Melissa A. Clark Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology, Adjunct Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology

I received my Ph.D. in Public Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, with a concentration in quantitative methods and gerontology. I was appointed to the faculty in the Brown University Department of Community Health in 1997 after completing a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research at Brown University.

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas

scholarly work

Dickersin, K., M. Munro, P. Langenberg, R. Scherer, K. Frick, A. Weber, A. Johns, J. Peipert, M. Baruch, M. Clark and the STOP-DUB Research Group. Surgical Treatments Outcomes Project for Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding (STOP-DUB): Design and Methods. Controlled Clinical Trials, In press.

Stokols, D., J. Fuqua, J. Gress, R. Harvey, K. Phillips, L. Baezconde-Garbanati, J. Unger, P. Palmer, M.A. Clark, S.M. Colby, G. Morgan, and W. Trochim. Evaluating Transdisciplinary Science. Abrams, D.B. and F. Leslie (Eds). New Directions in Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research. Nicotine and Tobacco Research. In press.

Rakowski, W., I. Lipkus, M.A. Clark, B.K. Rimer, B. Ehrich, P. Lyna, and P. Kornguth. Encouraging repeat mammography: Comparing a reminder letter, tailored stepped-care, and self-choice intervention. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. In press.

Clark, M.A., L. Bonacore, S. Wright, and W. Rakowski. The Cancer Screening Project for Women: Experiences with Cancer Screening Among Women Who Partner With Men and Women Who Partner With Women. Women and Health. In press.

Lemon, S.C., J. Roy, M.A. Clark, P.D. Friedmann, and W. Rakowski. Classification and Regression Tree Analysis in Public Health: Methodologic Review and Comparison with Logistic Regression. Annals of Behavioral Medicine. In press.

Clark, M.A., W. Rakowski, and L. Bonacore. Repeat Mammography: Prevalence Estimates and Challenges for Assessment. Annals of Behavioral Medicine. In press.

Sciamanna, C., M.A. Clark, T.K. Houston, and J.A. Diaz. (2002). Unmet Needs of Primary Care Patients in Using the Internet for Health-Related Activities. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 4(3): E19.

Sciamanna, C.N., and M.A. Clark. (2002). Effects of a Fingerprint Reader on Survey Responses of Primary Care Patients. Journal of Health Psychology, 8(1):187-192

Clark, M.A., W. Rakowski, B. Ehrich, B.K. Rimer, W.F. Velicer, C.E. Dube, D.N. Pearlman, K.K. Peterson, and M. Goldstein. (2002). The Effect of a Stage-Matched, Tailored Intervention on Repeat Mammography. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 22:1-7.

research overview

My interests integrate survey research methods with substantive areas of underserved populations and women's health. The overarching theme in my research is to better understand the individual, social, and environmental barriers and facilitators to health and well-being among individuals who have traditionally experienced disparities in health status and access to high quality health care. My current work is increasingly focused on recruitment approaches for hard-to-reach populations and the role of social networks in health care decisions.

research statement

As a survey methodologist, my research interests are in survey design and data collection methodologies. My substantive interests are in women's health, and particularly the role that psychosocial factors play in health behaviors among middle-aged and older women. My previous work has been primarily in the areas of cancer control and detection (i.e., cancer screenings and smoking cessation). A consistent theme in all of my work is to better understand the context of the lives of underserved populations to better inform public health interventions.

My interests integrate public health survey design and questionnaire development with substantive areas of women's health and tobacco. With extensive experience in questionnaire development and data collection methodologies, I direct the primary data collection activities within the Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research. For instance, I am currently the Principal Investigator of the Measures and Methods Core for the 5-year renewal of the Brown University Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use in Research Center (TTURC; PI: Dr. Raymond Niaura). As PI of the Measures and Methods Core, I direct the development of the core and project-specific protocols and am responsible for leading all data collection activities. I recently completed a 5-year NCI-funded grant about multiple cancer screenings (breast, cervical, colorectal) among unmarried women. This project evaluated three survey protocols (mailed questionnaire, telephone interview, and computerized self-administered questionnaire) for collecting data from women ages 40 to 75 years.

A theme of much of my work is the integration of multiple health behaviors. For instance, I have collaborated for several years with William Rakowski, PhD on the relationships between women's cancer screenings as well as the relationship between cancer screenings and tobacco use.

