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Edith C. Kieffer

Professor of Social Work

Professor Edith C. Kieffer, MPH, Ph.D., University of Michigan School of Social Work, conducts research addressing health and health care disparities. She has extensive experience planning, conducting and analyzing data from qualitative formative research and intervention research studies in community and health care settings, including randomized clinical trials. Using community-based participatory research (CBPR) approaches, she and collaborators have evaluated the effectiveness of Detroit-based community health worker (CHW) programs in improving the health of pregnant and postpartum women (NIH/NIDDK – Healthy Mothers on the Move) and people with, and at risk for, type 2 diabetes (NIH/NIDDK - Community Health Worker Diabetes RCT for Latinos and CDC – The REACH Detroit Partnership). These studies resulted in significant improvements in dietary behaviors, depressive symptoms, glucose control, diabetes-related distress and other positive outcomes.

Kieffer is a co-Investigator for the evaluation of the Healthy Michigan Plan Medicaid expansion. She is leading qualitative studies around Michigan that explore the experiences of beneficiaries and health care providers, and the impact of Medicaid coverage, including its requirements and incentives, on access to and use of care, beneficiary health and other outcomes.

Kieffer is a founding steering committee member and directs grants supporting the Michigan Community Health Worker Alliance, which is promoting sustainability of CHW programs and careers through policy change and workforce development. She teaches courses in health care policies and services and health ethics. She is affiliated with the Detroit Community Academic Urban Research Center, the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation, and the Michigan Center for Diabetes Translational Research.

Research Interests/Focus

Ethnic and geographic disparities in health and health services; maternal and child health; multi-level community-based intervention research to promote prevention of diabetes and its complications.


Year Degree   School
1991 PhD Medical Geography University of Hawaii
1978 MPH Maternal & Child Health & Health Svcs Admin & Planning University of Hawaii
1973 BS Social Sciences with Certificate in Ethnic Studies University of Oregon


Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) Detroit Partnership
Michigan Community Health Worker Alliance

LeBrón, A, Spencer, M, Kieffer, E, Sinco, B, & Palmisano, G. (2018). Racial/ethnic discrimination and diabetes-related outcomes among Latinos with type 2 diabetes. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health.

Spencer, M. S. Kieffer, E., Sinco, B. R., Piatt, G., Palsimano, G., Hawkins, J., Tang, T., Lebron, A., Espitia, N., Nicklett, E. J., & Heisler, M. (2018). Outcomes at 18 months from a community health worker and peer leader diabetes self-management program for Latino adults. Diabetes Care.

LeBrón, A. M. W., Spencer, M., Kieffer, E., Sinco, B., Piatt, G., & Palmisano, G. (2017). Correlates of everyday discrimination among Latino adults with diabetes: Findings from the REACH Detroit study. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 26(1&2), 48-67.

Steinberg, E., Valenzuela-Araujo, D., Zickafoose, J., Kieffer, E., & DeCamp, L. (2016). The "battle" of managing language barriers in healthcare. Clinical Pediatrics.

Winkelman, T. N. A., Kieffer, E. C., Goold, S. D., Morenoff, J., Cros,s K., & Ayanian, J. (2016). Health insurance trends and access to behavioral healthcare among justice-involved individuals—United States, 2008–2014. Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Muriyama, H., Spencer, M. S., Sinco, B. R., Palmisano, G., & Kieffer, E. C. (2016). Does racial/ethnic identity influence the effectiveness of a community health worker intervention for African American and Latino adults with type 2 diabetes? Health Education and Behavior.

Hawkins, J., Watkins, D. C., Kieffer, E., Spencer, M., Espitia, N., & Anderson, M. (2015). Psychosocial factors that influence health care use and self-management for African American and Latino men with type 2 diabetes: An exploratory study. Journal of Men's Studies, 23(2), 161-176. Sage Publications.

Shah, M., Kieffer, E., Choi, H., Schumann, C., & Heisler, M. (2015). Mediators and moderators of the effectiveness of a community health worker intervention that improved dietary outcomes in pregnant Latina women. Health Education and Behavior. Sage Journals.

Rosland, A. M., Kieffer, E., Spencer, M. S., Sinco, B., Palmisano, G., Valerio, M., Nicklett, E., & Heisler, M. (2015). Do pre-existing diabetes social support or depressive symptoms influence the effectiveness of a diabetes management intervention? Patient Education and Counseling, 98(11), 1402-9.

Kieffer, E. C., Yankey, N., Mitchell, K., Allan, C., Janevic, M., Palmisano, G., & Roman, L. (2015). The role of evaluation in developing and sustaining community health worker coalitions: The example of the Michigan Community Health Worker Alliance. Journal of Ambulatory Care Management, 38(4), 284-296.

