Dr. Makelarski is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health at Benedictine University. She joined Benedictine University in September 2019. She holds a Master of Public Health from Missouri State University (2006) and a PhD in Epidemiology from University of Iowa (2010). Prior to joining Benedictine University, Jennifer served as the Director of Epidemiology and Research Training for a biosocial research lab at the University of Chicago.
Dr. Makelarski has a broad range of research interests. Her most recent work focuses on assessing and addressing health-related social risks like food insecurity, housing insecurity and transportation difficulties. She was the lead epidemiologist on the development of the CommunityRx intervention, a resource referral intervention that provides personalized information about health-promoting community resources to people during regular clinical care. Her ongoing work examines the mechanisms through which informational interventions like these can improve psychosocial and other health outcomes. In addition, her work aims to identify ways to use traditional epidemiologic methods in combination with system science methodologies to better assess the impact of informational interventions. She is especially interested in interventions designed to reduce food insecurity as well as those targeting unpaid friend and family caregivers. Dr. Makelarski is currently collaborating on two clinical trials that will examine the impact of the CommunityRx intervention among caregivers of hospitalized children and caregivers of people with dementia.