Wassim Tarraf

Assitant Professor Gerontology
Phone: 313-664-2632


I am an assistant professor at the Institute of Gerontology, and a faculty in the Master's of Public Health program in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences at Wayne State University. I am a health services researcher, policy analyst, and gerontologist. My primary interest is in research on minority aging and racial/ethnic healthcare disparities. My research evaluates disparities in health, health behavior, and healthcare access and use among race/ethnic minorities in the United States, and investigates the social determinants of health and healthcare. My work relies primarily on analyses of large complex data sets. I have specific interests in data from the Medical Expenditures Panel Survey, the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos, the National Health Interview Survey, the Health and Retirement Study, the Behavioral Risk Factor Survelliance System, the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys (and its three subcomponent surveys), and the Medicare Current Beneficiary Surveys. I have served as a principal investigator or co-investigator and statistical consultant on several university and federally funded projects.

I have three active funded projects: 1) A pilot study, funded by the National Institute of Health through the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging, to examine Patient Centered Medical Home experiences among aging race/ethnic minorities in the US, 2) a Henry Ford Health System/Wayne State University funded project examining the early effects of the Affordable Care Act on preventive care use and disparities in use, and 3) a subcontract through Michigan State University to examine Latino health and aging.

Research Focus

Minority aging and racial/ethnic health and healthcare disparities.

Areas of Expertise

Minority Aging, Health Policy, Health Services, Public Health, Statistical Methods

Courses Taught


Health, Disease, and aging

Statistics for the social sciences


Research methods


PhD, Political Science, Wayne State University, 2010

MBA, Finance, Wayne State University, 2002

BS, Finance, Lebanese American University, 1999



Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, Program in Quantitative Methods, University of Michigan Ann Arbor (2005, 2006, 2010):

Bayesian Modeling, Advanced Bayesian Modeling, Longitudinal Analysis, Time Series Analysis, Advanced Maximum Likelihood Estimation, Structural Equation Modeling, Statistical Analysis for Incomplete Data

Institute of Gerontology, Wayne State University (2007-2009):

Pre-Doctoral Trainee



Wayne State University/Henry Ford Health System (2014-2016)

Title: Effects of the Affordable Care Act on Preventive Care Use and Disparities in Use

Role: Principal Investigator

Michigan State University (Subcontract; 2014-2016)

Title: Investigation of Latino Health and Aging

Role: Principal Investigator

NIA (P30 AG015281; Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research Pilot Scholar)

Title: Enhanced Primary Care and Healthcare Disparities among Aging Ethnic/Racial Minorities

Role: Principal Investigator


NIH/NIMH (R01 MH 84994: 2009- 2014; PI Gonzalez/Lichtenberg)

Title: Epidemiology of late-life depression and ethnicity research study (ELLDERS)

Role: Co-Investigator

NIH/NHLBI (N01 HC 65233 (subcontract): 2011-2013; PI Gonzalez)

Title: Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos

Role: Co-Investigator

Professional Associations

Academy Health

American Publich Health Association

Gerontological Society of America


Mahmoudi, E., G. A. Jensen,� Tarraf, W. (in press). "Eects of Medicare Part D on Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Hospital Utilization among Seniors." Journal of Aging and Health

Gonzlez, H. M.,� Tarraf, W., N. Gouskova, L. C. Gallo, F. J. Penedo, S. M. Davis, R. B. Lipton, W. Argelles, J. P. Choca and D. J. Catellier (2015). "Neurocognitive Function Among Middle-aged and Older Hispanic/Latinos: Results from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos." Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology

Ramos, A. R.,� Tarraf, W., T. Rundek, S. Redline, W. K. Wohlgemuth, J. S. Loredo, R. L. Sacco, D. J. Lee, R. Arens, P. Lazalde, J. P. Choca, T. Mosley, Jr. and H. M. Gonzalez (2014). "Obstructive sleep apnea and neurocognitive function in a Hispanic/Latino population." Neurology.

