Wassim Tarraf

Wassim Tarraf

Associate Professor


Wassim Tarraf

Bio Sketch

I am an Associate Professor at the Institute of Gerontology and in the Department of Healthcare Sciences at Wayne State University. I am a gerontologist, methodologist, health services researcher, and policy analyst. Briefly, 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. Currently, I am an affiliated investigator on the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL), the largest epidemiological study of diverse Hispanic/Latinos in the US. I am the director of analytics for the SOL-INCA Lab, which is a joint lab (WSU/UCSD) with members located at Wayne State’s Institute of Gerontology and the University of California, San Diego, Department of Neurosciences. Through SOL-INCA I am the site Principal Investigator (Statistical Analyses Core) and lead biostatistician on three NIA-funded (R01) ancillary studies focused on cognitive aging and ADRD risk factors among Latinos, and two exploratory (R21) grants funded by NIA and NHLBI to examine sleep as a risk factor for unhealthy aging among Latinos. Additionally, I am the Analysis Core co-leader for the NIA-funded Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research (MCUAAR) and a faculty affiliate with the Michigan Center for Contextual Factors in Alzheimer's Disease (MCCFAD). These two Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research are primarily focused on training the next generation of researchers in minority health and enhancing the diversity of the aging research community. My research career has been devoted to the analyses of population health data with a particular focus on minority populations, evaluating disparities in health, cognitive function, health behaviors, and use of healthcare among race/ethnic minorities in the US, and investigating the social determinants of health and healthcare use among minorities.


PhD, Wayne State University, 2010

MBA, Wayne State University, 2002

BS, Lebanese American University, 1999

Research Focus

Minority aging and racial/ethnic health and healthcare disparities.

Office Location

212 Knapp Bldg

Areas of Expertise

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


Institute for Statistical Genetics, University of Washington, Department of Biostatistics (2017):
Population Genetic Data Analysis, Quantitative Genetics and Advanced Quantitative Genetics, Association Mapping, Pathway and Network Analysis for Omics Data

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


Support in Last Five Years:

1. NIH/NHLBI (R21 HL140437 - 01A1; 2019-2021; PI Ramos)
Title: Sleep Apnea Phenotypes in Latinos (SLEPT)
Role: Site PI, Lead Statistician

2. NIH/NIA (AG061022-01; 2019-2024; MPI Fornage, Gonzalez)
Title: Neurocognitive aging, MCI and Alzheimer's disease DNA methylation among diverse Latinos (INCA-DNAm)
Role: Site PI, Lead Biostatistician

3. NIH/NIA (P30 AG01528; 2018-2023; PI Jackson)
Title: Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research
Role: Co-Leader- Analysis Core

4. Michigan Health Endowment Fund; R-1707-141644; 2018-2020; PI Fritz)
Title: Frailty Prevention in Older African Americans
Role: Co-Investigator, Statistician

5. NIH/NIA (R01 AG 054548: 2017-2022; PI DeCarli)
Title: Investigation of Neurocognitive Aging: MRI Study (INCA-MRI)
Role: Site PI, Lead Biostatistician

6. NIH/NIA (R21 AG056952; 2017-2019; PI Ramos)
Title: Exploring Sleep in Neurocognitive Aging and Alzheimer's Research (SANAR)
Role: Site PI, Lead Biostatistician

7. NIH/NIA (R01 AG48642: 2015-2020; PI Gonzalez)
Title: Investigation of Neurocognitive Aging (INCA)
Role: Site PI, Lead Biostatistician

8. P30 AG 053760 Paulson (PI)
Title: Michigan Alzheimer Disease Core Center
Role: Junior Faculty Trainee

10. 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

11. Michigan State University (Subcontract; 2014-2016)
Title: Investigation of Latino Health and Aging
Role: Principal Investigator

12. NIH/NIA (P30 AG015281; Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research Pilot Scholar; 2014)
Title: Enhanced Primary Care and Healthcare Disparities among Aging Ethnic/Racial Minorities
Role: Principal Investigator

