Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health Program at UIC

Leadership Team

Stacie GellerStacie Geller, PhD
Principal Investigator

Stacie Geller, Ph.D. is G. William Arends Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University Of Illinois College Of Medicine. She is the Director of the UIC Center for Research on Women and Gender and the National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health. In her role as director of two UIC centers, she promotes collaborative multidisciplinary work related to women’s lives. Dr. Geller is a health services researcher and epidemiologist with expertise in women’s health, complementary and alternative medicine, and maternal mortality and morbidity. She has been the principal or co-investigator on over 25 funded research projects and has been the PI on 2 R01s. Dr. Geller has over 65 peer reviewed publications, 50 as first or senior author. Dr. Geller has conducted research related to maternal mortality and morbidity since 1999. As PI of a CDC/ASPH cooperative agreement to investigate factors associated with maternal mortality, she developed an innovative model for early identification of high-risk women that has been used nationally and internationally. Dr. Geller is a founding and continuing member of the Illinois Maternal Mortality Review Committee, which is responsible for review of preventability issues for all maternal deaths in the state. Dr. Geller’s international work in maternal mortality and morbidity began with a 5-year NICHD-funded randomized clinical trial comparing the use of oral misoprostol for prevention of postpartum hemorrhage in rural India. She is currently funded by Gynuity Health Projects and the Gates Foundation to conduct another community-based trial in rural India to compare two dosing strategies for the use of misoprostol to prevent postpartum hemorrhage. Dr. Geller is also collaborating with the MacArthur Foundation, the Millennium Villages Project and Pathfinder International to implement a continuum of care model to reduce PPH in India, Nigeria, and Ghana. She is currently mentoring several women’s health faculty members from UIC and Northwestern University who have interests in global women’s health.

Dr. Geller has been actively involved in leadership and mentoring activities for women and under-represented minorities on the UIC campus. Under her leadership, the UIC Women in Science and Engineering program received the 2011 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring from President Obama and the National Science Foundation. In recognition of her leadership and mentoring Dr. Geller received the 2010 Chancellor's Committee on the Status of Women's Woman of the Year award.

In the past five years, Dr. Geller has mentored more than 20 junior faculty members, clinical postdoctoral fellows and PhD candidates. Prior to the UIC BIRCWH program's funding, she (along with Dr. Hughes) established the Interdisciplinary Women's Health Research (IWHR) program to provide senior faculty support to junior faculty interested in women's health research. This program provided the opportunity for junior faculty scholars to be advised by an interdisciplinary group of senior women's health research faculty and paired with two senior faculty mentors. Mentoring activities focused on developing research skills such as proposal development, methodology, preparation of materials for publication and presentation, and funding. Dr. Geller also serves on the advisory board for the CCTS REACH Mentoring Academy.

Dr. Geller's leadership in women's global health research was recognized in an invitation to present to the United Nations Commission on Population and Development in 2009. More recently, she was installed as Development Queen Mother of the Manso Nkwanta Traditional Area in Ghana by the Queen Mother and King of Manso Nkwanta to work toward the improvement of the education for women and girls and reducing teenage pregnancy.

Pauline Maki, PhD
Program Director
and Co-Investigator
Pauline Maki, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychiatry (College of Medicine) and Psychology (College of Liberal Arts and Sciences). She leads a program of research that focuses on the effects of sex hormones on cognition, mood, and brain function. Her research program comprises a series of observational studies and clinical trials focusing on neuropsychological and neuroimaging outcomes. Her brain imaging research led to novel insights into the neural targets of hormone therapy in postmenopausal women, and her clinical trials led to insights into potential harmful cognitive effects of certain progestins used in hormone therapy. As a tenure-track investigator in the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Aging, Dr. Maki was a co-developer and Co-Principal Investigator of the Women's Health Initiative Study of Cognitive Aging (WHISCA) and Cognition in the Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (Co-STAR).

