Associate Professor
Health and Behavioral Sciences

Office Location:
North Classroom 3023C

Contact for office hours.

Ronica N. Rooks, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Colorado Denver. 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 adults and older adults. She has 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 currently exploring community-level social and physical environmental factors through a grant proposal to the American Heart Association. She is currently funded by the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research to investigate two papers on: 1) the relationship between racial health disparities and employment among older, well-functioning Black and White adults and 2) whether well-functioning Black adults, who have survived certain higher health risks (e.g., selective survival), will be more robust over time than White adults with chronic conditions. 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 her long-term expertise in health disparities research and enable her 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 her research.

Ph.D., Sociology, University of Maryland, College Park, 1999
M.A., Sociology, University of Maryland, College Park, 1995
B.A., Sociology/Anthropology and Economics, St. Mary’s College, MD, 1992

Elder, Keith, Jacqueline Wiltshire, Ronica N. Rooks, Rhonda BeLue, and Lisa C. Gary. "The Relationship between Health Information Technology (HIT) and Physician Career Satisfaction." (In Press: Perspectives in Health Information Management)

Spencer, S. Melinda, Richard Schulz, Ronica N. Rooks, Steven M. Albert, Roland J. Thorpe, Jr., Gretchen A. Brenes, Tamara B. Harris, Annemarie Koster, Suzanne Satterfield, Hilsa N. Ayonayon, and Anne B. Newman. 2009. "Racial Differences in Self-rated Health and Health Pessimism among Older Adults in the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study." Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 64, 1, 87-94.

Rooks, Ronica N., Eleanor M. Simonsick, Lisa Klesges, Anne B. Newman, Hilsa N. Ayonayon, and Tamara B. Harris. 2008. "Racial Disparities in Health Care Access and Cardiovascular Disease Indicators in Black and White Older Adults in the Health ABC Study." Journal of Aging and Health, 20, 6, 599-614.

Koster, Annemarie, Hans Bosma, Brenda W.J.H. Penninx, Anne B. Newman, Tamara B. Harris, Jacques Th.M. van Eijk, Gertrudis I.J.M. Kempen, Eleanor M. Simonsick, Karen C. Johnson, Ronica N. Rooks, Hilsa N. Ayonayon, Susan M. Rubin, and Stephen B. Kritchevsky. "Association of Inflammatory Markers with Socio-economic Status." 2006. Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, 61, 3, 284-290.

Rooks, Ronica N. and Keith Whitfield. 2004. "Health Disparities among African Americans: Past, Present, and Future Perspectives," chapter in Keith Whitfield’s edited, Closing the Gap: Improving, the Health of Minority Elders in the New Millennium. Washington, D.C.: The Gerontological Society of America.

Mehta, Kala M., Eleanor M. Simonsick, Ronica Rooks, Anne B. Newman, Sandra K. Pope, Susan M. Rubin, and Kristine Yaffe. 2004. "Black and White Differences in Cognitive Function Test Scores: What Explains the Difference?" Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 52, 12, 2120-2127.

Lee, Jung Sun, Robert J. Weyant, Patricia Corby, Stephen B. Kritchevsky, Tamara B. Harris, Ronica Rooks, Susan M. Rubin, and Anne B. Newman. 2004. "Edentulism and Nutritional Status in a Biracial Sample of Well-functioning, Community-dwelling Elderly: The Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 79, 2, 295-302.

Rooks, Ronica N. and Diane R. Brown. 2003. "Closing the Gap in Breast Cancer Screening Among Older African-American and Caucasian Women." Phylon: The Clark Atlanta University Review of Race and Culture, 50, 1-2, 127-143 (Special issue on Health Care Disparities).

de Rekeneire, Nathalie, Ronica N. Rooks, Eleanor M. Simonsick, Ronald I. Shorr, Lewis H. Kuller, Anne V. Schwartz, and Tamara B. Harris. 2003. "Racial Differences in Glycemic Control in a Well-functioning Older Diabetic Population: Findings from the Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study." Diabetes Care, 26, 7, 1986-1992.

Rooks, Ronica N., Eleanor M. Simonsick, Toni Miles, Anne Newman, Stephen Kritchevsky, Richard Schulz, and Tamara Harris. 2002. "The Association of Race and Socioeconomic Status with Cardiovascular Disease Indicators in the Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study." Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 57B, 4, S247-S256. 

ETST/HBSC 3002: Ethnicity, Health, and Social Justice/Health Disparities 
HBSC 3041: Health Culture and Society
HBSC/SOCY/PUBL 4040: Social Determinants of Health
HBSC 7071: Social and Behavioral Determinants of Health (aka Social Epidemiology)
HBSC 7400 001: Health Disparities
HBSC 7400 002: Advanced Statistics in Health