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Dawn E. Alley

Dawn E. Alley Ph.D.

Academic Title: Adjunct Assistant Professor
Primary Appointment: Epidemiology & Public Health
Location: Howard Hall, 221B

Personal History:


  • B.S., Gerontology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, 2002
  • PhD, Gerontology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, 2006


  • 2008-present: Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, Division of Gerontology, University of Maryland School of Medicine
  • 2006-2008: Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar, The University of Pennsylvania
  • 2003-2006: Research Assistant to Dr. Eileen Crimmins, USC/UCLA Center on Biodemography and Population Health
  • Fall 2005: Teaching Assistant, under Dr. Phoebe Liebig, USC School of Gerontology, GERO 540: Social Policy and Aging
  • Summer 2005: Intramural Research Training Awardee under supervision of Dr. Luigi Ferrucci, National Institute on Aging, Clinical Research Branch, Longitudinal Studies Section
  • 2002-2004: Research Assistant to Dr. Jon Pynoos, National Resource Center for Supportive Housing and Home Modification
  • Summer 2003:  Intern, National Institute on Aging, Office of Behavioral and Social Research

Research Interests:

Dr. Alley's research interests include obesity, inflammation, and socioeconomic health disparities in disability, subjects on which she has published a number of articles in high-profile peer-reviewed journals, including and theJAMA, American Journal of Public Health, Archives of Internal Medicine, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Through her background in demography and gerontology, she has extensive training in longitudinal methods and analysis of complex survey data and a commitment to understanding how life-course social and biological influences drive health disparities.


Social Epidemiology and Health Disparities

Alley DE, Soldo BJ, Pagan JA, McCabe J, deBlois M, Field S, Asch DA, Cannuscio C. Material resources and population health: Disadvantages in health care, housing, and food among adults over 50. American Journal of Public Health. 2009;99:S693-S701. PMCID: PMC2774171

Dowd JB, Aiello AE, Alley DE. Socioeconomic disparities in the seroprevalence of Cytomegalovirus infection in the U.S. Population: NHANES III. Epidemiology and Infection. 2009;137:58-65.

Lievre A, Alley D, Crimmins E. Educational differentials in life expectancy with cognitive impairment among the elderly in the United States. Journal of Aging and Health. 2008;20:456-477.

Crimmins EM, Kim JK, Alley DE, Karlamangla A, Seeman TE. Is there a Hispanic paradox in biological risk profiles for poor health? American Journal of Public Health. 2007;97:1305-1310.

Alley DE, Suthers K, Crimmins E. The relationship of education to cognitive decline in older Americans: Results from the AHEAD sample. Research on Aging. 2007;29:73-94.

Alley DE, Seeman TE, Kim JK, Karlamangla A, Hu P, Crimmins E. Socioeconomic status and C-reactive protein levels in the U.S. Population: NHANES IV. Brain, Behavior, & Immunity. 2006;20:498-504.

Crimmins E, Soldo BJ, Kim JK, Alley DE. Using anthropometric indicators for Mexicans in the United States and Mexico to understand the selection of migrants and the “Hispanic Paradox.” Social Biology. 2005;52:164-177.

Obesity, Body Composition, and Strength

Alley DE, Lloyd J, Shardell M. (2011). Can obesity account for cross-national differences in life expectancy trends? In Crimmins EM, Preston SH, Cohen B (Eds). International Differences In Mortality At Older Ages: Dimensions And Sources (pp. 164-192). Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

Koster A, Stenholm S, Alley DE, Kim LJ, Simonsick EM, Kanaya AM, Visser M, Houston DK, Nicklas BJ, Tylavsky FA, Satterfield S, Goodpaster BH, Ferrucci L, Harris TB for the Health ABC study. Body fat distribution and inflammation among obese older adults with and without metabolic syndrome. Obesity. 2010;18:2354-2361.

Alley DE, Metter EJ, Griswold M, Harris TB, Simonsick E, Ferrucci L. Changes in weight at the end of life: Characterizing weight loss by time to death in a cohort study of older men. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2010;172:558-565.

Stenholm S, Koster A, Alley DE, Visser M, Maggio M, Harris TB, Egan JM, Bandinelli S, Guralnik JM, Ferrucci L. Adipocytokines and the metabolic syndrome among older persons with and without obesity – the InCHIANTI Study. Clinical Endocrinology. 2010;73:55-65.