A consistent theme in all of my work is to better understand the context of the lives of underserved populations to better inform public health interventions. The NCI grant about unmarried women is an example of this. In addition, I am currently the PI of a study funded by the Komen Foundation to understand the experiences of unmarried disabled women with mammography screening. I am also collaborating on a grant with colleagues from the University of San Francisco (PI: Rena Pasick, DrPH) to develop and test culturally appropriate measures for five behavioral constructs that form the conceptual basis for many breast cancer screening interventions. Finally, I have worked with several junior colleagues on analyses of racial and ethnic disparities in screening behaviors and outcomes associated with breast, lung, and skin cancer. Some of my most recent grant submissions include projects with underserved populations in experiences with cancer and long-term care.

funded research

Principal Investigator, "Regular Mammography Screening: The Realities for Women with Disabilities", Susan G. Komen Foundation, $250,000 direct costs, May 2005-Present.

Principal Investigator, Methods and Measures Core and Co-Investigator, Social Contexts and Patterns of Young Adult Smoking (PI: Richard Rende, PhD), "Renewal of the Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use in Research Centers". (PI: Raymond Niaura, Ph.D.), National Cancer Institute (P50-CA04012), $7,637,228 direct costs, October 2004-Present.

Principal Investigator, "Planning for Our Health and Economic Futures: Experiences of Legally Unmarried Middle-Aged and Older Women" Lesbian Health Fund, $10,000 direct costs, February 2006-Present.

Principal Investigator, "Development and Evaluation of a Web-Based Tutorial for Primary Data Collection and Instrument Development", Brown Medical School, $3,000 direct costs, March 2006-Present.

Co-Investigator, "'Behavioral Constructs and Culture in Cancer Screening." (PI: Rena Pasick, DrPH), National Cancer Institute (R01-CA81816), $1,267,982 direct costs, September 2001-Present.

Co-Investigator, "Economic impact of tobacco use across the lifespan: An Examination of In-utero Exposure, Smoker Subgroups, and Tailored Treatments" (PI: Charles Neighbors, PhD), Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, $1,309,333 direct costs, January 2002–Present.

Principal Investigator, "Comprehensive Cancer Screening Among Unmarried Women.", National Cancer Institute (K07-CA87070), $459,281 direct costs, August 2000-August 2005.

Deputy Director and Co-Investigator, "Surgical Treatment Outcomes Project for Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding" (PI: Kay Dickersin, Ph.D.), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (U01HS09506), $6.6 million direct costs, August 1998-July 2005.

Co-Investigator, "Automated Tele-Counseling for Screening Mammography." (PI: Robert Friedman, M.D.), National Cancer Institute (R01-CA84447), $219,873 direct costs, January 2000-December 2004.

Co-Principal Investigator, Methods and Measures Core (PI: Suzanne Colby, Ph.D.) and Co-Investigator, Career Development Core (PI: Anthony Spirito, PhD), "Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use in Research Centers". (PI: David Abrams, Ph.D.), National Cancer Institute (P50-CA84719), $7,491,945 direct costs, October 1999-September 2004.

Co-Principal Investigator, "The LGBT Incubation Project: Searching for the Next Generation of Tobacco Interventions." (PI: Judith Bradford, PhD), American Legacy Foundation, $100,000 direct costs, November 2001-October 2002.

Co-Investigator, "Perceptions About Smoking-Related Symptomatology." (PI: Frederick J. Kviz, Ph.D.), University of Illinois Campus Research Board, $13,660 direct costs, January 2001-December 2001.

Co-Investigator, "Reciprocity and Successful Aging Among Persons with Multiple Chronic Conditions." (PI: William Rakowski, Ph.D.), AARP Andrus Foundation, $99,983 direct costs, January 2000-June 2001.

Co-Investigator, "Socioeconomic Deprivation and Outpatient Health Care Use" (PI: Sally Zierler, DrPH), Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, $49,997 direct costs, January 1999-February 2001.

Co-Investigator, "Smoking and Cancer Screening: Chronic Disease Management and Prevention for Older Women" (PI: William Rakowski, Ph.D.), The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, $49,993 direct costs, July 1997-June 1998.

Co-Investigator, "Achieving Repeat Mammography: Stepped-Care and Self-Choice" (PI: William Rakowski, Ph.D.), National Cancer Institute (R01-CA68556), $298,861 direct costs, June 1997-July 1999.

Co-Investigator, "Strategies for Smoking Cessation Among Older Adults", (PI: Frederick J. Kviz, Ph.D.), $51,430 direct costs from multiple sources (Gerontology Center, University of Illinois-Chicago; Marion Merrell Dow Inc.; Campus Research Board, University of Illinois-Chicago; American Cancer Society, Illinois Division; Rush-Prudential HMO). February 1992-June 1997.