September Researcher: Dr. Yolanda Suarez-Balcazar

Community Research Summary:

Health Disparities among Youth & Young Adults with Disabilities: A Community-Based Participatory Approach to Addressing Disparities






Professor & Head Department of Occupational Therapy
Professor, Disability and Human Development
College of Applied Health Sciences
Affiliate Faculty: Department of Psychology



Yolanda Suarez-Balcazar is professor and head of the Department of Occupational Therapy. She is a community psychologist by training. She also holds an affiliate appointment in the Department of Psychology at UIC. Her research interest and expertise covers several interrelated areas: Development, implementation, and evaluation of community-based healthy lifestyles interventions for youth and young adults with disabilities and their families from diverse backgrounds; the study of cultural relevant interventions and services and its role in addressing health disparities; and the study of community capacity building for evaluation, among others. As a spinoff from her community-based research project on healthy lifestyles with El Valor she is also studying walkability safety and community engagement. Her research uses a community-based participatory research approach and an empowerment framework. She is an invited mentor for the Leaders in Equitable Evaluation and Diversity (LEEAD) initiative by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. She is the President-elect of the Society for Community Research and Action (APA, Division 27).