Lebron, A., Valerio, M., Kieffer, E., Rosland, A., Sinco, B., Hawkins, J., Espitia, N. R., Palmisano, G., & Spencer, M. S. (2014). Everyday discrimination, diabetes-related distress, and depressive symptoms among African Americans and Latinos with diabetes. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 16(6), 1208.

Tang, T., Funnell, M., Sinco, B., Piatt, G., Palmisano, G., Spencer, M., Kieffer, E., & Heisler, M. (2014). Comparative effectiveness of peer leaders and community health workers in diabetes self-management support: Results of a randomized controlled trial. Diabetes Care.

Kieffer, E., Welmerink, D., Welch, K., Sinco, B., Rees Clayton, E., Schumann, C., & Uhley, V. (2014). Dietary outcomes of a Spanish-language randomized controlled diabetes prevention trial with pregnant Latinas. American Journal of Public Health, 104(3), 526-533.

De Camp, L. R., Kieffer, E., Zickafoose, S., DeMonner, S., Valbuena, F., Davis, M., & Heisler, M. (2013). The voices of limited English proficiency Latina mothers on pediatric primary care: Lessons for the medical home. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 17(1), 95-109.

Kieffer, E., Caldwell, C., Welmerink, D., Welch, K., Sinco, B., & Guzman, J. R. (2013). Effect of the Healthy MOMs lifestyle intervention on reducing depressive symptoms among pregnant Latinas. American Journal of Community Psychology, 51(1-2), 76-89.

Kieffer, E., Welmerink, D., Welch, K., Sinco, B., Reed Clayton, E., Schumann, C., & Uhley, V. (2013). Dietary outcomes of a Spanish-language reandomized controlled diabetes prevention trial with pregnant Latinas. American Journal of Public Health.

Spencer, M., Hawkins, J., Espitia, N., Sinco, B., Jennings, T., Lewis, C., Palmisano, G., & Kieffer, E. (2013). Influence of a diabetes lifestyle intervention on mental health outcomes among low-income Latino and African American adults with Type 2 diabetes. Race and Social Problems, 5(2), 137-146.

Kieffer, E., Welmerink, D., Welch, K., Sinco, B., Schumann, C., & Uhley, V. (2013). Periconception dietary intake does not vary by duration of United States residence for Mexican immigrant women. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 113(5), 652-658.

Kieffer, E., Salabarria-Pena, Y., Odoms-Young, A., Willis, S., Palmisano, G., & Guzman, R. (2013). The application of focus group methodologies to community-based participatory research. In B. Israel, E. Eng, A. J. Schultz, & E. A. Parker (Eds.), Methods for Community-Based Participatory Research for Health (2nd ed.). 249-276. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Hawkins, J., Kieffer, E., Sinco, B., Spencer, M., Anderson, M., & Rosland, A. (2013). Does gender influence participation? Predictors of participation in a community health worker diabetes management intervention with African-American and Latino adults. Diabetes Educator, 39(5), 647-654.

Wooley, A., Valerio M., Kieffer, E., Spencer M., Sinco, B., Rosland, A., Hawkins, J., Espitia, N., & Palmisano, G. (2013). Everyday racial/ethnic discrimination, depression, and diabetes-related distress among African Americans and Latinos with diabetes. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health.

Spencer, M., Rosland, A., Kieffer, E., & Sinco, B. (2011). Effectiveness of a community health worker intervention among African American and Latino adults with type 2 diabetes: A randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Public Health, 101(12), 2253-2260.

Kieffer, E., Grigorescu, V., Meadows, P., Wood, S., & Zaagman, A. (2010). Health care services and policies to improve the health of low income women of reproductive age - report of the working group on reproductive age women. Proceedings of Health Care for Impoverished Women in Michigan in an Era of Health Care Reform.

Heisler, M., Spencer, M., Palmisano, G., Forman, J., Graddy-Dansby, G., & Kieffer, E. C. (2009). Participants' assessments of the effects of a community health worker intervention affected their diabetes self-management and interactions with health care providers. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 37(6S1), S270-S279.

Kim, C., McEwen, L. N., Kieffer, E. C., Herman, W. H., & Piette, J. D. (2008). Self-efficacy, social support and associations with physical activity and body mass index among women with histories of gestational diabetes mellitus. The Diabetes Educator, 34(4), 719-728.

Rosland, A., Kieffer, E., Israel, B., Cofield, M., Palmisano, G., Sinco, B., Spencer, M. S., & Heisler, M. (2008). When is social support important? The association of family support and professional support with specific diabetes self-management behaviors. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 23(12), 1992-1999.

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