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Regina  Shih


Faculty, Epidemiology

Jointly Appointed, Health Policy and Management

Regina Shih's main research areas are mental health, youth development, aging, dementia, and caregiving. Her skills include policy analysis, multi-level analysis of large datasets, study design, strategic planning, and program evaluation. Her research interests are diverse and center community-engaged approaches and policy-relevant outcomes. With her collaborators, she evaluated the associations between alcohol and cannabis outlet density and youth substance use, developed medication reconciliation measures for post-acute care settings across the US under the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act, created a national database of neighborhood measures to examine contextual influences on dementia risk, outlined policy recommendations for improving sleep in the U.S. military; published a policy blueprint for dementia long-term services and supports that resulted in Congressional testimony; tested a multi-site RCT to prevent substance use in middle schools; developed a toolkit for local public health and aging departments to prepare older adults for climate change-related events, and conducted a risk assessment of environmental health risks for the U.A.E.’s environmental health action plan. She is grateful to the sponsors that have funded her work, including private foundations such as John A. Hartford Foundation and California Health Care Foundation; local governments; and federal agencies such as CDC, NIA, NIMHD, NIAAA, NHLBI, NIOSH, and the Department of Defense.

Dr. Shih was previously a Program Director at RAND where she oversaw RAND's portfolio of public health, social services, and prevention research. Prior to her 16-year tenure at RAND, she was an IRTA Post-doctoral fellow with the NICHD Division of Epidemiology, Statistics, and Prevention Research. She currently serves as an adjunct researcher at RAND, a board member of the National Alliance for Caregiving, with secondary appointments in Emory Woodruff School of Nursing and Emory School of Medicine.

Current Projects:

ACL "Creating and Advancing Caregiving Research and Evidence Network" (PI Shih to prime grantee National Alliance for Caregiving). Develop common caregiving research priorities, provide consistent measures, and scale evidence-based interventions for programs funded by the Older Americans Act, including state units on aging; area agencies on aging; local aging and family caregiver support providers; kinship, grandparent and grandfamily services providers; and tribes and tribal entities.

NIA U24 "Research Network for Alzheimer's Disease Home and Community Based Services" (PI Shih). Build data infrastructure on measures of dementia HCBS structure, process, and outcomes, diversify the research bench and train researchers to develop policy-relevant research related to dementia HCBS.

CDC "Evaluation of the BOLD Public Health Center of Excellence on Dementia Caregiving" (PIs Rollison and Shih). Evaluate the effectiveness of the Center in supporting tribal, local, and state public health agencies' dementia caregiving efforts outlined in the congressionally mandated BOLD Act. 

NIA T32 "NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Study of Aging" (PI Shih). Support scholars in the study of aging-related issues, enhance analytical skills, effectively present research results, and develop a research agenda.

PCORI Eugene Washington Engagement Award "Developing Collaborative Capacity for Healthy Aging PCOR-CER with Villages" (PI Greenfield). Understand village members’ priorities to engage in patient-centered comparative effectiveness research and offer education on how older adults can become more engaged in how healthy aging research is conducted. 

NIA R01 "Investigating Informal Caregivers' Involvement in End-of-Life Care among Assisted Living Residents with Advanced Dementia and its Influence on Resident and Caregiver Outcomes" (PI Perkins). Assess family caregiver involvement in end-of-life care, changes over time, multilevel influences on relationships, caregiver outcomes, and residents' quality of life.

NIA R01 "Green Space and Cognitive Health: Role of Structural Racism in Environmental and Health Disparities" (PI Madrigano). Estimate associations between green space, structural racism, and dementia over a 20-year period. Examine the moderating role of gentrification and psychosocial stressors, mental health, and perceived neighborhood characteristics.

NIA R01 "Health, Wellbeing, and the Social Networks of Family Caregivers of People with Alzheimer’s Disease" (PI Friedman). Establish a longitudinal online panel of dementia family caregivers to identify the structure of support networks of older adults and family caregivers. An NIA COVID supplement supports the examination of network changes attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic.

NIA R01 "The Sweet Life: Long-Term Effects of Excess Sugar Consumption in Early Childhood" (PI Gracner). Using a quasi-experimental design, evaluate how a national nutritional policy affects cognitive decline in late life.

NIMHD R01 "Evaluating Disparities in Older Adult Institutionalization and Mortality after Implementation of Medicaid’s Balancing Incentive Program" (PI Shih). Apply econometric and qualitative methods to determine whether rebalancing long-term care from facility-based care to home-and community-based services is associated with health outcomes, and uncover any disparities by race/ethnicity and rural/urban residence among dual-eligible beneficiaries. An NIMHD dementia supplement supports the examination of whether access to HCBS differs for people with and without dementia.


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Areas of Interest

  • Addiction/Substance Abuse
  • Adolescent Health/Child Health
  • Aging
  • Climate and Health
  • Mental Health
  • Public Health Preparedness and Response
  • Sleep Epidemiology
  • Social Epidemiology
  • Women’s Health


  • BA in Neuroscience 2000, Johns Hopkins University
  • PhD in Psychiatric Epidemiology 2005, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Post-Doc in Children's Environmental Health 2007, NICHD

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