Courses Taught


Health, Disease, and aging

Statistics for the social sciences


Research methods


Office Phone


Professional Associations

Academy Health

American Publich Health Association

Gerontological Society of America


  1. Sofer, T., Emery, L., Jain, D., Ellis, A.M., Laurie, C.C., Allison, M.A., Lee, J., Kurniansyah, N., Kerr, K.F., González, H.M. and Tarraf, W., 2019. Variants Associated with the Ankle Brachial Index Differ by Hispanic/Latino Ethnic Group: a genome-wide association study in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos. Scientific reports, 9(1), pp.1-11.
  2. Vásquez, P., Tarraf, W., Doza, A., Marquine,M., Perreira, M., Schneiderman,N., Zeng,D., Cai,J., Isasi,C., Daviglus,M., González, H.M.Cognitive stimulation factors and cognitive function among Latino adults in HCHS/SOL. Alzheimer's & Dementia: Translational Research & Clinical Interventions. 2019. Accepted.
  3. Ross, J., Hua, S., Perreira, K.M, Hanna, D., B, Castañeda, S.F, Gallo, L., C. Penedo, F., J. Tarraf, W., Hernandez, R., Potler N., Talavera, G., A, Daviglus, M, L Gonzalez, F., Kaplan, R., C, Smoller-Wassertheil, S., Association between immigration status and anxiety, depression and use of anxiolytic and antidepressant medications in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos. Annals of Epidemiology. 2019 Accepted
  4. Zilioli, S., Fritz, H., Tarraf, W., Lawrence, S., Cutchin, M., (2019). Socioeconomic Status, Ecologically Assessed Social Activities, and Daily Cortisol Among Older Urban African Americans. Journal of aging and health: 0898264319856481.
  5. Vásquez, P.M., Durazo-Arvizu, R.A., Marquez, D.X., Argos, M., Lamar, M., Odoms-Young, A., Wu, D., González, H.M., Tarraf, W., Sotres-Alvarez, D. and Vidot, D., 2019. Moderate-vigorous physical activity and health-related quality of life among Hispanic/Latino adults in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL). Journal of patient-reported outcomes, 3(1), p.45.
  6. Lamar, M., Durazo-Arvizu, R.A., Sachdeva, S., Pirzada, A., Perreira, K., Rundek, T., Gallo, L., Grober, E., DeCarli, C., Lipton, R.B., Tarraf, W., Gonzalez, H.M. & Daviglus, M.L. (2019). Cardiovascular disease risk factor burden and cognition: Implications of ethnic diversity within the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos. PLOS One, 14(4), e0215378.
  7. Fritz, H., Tarraf, W., Brody, A., & Levy, P. (2019). Feasibility of a behavioral automaticity intervention among African Americans at risk for metabolic syndrome. BMC public health, 19(1), 413.
  8. Bulka, C. M., Daviglus, M. L., Persky, V. W., Durazo-Arvizu, R. A., Lash, J. P., Elfassy, T., Lee, D., Ramos, A., Tarraf, W., & Argos, M. (2019). Association of occupational exposures with cardiovascular disease among US Hispanics/Latinos. Heart, 105(6), 439-448.
  9. Byrd, D. R., Gee, G. C., & Tarraf, W. (2018). Black-white mental status trajectories: What ages do differences emerge?. SSM-population health, 6, 169-177.
  10. Casagrande, S.S., Menke, A., Aviles-Santa, L., Gallo, L.C., Daviglus, M.L., Talavera, G.A., Castañeda, S.F., Perreira, K., Loop, M.S., Tarraf, W. and González, H.M.,"Factors associated with undiagnosed diabetes among adults with diabetes: Results from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL)." Diabetes research and clinical practice 146 (2018): 258-266.
  11. González, H. M., Tarraf, W., Jian, X., Vásquez, P. M., Kaplan, R., Thyagarajan, B., ... & Fornage, M. (2018). Apolipoprotein E genotypes among diverse middle-aged and older Latinos: Study of Latinos-Investigation of Neurocognitive Aging results (HCHS/SOL). Scientific reports, 8(1), 17578.
  12. Mahmoudi, E., Cohen, A., Buxbaum, J., Richardson, C. R., & Tarraf, W. (2018). Gaining Medicaid Coverage During ACA Implementation: Effects on Access to Care and Preventive Services. Journal of health care for the poor and underserved, 29(4), 1472-1487.
