“My previous work as a practitioner continues to motivate and inform my research and teaching. My interests align with national efforts regarding racial, ethnic, and gender disparities around health care access and utilization in later life. I’m dedicated both to helping students understand how programs differentially impact the aging population, and, in my research, learning how we can better meet the needs of these vulnerable populations and truly increase access to positively impact overall health outcomes.”
Aging; racial, ethnic and gender disparities in later life; community based intervention programs serving older individuals; research and program evaluation; macro practice; social welfare policy; health access; health disparities
Clinical Assistant Professor Louanne Bakk, PhD, MSW, is the director of the UB School of Social Work DSW Program and coordinator of the Rochester Field Education Program. Her pedagogical focus is on research and program evaluation, policy, macro practice and online learning.
Bakk’s research interests—in aging, with an emphasis on policy initiatives; disparities in later life; community-based programs and services; and technology and older adults—are influenced by her practice experience in the Southfield, Michigan Area Agency on Aging 1-B, where she observed the impact of public policy initiatives designed to assist older individuals.
Bakk’s research and community service focus on racial, ethnic and gender disparities in cost-related medication nonadherence under Medicare Part D and factors impacting older adults’ ability to maintain adherence.
Her recent project with Erie County Department of Senior Services examined older adults’ knowledge of Medicare benefits—in particular, the Medicare Savings Program and Medicare Part D low-income subsidy (LIS). Using participatory research, she measured the effectiveness of outreach on diverse segments’ awareness and access to the benefits.
Bakk is the author or co-author of 2017-18 studies and articles which expanded on her findings. She examined both whether awareness of the LIS varies by race and ethnicity among beneficiaries age 65 and older, and the impact of factors associated with health benefits’ knowledge and need for assistance on LIS awareness. This work was based on the premise that, despite having Medicare to meet health care needs, the cost-sharing requirements are barriers to receiving adequate care, particularly among more vulnerable older adult populations.
Bakk was co-investigator for “Coalesce and Connect: Building a National Network of Dementia Care Voices," a project funded by a 2014 Retirement Research Foundation Grant. The recipient of multiple additional grants and honors, in 2011, Bakk received the Innovations Achievement Award from the National Area Agencies on Aging Association for her work on the Recognizing Personal Emergency Response System Program.