Biobehavioral Health Alumni Profile: Tamara Baker, Ph.D.

picture of Tamara Baker


B.S: 1993, Psychology, North Carolina Central University
MS: 1995, Community/Clinical Psychology, Norfolk State University
Ph.D. 2001, Biobehavioral Health, The Pennsylvania State University

Current Position

Associate Professor
School of Aging Studies
University of South Florida

On the Ph.D. program, in her words:

“Saying what I liked about BB H in a few sentences does not give the experiences I gained while pursuing my doctorate degree and the department its true accolades. The department is definitely like no other. The level of expertise and professionalism evidenced throughout the department is beyond measure. The faculty are knowledgeable, creative, accessible, and highly respected. From understanding the dynamics of the immune system to exploring the dimensions of program implementation and evaluation, the education and tutelage I received while pursuing my doctorate degree, was and continues to be priceless! And in the infamous words of my mentor…'that's a beautiful thing!'”

“There are limitless possibilities with a career in Biobehavioral Health. This is evidenced by the diverse career paths of former BB H graduates. The training you receive will allow you to be more marketable and well versed. Take full advantage of the multiplicity of knowledge, resources, and opportunities that are available while pursuing your degree, and remember…the sky is the limit.”

Current areas of professional interest are:

  1. To understand the behavioral and psychosocial predictors and outcomes of chronic pain and disease in older adults from diverse racial and ethnic populations;
  2. To examine health disparities and disparities in chronic pain management across the age continuum among community-dwelling adults in general and older Black adults in particular

Doctoral Thesis

Interrelationships Among Arthritis, Pain, Physical Functioning, And Depressive Symptoms In Older African Americans

Brief description: Although the literature documents the impact of arthritis on the physical, psychological, and social well-being among White Americans, the impact of chronic pain among Black Americans has not been extensively investigated. It is critical that we examine within group variability of arthritis, chronic pain, and depression among Blacks since it is often unrecognized that this population is extremely diverse with considerable historical, social, economic, political, and health differences. The objectives of the this study were twofold: to examine the significance of the interrelationships between arthritis symptoms, pain, physical functioning, and depressive symptoms in a sample of older African Americans; and to determine and interpret the potential mediating effect of social support on arthritis symptoms, pain, physical functioning, and depressive symptoms in aged African Americans.

Ph.D. advisor

Dr. Keith E. Whitfield