University of Chicago

The goal of CHABLIS is to promote a sustained research and infrastructure development program that leverages longitudinal data, from both observational and interventional studies, to examine how demographic and economic factors facilitate or suppress individual healthy aging behaviors, and, in turn, influence outcomes among older adults over the life course.

Research Themes
Individual healthy aging behaviors; Family, networks and the life course; Aging in community and larger social contexts; Health outcomes at the hospital, neighborhood, and municipal levels; Measurement and methods for longitudinal studies on aging; Models of care for medically and social complex older adults; Integration of systemic and oral health; Personalized medicine and preemptive pharmacogenetic testing, including in minority populations.

Pilot Projects

  • 2020. Ellis Monk, PhD, Associate Professor of Sociology, Harvard University. Perceived discrimination, especially ethnoracial discrimination, is a significant predictor of the incidence and/or severity of a variety of health outcomes. However, most studies that focus on perceptions of discrimination between-groups fail to define what is meant by ‘racism,’ and rarely consider alternative measures of ‘race’ beyond dichotomous self-identification measures. Monk’s prior research shows that disparities in socioeconomic status among blacks associated with their skin tone rival or exceed SES disparities between blacks and whites as a whole. This pilot study uses innovative measures of skin color, perceived discrimination, and ethnoracial identity to examine their role in shaping health and aging among older adults.

    Perceived discrimination, especially ethnoracial discrimination, is a significant predictor of the incidence and/or severity of a variety of health outcomes. However, most studies that focus on perceptions of discrimination between-groups fail to define what is meant by ‘racism,’ and rarely consider alternative measures of ‘race’ beyond dichotomous self-identification measures. Monk’s prior research shows that disparities in socioeconomic status among blacks associated with their skin tone rival or exceed SES disparities between blacks and whites as a whole. This pilot study uses innovative measures of skin color, perceived discrimination, and ethnoracial identity to examine their role in shaping health and aging among older adults.

    Priority Research Areas: Health Trends and Disparities, Determinants of Health, Well-Being and Longevity


  • 2020. Dmitri Koustas, PhD, Assistant Professor, Harris School of Public Policy. The Rise and Consequences of Alternative Work Arrangements for the Aging Workforce.

    Koustas’ recent work has found rates of self-employment and gig work to be higher among older workers. As gig workers will not obtain health insurance through their gig employer, documenting whether they obtain health care coverage for themselves and their dependents through other means is important for contextualizing the welfare implications of gig work and for understanding the labor supply of gig workers. The aims of this pilot project are to clean and process new data elements, and to explore and develop new research designs to answer questions around gig work and health insurance in the United States.

    Priority Research Areas: Disability, Health Care and Long-Term Care, Population, Economic and Health Forecasting


  • 2020. Greg Kaplan, PhD, Professor of Economics, UChicago. Health Care Spending, Mortality and the Macroeconomic and Distributional Effects of Health Inequality at Older Ages.

    In existing work, Kaplan and colleagues have analyzed the joint economic and health implications of different polices by integrating an expanded SIR model of virus spread into a macroeconomic model with realistic income and wealth inequality, as well as occupational and sectoral heterogeneity. However, this work has so far not considered the role of age as a dimension of heterogeneity. The aim of this pilot project is to fill this gap by expanding both the epidemiological and economic blocks of the model to include older people.

    Priority Research Areas: Population, Economic and Health Forecasting


  • 2020. Peter O'Donnell, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, UChicago. Impact of Pharmacogenetics in a High Utilizer Program for Older Adults at Increased Risk of Hospitalization.

    Progress in pharmacogenomics (PGx) has led to identification of genetic variants that impact response or toxicity for hundreds of drugs. To address barriers to implementation, O’Donnell has developed a genomic prescribing system (GPS), which incorporates preemptive PGx test results and translates patient-specific genotypes into concise, real-time guidance integrated into the University of Chicago Medical Center’s (UCM) EPIC electronic health record. This pilot will evaluate whether the Comprehensive Care Physician (CCP) Program, designed to improve care for older adults at increased risk of hospitalization by giving them a physician who will care for them in and out of the hospital, may provide a stronger setting in which to assess the effect of the GPS system for PGx.

    Priority Research Areas: Biology, Genetics and Demography of Aging, Effects of Interventions on Population Health



Center Administrator/Media Contact: Kelsey Bogue