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Photo of Matthews, Phoenix A.

Phoenix A. Matthews, PhD

Professor, Department of Population Health Nursing Science

Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion

Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs


Building & Room:

1060, NURS


845 S. Damen Ave., MC 802, Chicago, IL 60612

Office Phone:



Dr. Matthews is nationally and internationally known for their health disparities research with underserved populations.  A professor and licensed clinical psychologist, they have more than 25 years of experience in examining determinants of cancer-related health disparities with a focus on racial/ethnic minorities and other underserved populations (see select publications below). Their recent research focuses on the use of community-based and culturally targeted health promotion interventions to reduce risk factors associated with cancer disparities including smoking cessation treatments. Dr. Matthews has served as the PI of five NIH funded grants and co-investigator for several others and is the author of over 100 peer-reviewed publications. Currently, they are co-director of the Center for Translational Science’s Recruitment and Retention Program and co-investigator for three NIH-funded pipeline development grants aimed at reducing health inequalities. Dr. Matthews will serve as a faculty mentor on the project. Dr. Matthews has expertise in both quantitative and qualitative methods and a proven track record in the science of community engagement.

Selected Grants

NIMHD, Center for Health Equity Research (CHER), Co-Investigator

NHLBI, Examining biomarkers and mechanisms of health disparities in sexual minority women, Co-Investigator

NIAAA, Impact of Supportive Policies on Minority Stress, Drinking and Health Among Women, Site PI

Selected Publications

Matthews, A.K., Breen, E., Veluz-Wilkins, A., Ciecierski, C., Simon, M., Burrell, D., & Hitsman, B. (2019). Adaptation of a proactive smoking cessation intervention to increase Tobacco Quitline Use by LGBT smokers. Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action, 13 (Special Issue), 71-84

Matthews, A. K., Anderson, E. E., Willis, M., Castillo, A., & Choure, W. (2018). A Community Engagement Advisory Board as a strategy to improve research engagement and build institutional capacity for community-engaged research. Journal of Clinical and Translational Science2(2), 66-72.

Matthews, A. K., Newman, S., Anderson, E. E., Castillo, A., Willis, M., & Choure, W. (2018). Development, implementation, and evaluation of a Community Engagement Advisory Board: Strategies for maximizing success. Journal of Clinical and Translational Science2(1), 8-13

Matthews, A. K., Rak, K., Anderson, E., Castillo, A., Ruiz, R., Choure, W., & Willis, M. (2018). Evaluation of 3 approaches for increasing patient engagement in clinical research: Feedback from a community engagement advisory board. Journal of Clinical and Translational Science2(1), 14-19.

Matthews, A. K., Rak, K., Anderson, E., Bostwick, W., Ramirez-Valles, J., Ruiz, R. A., … & Choure, W. (2018). White paper from a CTSA workshop series on special and underserved populations: Enhancing investigator readiness to conduct research involving LGBT populations. Journal of Clinical and Translational Science, 1-8.

Matthews, A. K., Rywant, M. M., Hallgren, E., & Shah, R. C. (2018). Racial disparities in eligibility for low-dose computed tomography lung cancer screening among older adults with a history of smoking. Cancer Causes & Control, 1-6.

Matthews, A.K., Blok, A.C., Lee, J.G.L., Hitsman, B.L., Sanchez-Johnson, Watson, K. et al., (2018). Policy statement on the reduction of smoking disparities for sexual and gender minorities.  Translational Behavioral Medicine: Practice, Policy, Research,  ibx017,

Matthews, A.K., Steffen, A., Kuhns, L., Ruiz, R., Ross, N., Burke, L., Li, C.C., King, A.C. (2018). Evaluation of a randomized clinical trial comparing the effectiveness of a culturally targeted and non-targeted smoking cessation intervention for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) smokers.  Nicotine and Tobacco Research.

McCabe, S. E., Matthews, A. K., Lee, J. G., Veliz, P., Hughes, T. L., & Boyd, C. J. (2018). Tobacco Use and Sexual Orientation in a National Cross-sectional Study: Age, Race/Ethnicity, and Sexual Identity–Attraction Differences. American journal of preventive medicine54(6), 736-745.

Matthews, A. K., McCabe, S. E., Lee, J. G., & Veliz, P. (2018). Differences in smoking prevalence and eligibility for low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) lung cancer screening among older US adults: role of sexual orientation. Cancer Causes & Control, 29 (8), 769–774.

Professional Leadership

Chair, Health Disparities and Equity Promotion Study Section (2016-2018), National Institutes of Health

Notable Honors

2018, Distinguished Researcher Award, College of Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago

2015, Inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, City of Chicago Commission on Human Rights

2014, Healthy Chicago Award, City of Chicago Department of Public Health

2014, Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality Achievement Award, Gay and Lesbian Medical Association


1996 National Cancer Institute Funded Postdoctoral Fellowship
University of Illinois at Chicago, Institute for Health Research and Public Policy, Chicago, IL

1995 Clinical Psychology Internship (APA-approved)
Rush Presbyterian – St. Luke’s Medical Center, Chicago, IL

1995 PhD, Clinical Psychology
State University of New York at Binghamton, Binghamton, NY

1992 MA, Clinical Psychology
State University of New York at Binghamton, Binghamton, NY

1989 BS, Psychology (Summa Cum Laude); Minor; Sociology
Muskingum College, New Concord, OH

Licensures and Certifications

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Illinois: 071.005526

Expiration Date: 09/30/2020

Research Currently in Progress

P20  CA202908-01 (R. Winn)                               09/23/15 – 08/31/19                0.45 AM 1.35 AM (in-kind);

NIH/NCI                                                                       $140,251                                 0.20 SM

1/2: The GUIDE Cancer Research Training Project

The GUIDE (GSU-UICC-Disparities-Education) Cancer Research Training Project is a collaborative initiative between Governors State University (GSU) and University of Illinois’ Cancer Center (UICC). The institutions will jointly conduct a pilot research project addressing a local, cancer-related health disparity and will develop a training program for GSU junior faculty designed to prepare investigators for careers in cancer disparities

Role: Core Director/Co-Investigator


R01 HL13724 (K. Kennan)                                        04/01/17 – 03/31/21                0.45 AM 0.15 SM

University of Chicago / NHLBI                                $13,090

Examining biomarkers and mechanisms of health disparities in sexual minority women

The proposed study will be the first to test the hypothesis that LGB women differ significantly from heterosexual women on objective biomarkers of health risks that are prospectively associated with later disease, and that discrimination stress mediates these group differences. Linking prospective data of childhood stress exposure to health risks in early adulthood will provide a unique opportunity to test whether childhood stressors potentiate the effect of adult discrimination on health risks among LGB women.

Role: Co-Investigator

U54MD012523 (M. Daviglus, J. Ramirez-Valles, R. Winn)       09/01/17-08/31/22              1.4 AM; 0.4 SM  

NIMHD                                                                                                                                                                                                $17,920.83                 

Center for Health Equity Research (CHER)

The overall goal of CHER is to advance the science of health disparities by examining the ways in which Structural Violence contributes to disparities among African American, Latino and Asian American populations.

Role: Co-Investigator


R01 AA013328-13 (Hughes/Johnson/Matthews)    08/01/2019-07/31/2021    0.60 CM

NIH/NIAAA                                 $447,163

Impact of Supportive Policies on Minority Stress, Drinking and Health Among Women

The goal of this project is to understand factors that mediate and moderate substantially higher rates of

hazardous drinking and substance use among sexual minority women and how this is critical to the

development of culturally appropriate prevention and treatment interventions.

Role: Site PI