  13. Tarraf, W., Jensen GA, Dillaway, H.E., Vasquez, P., González, H.M. Trajectories of aging among US older adults: mixed evidence for a Hispanic paradox (2018). J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci.
  14. Gonzalez, H.M., Tarraf, W., Vasquez, P., Sanderlin, A.H, Rosenberg, N.I, Davis, S., …, & Schneiderman, N. (2018). Metabolic syndrome and neurocognition among diverse middle-aged and older Hispanics/Latinos: HCHS/SOL results. Diabetes care, 41(7), 1501-1509.
  15. Almahmoud, M. F., Gonzalez, H. M., Swett, K., Tarraf, W., Schneiderman, N., Kansal, M. M., ... & Rodriguez, C. J., (2018). Association of cardiac structure and function with neurocognition in hispanics/latinos: the echocardiographic study of latinos. Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Innovations, Quality & Outcomes, 2(2), 165-175.
  16. Tarraf, W., Criqui, M. H., Allison, M. A., Wright, C. B., Fornage, M., Daviglus, M., ... & González, H. M., (2018). Ankle brachial index and cognitive function among Hispanics/Latinos: Results from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos. Atherosclerosis, 271, 61-69.
  17. Hernandez, R., González, H. M., Tarraf, W., Moskowitz, J. T., Carnethon, M. R., Gallo, L. C., ... & Buelna, C. (2018). Association of dispositional optimism with Life’s Simple 7’s Cardiovascular Health Index: results from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL) Sociocultural Ancillary Study (SCAS). BMJ open, 8(3)
  18. Ferdows NB, Jensen GA, Tarraf W., (2018). Healthy Aging After Age 65: A Life-Span Health Production Function Approach. Research on aging, 40(5), 480-507.
  19. Elfassy, T., Aiello, A. E., Schneiderman, N., Haan, M. N., Tarraf, W., González, H. M., ... & Grober, E., 2018. Elfassy, T., Aiello, A. E., Schneiderman, N., Haan, M. N., Tarraf, W., González, H. M., ... & Grober, E. (2018). Relation of diabetes to cognitive function in Hispanics/Latinos of diverse backgrounds in the United States. Journal of aging and health, 0898264318759379.
  20. González HM, Tarraf W, Harrison K, Windham BG, Tingle J, Alonso A, Griswold M,Heiss G, Knopman D, Mosley TH., (2017). Midlife cardiovascular health and 20-yearcognitive decline: Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study results. Alzheimers Dement. pii: S1552-5260(17)33838-4.
  21. Vásquez E, Strizich G, Isasi CR, Echeverria SE, Sotres-Alvarez D, Evenson KR, Gellman MD, Palta P, Qi Q, Lamar M, Tarraf W, González HM, Kaplan R., (2017). Is there arelationship between accelerometer-assessed physical activity and sedentary behavior and cognitive function in US Hispanic/Latino adults? The Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL). Prev Med. 103:43-48.
  22. Camacho A, Tarraf W, Jimenez DE, Gallo LC, Gonzalez P, Kaplan RC, Lamar M, Khambaty T, Thyagarajan B, Perreira KM, Hernandez R, Cai J, Daviglus ML, Wassertheil-Smoller S, González HM., (2017). Anxious Depression and Neurocognition among Middle-Aged and Older Hispanic/Latino Adults: Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL) Results. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. pii: S1064-7481(17)30346-9.
  23. Tarraf W, Rodríguez CJ, Daviglus ML, Lamar M, Schneiderman N, Gallo L, Talavera GA, Kaplan RC, Fornage M, Conceicao A, González HM., (2017). Blood Pressure and Hispanic/Latino Cognitive Function: Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos Results. J Alzheimers Dis. 59(1):31-42.
  24. Lamar M, Wu D, Durazo-Arvizu RA, Brickman AM, Gonzalez HM, Tarraf W, Daviglus ML., (2017). Cognitive Associates of Current and More Intensive Control of Hypertension: Findings From the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos. Am J Hypertens. 30(6):624-631
  25. Samuel, P. S., Tarraf, W., & Marsack, C. (2018). Family quality of life survey (FQOLs-2006): Evaluation of internal consistency, construct, and criterion validity for socioeconomically disadvantaged families. Physical & occupational therapy in pediatrics, 38(1), 46-63.
