010.
- Benjamins, MR and Whitman S. A Culturally Appropriate School Wellness Initiative: Results of a 2-Year Pilot Intervention in 2 Jewish Schools Journal of School Health 2010; 80(8):378-386.
- Benjamins, MR & Buck, AC. Religion: A Sociocultural Predictor of Health Behaviors in Mexico. Journal of Aging and Health 2008;20(3) 290-305.
- Benjamins, Maureen R. and Marcia Finlayson. Religious Service Use in a Sample of Middle-Aged and Older Adults with Multiple Sclerosis. Journal of Aging and Health, 19(3): 537-553, 2007
- Benjamins, Maureen R., Dana M. Rhodes, Joel M. Carp, and Steven Whitman. Conducting and Responding to a Jewish Community Health Survey: Rationale, Results, and Advice. Journal of Jewish Communal Service. 2007; 82:83-95.
- Benjamins, Maureen R. Predictors of Preventive Health Care Use Among Middle-aged and Older Adults in Mexico: The Role of Religion. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology. 2007; 22: 221-234.
- Benjamins MR, Rhodes DM, Carp JM, Whitman S. A Local Community Health Survey: Findings from a Population-Based Survey of the Largest Jewish Community of Chicago. Journal of Community Health 2006; 31(6):479-95.
- Benjamins M, Rhodes DM, Carp JM, Whitman S. Report of the Findings of the Jewish Community Health Survey: Final Report. Chicago, Illinois: Sinai Urban Health Institute, 2006.
- Benjamins MR. Religious Influences on Preventive Health Care Use in a Nationally Representative Sample of Middle Age Women. Journal of Behavioral Medicine. 2006; 29(1): 1-16.
- Benjamins MR. Religious Influences on Trust in Physicians and the Health Care System. International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine. 2006; 36(1): 69-83.
- Benjamins MR, Trinitapoli JA, Ellison CG. Religous Attendance, Health Maintenance Beliefs, and Mammography Utilization: Findings from a Nationwide Survey of Presbyterian Women. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. 2006; 45(4): 597-607.
- Benjamins MR. Does Religion Influence Patient Satisfaction? American Journal of Health Behavior. 2006; 30(1): 85-91.
- Ellison, CG; Lee, JW; Benjamins, MR; Krause, NM; Ryan, DN; and Marcum, JP. Congregational Support Networks, Health Beliefs, and Annual Medical Exams: Findings from a National Sample of Presbyterians. Review of Religious Research 2008, vol 50(2): 176-193.