Johnson-Jennings, M. D.,� Tarraf, W., Gonzlez, H. M. (2014) United States colorectal screening practices among American Indians/Alaska Natives, Blacks and non-Hispanic Whites in the New Millennium (2001 to 2010).Cancer

Gonzalez, H. M.,� Tarraf, W., Bowen, M. E., Johnson-Jennings, M. D., Fisher, G. G.. What Do Parents Have to Do with My Cognitive Reserve Life Course Perspectives on Twelve-Year Cognitive Decline. Neuroepidemiology, 2013;41(2), 101-109.

Tarraf, W., Vega W, Gonzlez HM. Emergency Department Services Use Among Immigrant and Non-immigrant Groups in the United States. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health. 2013;1-12.

Gonzalez HM,� Tarraf, W. Comorbid cardiovascular disease and major depression among ethnic and racial groups in the United States. International psychogeriatrics. 2013; 25(05), 833-841.

Miranda PY,� Tarraf, W., Gonzalez P, Johnson-Jennings M, Gonzalez HM. Breast cancer screening trends in the United States and ethnicity. Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention. 2012;21(2):351-357.

Tarraf, W., Miranda PY, Gonzalez HM. Medical expenditures among immigrant and non-immigrant groups in the United States: �Findings from the Medical Expenditures Panel Survey (2000-2008). Med Care. 2012;50(3):233-242.

Gonzalez HM,� Tarraf, W., Whiteld K, Gallo JJ. Vascular depression prevalence and epidemiology in the United States. J Psychiatr Res. 2012;46(4):456-461.

Miranda PY, Johnson-Jennings M,� Tarraf, W., Gonzalez P, Vega WA, Gonzalez HM. Using colorectal trends in the U.S. to identify unmet primary care needs of vulnerable populations. Prev Med. 2012;55(2):131-136.

Miranda PY,� Tarraf, W., Gonzalez HM. Breast cancer screening and ethnicity in the United States: implications for health disparities research. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2011;128(2):535-542.

Miranda PY, Gonzlez HM,� Tarraf, W. Pathways Between Acculturation and Health Does the Measure Matter? Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences. 2011;33(4):524-539.

Gonzalez HM,� Tarraf, W., Haan MN. The metabolic syndrome, biomarkers, and the acculturation-health relationship among older Mexican Americans. J Aging Health. 2011;23(7):1101-1115.

Gonzalez HM, Vega WA, Williams DR,� Tarraf, W., West BT, Neighbors HW. Depression care in the United States: too little for too few. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010;67(1):37-46. Gonzalez HM, VegaWA,� Tarraf, W. Health care quality perceptions among foreign-born Latinos and the importance of speaking the same language. J Am Board Fam Med. 2010;23(6):745-752.

Gonzalez HM,� Tarraf, W., Whiteld KE, Vega WA. The epidemiology of major depression and ethnicity in the United States. J Psychiatr Res. 2010;44(15):1043-1051.

Gonzalez HM,� Tarraf, W., West BT, Chan D, Miranda PY, Leong FT. Antidepressant use among Asians in the United States. Depress Anxiety. 2010;27(1):46-55.

Gonzalez HM, Vega WA, Rodriguez MA,� Tarraf, W., Sribney WM. Diabetes awareness and knowledge among Latinos: does a usual source of healthcare matter? J Gen Intern Med. 2009;24 Suppl 3:528-533.

Gonzalez HM,� Tarraf, W., West BT, et al. Antidepressant use in a nationally representative sample of community-dwelling US Latinos with and without depressive and anxiety disorders. Depress Anxiety. 2009;26(7):674-681.

Gonzalez HM, Ceballos M,� Tarraf, W., West BT, Bowen ME, Vega WA. The health of older Mexican Americans in the long run. Am J Public Health. 2009;99(10):1879-1885.

Gonzlez, H.M., Croghan, T.,West, B., Williams, D., Nesse, R,� Tarraf, W., Taylor, R., Hinton, L.,Neighbors, H., Jackson, J. Antidepressant use in black and white populations in the United States. Psychiatr Serv. 2008;59(10):1131-1138.

In the News

Wayne State University provides statistical expertise to identify early signs of Alzheimer’s in Latinos