Stenholm S, Koster A, Alley DE, Visser M, Goodpaster B, Houston D, Kanaya A, Lee JS, Newman A, Satterfield S, Simonsick EM, Harris TB, Ferrucci L, for the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study. Joint association of obesity and metabolic syndrome with incident mobility limitation in older men and women - Results from the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study. Journal of Gerontology Medical Sciences. 2010;65A:84-92. PMCID: PMC2796880

Alley DE, Chang VW. Metabolic syndrome and weight gain in adulthood. Journal of Gerontology Medical Sciences. 2010;65A:111-117. PMCID: PMC2796886

Stenholm S, Alley D, Bandinelli S, Griswold ME, Koskinen S, Rantanen T, Guralnik JM, Ferrucci L. The effect of obesity combined with low muscle strength on decline in mobility in older persons: results from the InCHIANTI Study. International Journal of Obesity. 2009;33:635-644. PMCID: PMC2697265

Alley DE, Ferrucci L, Barbagallo M, Studenski SA, Harris TB. A research agenda: The changing relationship between body weight and health in aging. Journals of Gerontology: Medical Sciences. 2008;63:1257-1259.

Alley DE, Chang VW. The changing relationship of obesity and disability, 1988-2004. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2007;298:2020-2027.

Ferrucci L, Alley D. Obesity, disability, and mortality: A puzzling link. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2007;167, 750-751.

Other Biomarker Research

Crimmins E, Vasunilashorn S, Kim JK, Alley D. Biomarkers related to aging in human populations. Advances in Clinical Chemistry. 2008;46:161-216.

Alley D, Crimmins E, Karlamangla A, Hu P, Seeman TE. Inflammation and rate of cognitive change in high-functioning older adults. Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences. 2008;63:50-55.

Alley D, Crimmins E, Bandeen-Roche K, Guralnik J, Ferrucci L. Three-year change in inflammatory markers in the elderly and mortality: The Invecchiare in Chianti Study. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2007;55:1801-1807.

Kim JK, Alley D, Seeman TE, Karlamangla AM, Crimmins EM. Recent changes in cardiovascular risk factors among women and men. Journal of Women’s Health. 2006;15:734-746.

Crimmins E, Alley D, Reynolds S, Johnston M, Karlamangla A, Seeman T. Changes in biological markers of health: Older Americans in the 1990s. Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences. 2005;60:1409-1413.


Alley DE, Putney NM, Rice M, Bengtson VL. The increasing use of theory in social gerontology: 1990-2004. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences. 2010;65B:583-590.

Alley D, Liebig P, Pynoos J, Banerjee T, Choi I. Creating elder-friendly communities: Preparations for an aging population. Journal of Gerontological Social Work. 2007;49:1-18.

Alkema GE, Alley DE. Gerontology’s future: An integrated model for disciplinary advancement. The Gerontologist. 2006;46:574-582.

Putney NH, Alley DE, Bengtson VL. Social gerontology as public sociology in action. American Sociologist. 2005;36, 88-104.

Pynoos J, Liebig P, Alley D, Nishita C. Homes of choice: Toward more effective linkages between housing and services. Journal of Housing for the Elderly. 2005;18(3/4):5-49. Reprinted as a chapter in J. Pynoos, P.H. Feldman, J. Ahrens (Eds.), Linking Housing and Services for Older Adults: Obstacles, Options, and Opportunities. Binghamton, NY: Hayworth Press.

Alley D, Crimmins E. Aging and the lifecourse revisited. Contemporary Gerontology. 2004;11: 60-62.

Policy Briefs

Pollack CE, Lynch J, Alley DE, Cannuscio CC. (2010). Foreclosure and Health Status. LDI Issue Brief 15(2). Philadelphia, Pa. Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics.

Alley DE, Chang VW, Doshi JA. (2008). The Shape of Things to Come: Obesity, Aging, and Disability. LDI Issue Brief 13(3). Philadelphia, PA. Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics.

Alley D, Wilber K, Bengtson V. (2005). Social Security: A Safety Net for America's Families? Washington, DC: National Council on Family Relations.

Pynoos J, Sabata D, Abernathy G, Alley D, Overton J, Nishita, C. (2003). Prevention of Falls at Home: Best Practices in Home Modification. Sacramento, CA: The Archstone Foundation.