Alicia K. Matthews, PhD

  • Associate Professor

Alicia Matthews is an Associate Professor and Clinical Psychologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Department of Psychiatry at the University of Chicago. Dr. Matthews is nationally and internationally known for her health disparities research with underserved populations primarily focused on the development and evaluation of culturally targeted cancer risk reduction interventions. She has served as the Principal Investigator of five federally funded research projects and co-investigator for several others. To date, she has received more than five million dollars to support her ground breaking research from federal, state, foundation, and departmental funds. She has published more than 60 peer reviewed articles and an additional 5 book chapters stemming from her research on cancer prevention and control. Currently she is the Principal Investigator of a National Institute of Health (NIH) funded study to conduct a randomized clinical trial of a smoking cessation intervention for adult smokers. She also serves as the director of the NIH funded Recruitment and Retention Core of Center for Clinical and Translational Science at UIC.

Current Area of Teaching

Courses Taught at UIC:

  • 2014-present Instructor, NUEL 558, Grant writing seminar for the nurse scientist. College of Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • 2012-present Instructor, NURS 585, Advanced Research Seminar, College of Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago.
  • 2005-2013 Instructor, Nursing 527 Inquiry II, College of Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • 2005-2012 Instructor, Nursing 516 Behavioral Health I, College of Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago
Selected Honors & Awards
  • 2014 Gay and Lesbian Medical Association Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality Achievement Award
  • 2014 “Healthy Chicago Award” from the Chicago Department of Public Health, Chicago, IL
  • 2013-2016 Helen K. Grace Diversity Scholar, College of Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • 2012 Research Mentor of the Year Award, Hispanic Center of Excellence in Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • 2012 Muskingum University Dominic Costanzo Award in Psychology, New Concord, OH
  • 2003 Cornerstone Award, Howard Brown Health Center, Chicago, IL
Selected Publications
  • Matthews, A.K., Hotton, A., Aranda, F., Kuhns, L., Lee, J., & Ross, N. (in press). Predictors of readiness to quit among a diverse sample of sexual minority male smokers. Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice.
  • Lee, J.G., Matthews, A.K., McCullen, C.A., & Melvin, C.L. (in press). Promoting tobacco use cessation for LGBT people: A systematic review. American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
  • King, A.C., Smith, L.J., McNamara, P.J., Matthews, A.K., & Fridberg, D.J. (in press). Passive exposure to electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use increases smoking urges. Tobacco Control.
  • Asvat, Y., Cao, D., Africk, J.J., Matthews, A.K., & King, A.C. (in press). Feasibility and effectiveness of a community-based smoking cessation intervention in a racially diverse, urban smoker cohort. American Journal of Public Health.
  • Matthews, A.K., McConnel, E.A., Li, C.C., Vargas, M., Kuhns, L., & King, A. (in press). Design of a comparative effectiveness evaluation of a culturally tailored versus standard community-based smoking cessation treatment for LGBT smokers. BMC Psychology.
  • Aranda, F., Matthews, A.K., Hughes, T.L., Muramatsu, N., Wilsnack, S.C., Johnson, T.P. & Riley, B.B. (in press). Coming out in color: Racial/ethnic differences in the relationship between level of sexual identity disclosure and depression among lesbians. Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology.
  • Matthews, A.K., Balsam, K., Hotton, A., Kuhns, L., Li, C.C., Bowen, D. (in press). Awareness of anti-tobacco messages in general and LGBT specific media outlets. Journal of Health Promotion and Practice.
  • Matthews, A.K., Riley, B., Everett, B., Aranda, F., Hughes, T., Johnson, T. (in press). A longitudinal study of the correlates of persistent smoking among sexual minority women. Nicotine and Tobacco Research.
  • Matthews, A.K., Li, C.C., Aranda, F., Torres, L., Vargas, M., & Conrad, M. (in press). The influence of acculturation on substance use behaviors among Latina sexual minority women: The mediating role of discrimination. Substance Use and Misuse.
  • Matthews, A.K., Vargas, M., Kuhns, L., Shappiva, N. & King A. (2014). A qualitative examination of the barriers and motivators to smoking cessation among HIV positive African American MSM smokers. Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice, Vol. 7: Iss. 2, Article 4. Available at:
  • Corliss, H.L., Rosario, M., Birkett, M.A., Newcomb, M.E., Buchting, F.O., & Matthews, A.K. (2014). Sexual orientation disparities in adolescent cigarette smoking: intersections with race/ethnicity, gender, and age. American Journal of Public Health, 104(6), 1137-1147.
  • Corte, C. Matthews, A.K., Brown, R., & Hughes, T.L. (2013). Advancing health equity in disparity populations: A focused issue on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 19(5), 239-240.
  • Matthews, A.K., Cho, Y. I., Hughes, T., Wilsnack, S. C., Johnson, T., & Martin, K. (2013). The relationships of sexual identity, hazardous drinking, and drinking expectancies with risky sexual behaviors in a community sample of lesbian and bisexual women. Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 19(5), 259-270.
  • Matthews, A.K., Li, C.C., Kuhns, L.M., Tasker, T.B., & Cesario, J.A. (2013). Results from a community-based smoking cessation treatment program for LGBT smokers. Journal of Environmental and Public Health, Article ID 984508.
  • Matthews, A.K., Li, C.C., Ross, N., Ram, J., & Ramsey, R. (2013). Breast and cervical cancer screening behaviors of African American sexual minority women. British Journal of General Practice, 1(107):107. doi: 10.4172/2329-9126.1000107
  • Matthews, A.K., Cho, Y., Hughes, T., Johnson, T., & Avery, L. (2013). The influence of childhood physical abuse on adult health status in sexual minority women: The mediating role of smoking. Women and Health, 23(2), e95-e102.
Current Research

My program of research is aimed at reducing cancer-related health disparities among vulnerable and underserved population groups. Specifically, I focus on tobacco control as a modifiable determinant of cancer-related health disparities among racial/ethnic and sexual minority populations – two groups at elevated risk for poor cancer-related outcomes due to the combined influences of behavioral (i.e., smoking), social (i.e., discrimination), and institutional level factors (i.e., poor health care access). Currently, I am the principal investigator of one of the first NIH-funded randomized clinical trials of a tailored smoking cessation treatment for LGBT smokers. The results of this study will inform treatment approaches in this underserved population with smoking rates 2-3 times that of the national average.