Phoenix Alicia Matthews, PhD

  • 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
Service / Practice

National Research

  • 2015 Invited Presenter, “Understudied Populations in Cancer Epidemiologic Research and Implications on Future Needs”, Think Tank, National Cancer Institute, September 8-9, NCI Shady Grove Campus.
  • 2014-2018 Standing committee member, Health Disparities and Equity Promotion Study Section, NIH.
  • 2012-2013 Guest reviewer, Health Disparities and Equity Promotion Study Section, NIH.
  • 2008-present Member of the Gay and Lesbian Association’s Lesbian Health Fund Review Committee.
  • 2007 Member of the California Breast Cancer Research Program CRC and Sociocultural Review Committee.
  • 2006 Ad Hoc Reviewer, the Physicians’ Services Incorporated Foundation of Ontario, Canada.
  • 2006 Member of the California Breast Cancer Research Program CRC and Sociocultural Review Committee.

National Advisory

  • 2013-2014 Invited Member, NIH LGBT Research Coordinating Committee (RCC)
  • 2012-2014 Policy Committee Member, Gender Identity in U.S. Surveillance (GenIUSS) group, coordinated by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, funded by the Centers for Disease Control
  • 2010-2013 Steering Committee, National LGBT Tobacco Control Network. The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health. 2010 Invited expert testimony, LGBT Health Research Report, Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.
  • 2009-2011 Advisory Committee, National LGBTI Young Adult Tobacco Needs Assessment. National Youth Advocacy Coalition.
  • 2009 Co-Chair, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Issues Subgroup. Moving into the Future: New Directions and Strategies for Women’s Health Research. Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH).
  • 2006-2007 Member, Committee on Psychosocial Services to Cancer Patients/Family in a Community Setting. Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.
Selected Honors & Awards
  • 2015 Induction into the City of Chicago's LGBT Hall of Fame
  • 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
  • Gamarel, K., Kahler, C.W., Lee, J.H., Reisner, S.L., Mereish, E.H., Matthews, A.K., & Operario, D. (In Press). Sexual orientation disparities in smoking vary by sex and household smoking among US adults:  Findings from the 2003-2012 National Health and Nutrition Surveys. Preventive Medicine.
  • Matthews, A.K. Hotton, A., Miller, K., Johnson, A., & Li, C.C. (in press). An internet based study examining the factors associated with the physical and mental health quality of life of LGBT cancer survivors.
  • Thakral, C., Vasquez, P.L., Bottoms, B.L., Matthews, A.K., Shay, K.M., Whitley, S.K. (In press). Understanding difference through dialogue – a first year experience for college students. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education.
  • Li, C.C., Matthews, A.K., Aranda, F., Patel, C., & Patel, M. (2015). Predictors and consequences of negative patient provider interactions among a diverse sample of African American sexual minority women. LGBT Health, 2(2): 140-146. doi:10.1089/lgbt.2014.0127.
  • King, A.C., Smith, L.J., Friedberg, D., Matthews, A.K., McNamara, P.J., & Cao, D. (in press). Effects of electronic cigarettes (E-cigarette) advertisement exposure on smoking desire and urge. Tobacco Control.
  • King, A. C., Smith, L. J., McNamara, P. J., Matthews, A. K., & Fridberg, D. J. (2015). Passive exposure to electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use increases desire for combustible and e-cigarettes in young adult smokers. Tobacco Control, 24: 501-4.
  • Reisner, S.L., Conron, K.J., Scout, Nfn, Baker, K., Herman, J.L., Lombardi, E., Greytak, E.A., Gill, A., Matthews A.K., The GenIUSS Group. (2015). “Counting” transgender and gender nonconforming adults in health research: Recommendations from the Gender Identity in U.S. Surveillance (GenIUSS) Group. Transgender Studies Quarterly, 2, 1, 34-57.
  • Aranda, F., Matthews, A.K., Hughes, T.L., Muramatsu, N., Wilsnack, S.C., Johnson, T.P. & Riley, B.B. (2015). 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, 21(2), 247-257.
  • Thai, J., Matthews, A.K., & Aranda, F. (2015). Experiences of physical and sexual violence among Latina sexual minorities: A brief report. Latina/o Psychology Today, 2(1), 23-29.
  • Matthews, A.K., Li, C.C., Aranda, F., Torres, L., Vargas, M., & Conrad, M. (2014). The influence of acculturation on substance use behaviors among Latina sexual minority women: The mediating role of discrimination. Substance Use and Misuse, 49 (14), 1888-1898.
  • Matthews, A.K., McConnel, E.A., Li, C.C., Vargas, M., Kuhns, L., & King, A. (2014). Design of a comparative effectiveness evaluation of a culturally tailored versus standard community-based smoking cessation treatment for LGBT smokers. BMC Psychology, 2(1), 12.
  • Matthews, A.K., Hotton, A., Aranda, F., Kuhns, L., Lee, J., & Ross, N. (2014). Predictors of readiness to quit among a diverse sample of sexual minority male smokers. Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice, Vol 7 (2), 130-150.
  • Matthews, A.K., Riley, B., Everett, B., Aranda, F., Hughes, T., Johnson, T. (2014). A longitudinal study of the correlates of persistent smoking among sexual minority women. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, ntu051.
  • Matthews, A.K., Balsam, K., Hotton, A., Kuhns, L., Li, C.C., Bowen, D.J. (2014). Awareness of anti-tobacco messages among a community sample of LGBT individuals. Health Promotion and Practice, 15(6), 857-866.
  • Sivadon, A. & Matthews, A.K., David, K.M. (2014). The role of social support and minority stress in the smoking behaviors of a Midwest LGBT community. Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 20(5), 307-314.
  • Lee, J.G., Matthews, A.K., McCullen, C.A., & Melvin, C.L. (2014). Promoting tobacco use cessation for LGBT people: A systematic review. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 47 (6), 823-831.1,3
  • Asvat, Y., Cao, D., Africk, J.J., Matthews, A.K., & King, A.C. (2014). Feasibility and effectiveness of a community-based smoking cessation intervention in a racially diverse, urban smoker cohort. American Journal of Public Health,104:S620–S627.
  • 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.
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.