Dr. Maki is the Director of Women's Mental Health Research at UIC. She is PI on an NIH-funded randomized clinical trial comparing the effects of hormone therapy and phytoestrogens on cognition, anxiety, and stress in midlife women. She mentors two undergraduates and two PhD students in this field of research. Dr. Maki has numerous publications on hormones and cognitive function and has won a number of NIH awards for her research and service. She is on executive committees for several women's health advisory boards, the Board of Trustees for the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), and is Chair of the NAMS Research Affairs Committee. She is a frequent international and national speaker on women's mental health.

Dr. Maki also serves as the Director of the Neurocognitive Working Group of the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), the largest prospective study of the natural and treated history of HIV in women (n = 1526 in the neurocognitive study). In this role, she leads investigations of female-linked risk factors for cognitive function and mood, including menopausal status and childhood trauma, and she conducts neuroimaging studies. She currently mentors a female psychiatry resident, a second-year female medical student, and three PhD graduate students in projects linked to the WIHS. Two of Dr. Maki's current PhD students received F31 funds, one from NIDA and another from NIMH, to conduct neuroimaging studies to better understand the effects of drug abuse and genetics, respectively, on brain function in HIV-infected women. She teaches seminars focusing on cognition and mood in women with HIV.

Dr. Maki currently mentors two UIC BIRCWH scholars and one K23 Mentee at Rochester University in New York. She is Director and founder of the NAMS Mentorship Program, which over the past three years has paired 16 new investigators (three of them BIRCWH scholars from outside of UIC) with senior experts in menopause to further their training in the scientific study of women’s health from midlife and beyond. NAMS received funding from ORWH for its training program to facilitate new investigators in their use of data sets collected by Study of Women's Health Across the Nation and the Women's Health Initiative.

Tonda HughesTonda Hughes, PhD, RN, FAAN
Co-Investigator

Tonda Hughes is Professor and Department Head in Nursing and Public Health. She is the Director of Research for the UIC National Center of Excellence in Women's Health. Dr. Hughes is also a Visiting Senior Scientist at The Fenway Institute of Fenway Community Health (Boston, MA) and Honorary Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne in the Department of General Practice. Her research focuses on substance abuse among vulnerable populations of women. She is well known for her early research on chemically dependent nurses and is an internationally recognized expert in the area of alcohol use among lesbians. She has published extensively in the area of lesbian health, including the book Mental Health Issues for Sexual Minority Women (Haworth Press, 2003). She directs the Chicago Health and Life Experiences of Women (CHLEW), a study funded by NIH since 1999 and the first NIH-funded longitudinal study to focus on lesbian health.

Dr. Hughes teaches graduate courses in women's health and has mentored multiple postdoctoral fellows and faculty trainees funded by K-awards. In addition to her work with the UIC BIRCWH program, Dr. Hughes serves as faculty on several other training grants including the AIDS International Research Training Program, Training in Primary Health Care Nursing Research, and Reducing Disparities in Underserved Populations.

Dr. Hughes has served as consultant or advisory to a number of federal agencies, including the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA) and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT). She is currently a member of CSAT's National Cultural Competency Network, Consensus Panel on Cultural Competency in Substance Abuse Treatment, and Consensus Panel on the Specific Needs of Women in Substance Abuse Treatment. She consults with numerous researchers nationally and internationally.

Recognition of Dr. Hughes' work with vulnerable populations includes awards from the Chicago Lesbian Community Cancer Project, the Oak Park Area Gay and Lesbian Association, the National Nurses' Society on Addictions, and Sigma Theta Tau International. She was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing—the nursing profession's highest honor—in 2001; the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 2003; and the University of Kentucky, College of Nursing Hall of Fame in 2011. Dr. Hughes' current research projects include: Sexual Identity and Drinking: A Longitudinal Follow-up (PI), Sexual Minority Women and High Risk Drinking (Co-I), and Examining Health Risks across Sexual Identity Groups in the Australian Longitudinal Study of Women's Health (Co-I).

©2007 UIC Center of Excellence in Women's Health