Tamara A. Baker

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - Psychology
Associate Professor
Primary office:
Fraser Hall
Room 414
University of Kansas
1415 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, KS 66045

Research contends that symptoms associated with many chronic illnesses impact the individual’s physical and psychological health, social existence, and emotional well-being. However, factors associated with the experience and management of these health outcomes, particularly among diverse race populations, are poorly understood. This conceptual issue has evolved into a threefold research agenda:

1. Examine intra (within) race group variability in symptom and chronic disease (pain, cancer, arthritis, etc.) self-management among community- and clinic based populations, while identifying psychosocial and physical health indicators influencing the experience and management of these conditions. Applying an a priori within group approach allows me to rigorously examine the unique characteristics specific to that population (older adults, Black men), while providing a mechanism by which to draw more valid conclusions when comparing race groups. This is an important approach considering potential differences that occur between race groups within their historical, cultural, and socialized patterns.

2. Assess factors that contribute to health disparities and inequities in the management of disease, and receipt of and access to healthcare resources and services. This involves understanding the influence social determinants have at the patient, provider, and institutional levels.

3. Design and implement intervention programs addressing barriers to optimal symptom management among diverse race and marginalized populations. I have received federal funding to specifically investigate social, psychological, and cultural factors that influence health outcomes, but specifically understand how these factors influence the design and participation in community (and clinic)-base intervention programs and research.

Teaching Interests

  • Social determinants
  • Minority aging
  • Race and ethnicity


My research agenda has been to establish an original, meaningful and coherent program of research in pain management, health outcomes and behaviors, and domains of health disparities and social determinants of health among diverse race and marginalized populations. Specifically, it is my intent to continue a line of research that provides a knowledge base to understand and explain the experience and management of chronic pain among older minority populations, with an interest in further understanding the influence of social determinants of health. This will be accomplished with continued productivity in developing and testing models identifying clinical and psychosocial factors that influence the pain experience, health behaviors, and outcomes, and by developing and implementing intervention programs leading to optimal pain management in clinic- and community-based settings. I believe this research will have a significant impact on health policy and health care, while addressing the needs and potentially reducing, and possibly eliminating health disparities among underrepresented and marginalized populations.

Research Interests

  • Health disparities
  • Social determinants of health
  • Pain
  • Chronic disease self-management
  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Aging

Open Faculty and Staff Positions
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