Ronica Rooks

Ronica Rooks




Assistant Professor
University of Colorado at Denver

Professional Bio

Ronica N. Rooks, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Colorado Denver (UCD). Prior to her current position she was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Kent State University in Ohio. She also completed a W. K. Kellogg postdoctoral fellowship in health disparities at the Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan and a postdoctoral fellowship in geriatric epidemiology, in the intramural Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography, and Biometry at the National Institute on Aging in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Rooks graduated from the Department of Sociology at the University of Maryland at College Park with concentrations in demography and social stratification.

Dr. Rooks’ research focuses on explanations for racial and ethnic disparities in chronic conditions in adult and older adult populations. She has specifically focused on cardiovascular disease, diabetes, physical functioning, and mental health among African Americans, generally examining why African Americans have an earlier age of onset of chronic conditions, poorer sequelae in terms of management and declines leading to disability, and earlier age at death compared to Whites. To understand these racial health disparities she has explored explanations of socioeconomic status, health insurance, access to care, health service utilization, mistrust, and discrimination, and is exploring community-level social and physical environmental factors through a recently submitted R03 grant proposal to the National Institutes of Health. In the future, she hopes to pursue similar research on health disparities in chronic conditions with Latinos. Results of this research will establish important groundwork for my long-term expertise in health disparities research and enable me to apply for future research grants to reduce and eliminate health disparities by focusing on community prevention and intervention methods, seeking policy change, and becoming a teacher-scholar involving students in my research.

Project Description

My original proposal objectives were to: 1) descriptively examining racial, socioeconomic status (SES), financial burden, age, geographic, health insurance type, and managed care plan or not differences in quality of care and health care utilization (HCU); and 2) examining whether racial disparities in quality of care and subsequent HCU can be explained by SES, financial burden, age, health insurance type, managed care plan or not, residential area, and MA-level geographic concentrations of racial minorities and low SES populations, using ordinary least squares regression, logistic regression, and multi-level modeling.

However, based on the external reviewer’s suggestions my modified project also utilized a second data set, the Community Tracking Study, Household Survey 2003 (CTS). I examined: what contributes to racial/ethnic disparities in physician visits for African American, Latino, and other ethnicity adults compared to White adults? Also, does this relationship vary by age group or CC? And, can multi-level modeling contribute to our understanding of this relationship?

My New Connections Experience

I applied to New Connections because I wanted to try for a grant to help with course release time from teaching and increase my research time for publications, as well as improve my professional networks. The professional networks and affiliation with RWJF through the New Connections program have had a profoundly positive impact on my career. I appreciate my on-going affiliation with New Connections, being a part of “the family” and invited to various events that New Connections sponsors.

Research Interests

Racial and ethnic minority health disparities, particularly in chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease and physical functioning among African Americans. I am also interested in the association between productive activities and health among racial and ethnic minorities, such as working, volunteering, and care giving.

The Details
  • New Connections Status: Junior Investigator
  • Award Year: 2006
  • RWJF Team/Portfolio: Quality/Equality
  • Project Name: Explaining Racial Disparities in Quality of Care and Health Care Utilization among Black and White Adults: The Chronic Illness and Caregiving Survey.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *