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Powell Named Distinguished Researcher of the Year

Powell Named Distinguished Researcher of the Year

Banner image of Lisa M. Powell.

Lisa M. Powell, Ph.D., Professor in the division of Health Policy and Administration, has been named the 2013 Distinguished Researcher of the Year in the field of Social Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  The Vice Chancellor for Research made the announcement on January 16, 2014.  This honor recognizes the efforts and commitment of researchers who have demonstrated outstanding research achievements to advance the knowledge in their field of expertise.  Dr. Powell is one of five researchers at UIC to receive this honor and all were recognized at a reception on February 27, 2014.

“The UIC School of Public Health and the Institute for Health Research and Policy are proud and delighted that Prof. Powell is being honored with the 2013 Researcher of the Year Award in the Social Sciences,” says Dean Paul Brandt-Rauf.  “She is carrying on a tradition of outstanding public health research at UIC that is at the same time intellectually innovative and practically impactful.”  The School of Public Health has had two faculty who were previously recognized as Researcher of the Year: Dr. Susan Hughes in 2001 for Social Sciences and Dr. Robert Bailey in 2008 in Clinical Sciences.  “Her focus on the intersection of economics and behavior as it affects obesity provides new insights that will contribute to stopping this epidemic.  This is a well-deserved recognition of the significance of her work.”

Dr. Powell's research examines labor and health behaviors and outcomes and the related effects of economic policies.  Her current work examines economic and environmental determinants of obesity in which she is nationally and internationally recognized.  Her recent research has informed public health policy on the potential impact of taxes (on energy dense low-nutrient products such as sugar-sweetened beverages or fast food) and subsidies (for healthful products like fruit and vegetables) on consumption and body weight. Her work has made fundamental advances in our understanding of the sources of disparities in obesity and has been critical to the policy debate in the U.S. on child-directed food marketing.  

Dr. Powell's research findings are cited extensively by sources including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, U.S. News, CNN, NPR, international media, and First Lady Michelle Obama. Her recent work was funded by multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and administered by the Institute for Health Research and Policy.

“I am truly honored to be named the recipient of the 2013 Researcher of the Year Award in Social Sciences,” said Dr. Powell.  “I am very grateful to be working with such a talented group of colleagues, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate students

here at UIC. It is such a privilege to be able to undertake research that provides much needed evidence on the potential effectiveness of various policy instruments aimed at improving public health outcomes.”

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