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Research Highlights

OSP Scholar Spotlight: Dr. S. Duke Han

s. Duke HanDr. S. Duke Han has found success in his NIA training awards and opportunities. Trained in neuropsychological assessment with the Brigham Behavioral Neurology Group in Boston, MA, he completed additional training in neurocognition and neuroimaging as a T32 postdoctoral fellow at the University of California San Diego.  He is a former Butler-Williams Scholar and is currently a NIA Beeson Scholar investigating the neuroimaging of financial and health care decision making in older adults at Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center.  Dr. Han recently presented his research update to the members of the NIA Task Force on Minority Aging and Health Disparities.

“I took a number of psychology and neuroscience courses that used the empirical literature as the main sources of reference for class discussion, and it was in reading and absorbing this material directly from the original sources that I cultivated a deep appreciation for medical research," says Dr. Han. In a yearlong post-baccalaureate research experience he increased his interest in academic medical research and witnessed the realities of the pursuit of grant funding for academic research.

“The greatest challenge was for me to obtain my first NIH-funded award. My K award mentor, Dr. David A. Bennett and other mentors and colleagues at Rush, have generously spent a lot of time and devoted significant effort to teach me how to write a successful grant,” remembers Han.

“The issue of health disparities has always interested me from a social justice perspective. Social justice is a frequent conversation topic in our household as my wife is a non-profit attorney and we regularly participate in community service activities with our kids. Our research in financial and healthcare decision making in old age started to turn into the direction of health disparities and it was a natural progression and integration of my professional and personal interests,” says Han. Duke is collaborating with Drs. Lisa Barnes and Patricia Boyle at Rush to look more directly at the issue of health disparities in financial and healthcare decision making.  His goal is to develop a program of research that more systematically explores the reasons for these disparities.

“Becoming an NIA Paul Beeson fellow is certainly my greatest achievement to date in my career. I was delighted to present a research brief during the NIA Task Force on Minority Aging Research meeting and look forward to what the future has in store for this research," says Han.