  26. Fritz H, Tarraf W, Saleh DJ, Cutchin MP., (2017). Using a Smartphone-Based Ecological Momentary Assessment Protocol With Community Dwelling Older African Americans. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 72(5):876-887.
  27. Tarraf, W., Jensen, G. and González, H.M., (2017). Patient Centered Medical Home Care Among Near-Old and Older Race/Ethnic Minorities in the US: Findings from the Medical Expenditures Panel Survey. Journal of immigrant and minority health, 19(6), 1271-1280.
  28. Ramos, A.R., Tarraf, W., Daviglus, M., Davis, S., Gallo, L.C., Mossavar-Rahmani, Y., Penedo, F.J., Redline, S., Rundek, T., Sacco, R.L. and Sotres-Alvarez, D., (2016). Sleep Duration and Neurocognitive Function in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos. Sleep, 39(10), pp.1843-1851.
  29. Kershaw, K.N., Giacinto, R.E., Gonzalez, F., Isasi, C.R., Salgado, H., Stamler, J., Talavera, G.A., Tarraf, W., Van Horn, L., Wu, D. and Daviglus, M.L., (2016). Relationships of nativity and length of residence in the US with favorable cardiovascular health among Hispanics/Latinos: The Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL). Preventive medicine, 89, pp.84-89.
  30. González, H.M., Tarraf, W., Gouskova, N., Rodríguez, C.J., Rundek, T., Grober, E., Pirzada, A., González, P., Lutsey, P.L., Camacho, A. and Daviglus, M.L., (2016). Life’s Simple 7’s Cardiovascular Health Metrics are Associated with Hispanic/Latino Neurocognitive Function: HCHS/SOL Results. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 53(3), pp.955-965.
  31. Mahmoudi, E., Tarraf, W., Maroukis, B.L. and Levy, H.G., (2016). Does Medicare Managed Care Reduce Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Diabetes Preventive Care and Healthcare Expenditures?. American Journal of Managed Care, 22(10), pp.E360
  32. González, H.M., Tarraf, W., Rodríguez, C.J., Gallo, L.C., Sacco, R.L., Talavera, G.A., Heiss, G., Kizer, J.R., Hernandez, R., Davis, S. and Schneiderman, N., (2016). Cardiovascular health among diverse Hispanics/Latinos: Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL) results. American heart journal, 176, pp.134-144.
  33. Tarraf, W., Mahmoudi, E., Dillaway, H.E. and González, H.M., (2016). Health spending among working-age immigrants with disabilities compared to those born in the US. Disability and health journal, 9(3), pp.479-490.
  34. Tarraf, W., Jensen, G. A. and González, H. M. (2016), Impact of Medicare Age Eligibility on Health Spending among U.S. and Foreign-Born Adults. Health Serv Res, 51: 846–871.
  35. Hu, J., Jensen, G.A., Nerenz, D. and Tarraf, W., (2015). Medicare's Annual Wellness Visit in a Large Health Care Organization: Who Is Using It? Annals of internal medicine, 163(7), pp.567-568.
  36. Jensen, G. A., Salloum, R., Hu, J., Ferdows, N., Tarraf, W. (2015). "A Slow Start: Use of Preventive Services among Seniors Following the Affordable Care Act's Enhancement of Medicare Benefits." Prev. Med, 76, 37-42.
  37. Johnson-Jennings, M., Tarraf, W., & González, H. M. (2015). The healing relationship in Indigenous patients' pain care: Influences of racial concordance and patient ethnic salience on healthcare providers' pain assessment. International Journal of Indigenous Health, 10(2), 33-50.
  38. Mahmoudi, E., Jensen, G. A., & Tarraf, W. (2015). Effects of Medicare Part D on Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Hospital Utilization Among Seniors." Journal of aging and health 27, no. 5 (2015): 797-826.
  39. González, H.M., Tarraf, W., Gouskova, N., Gallo, L.C., Penedo, F.J., Davis, S.M., Lipton, R.B., Argüelles, W., Choca, J.P., Catellier, D.J. and Mosley, T.H., (2015). Neurocognitive function among middle-aged and older Hispanic/Latinos: results from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 30(1), pp.68-77.
  40. Ramos, A. R., Tarraf, W., Rundek, T., Redline, S., Wohlgemuth, W. K., Loredo, J. S., ... & Choca, J. P. (2014). Obstructive sleep apnea and neurocognitive function in a Hispanic/Latino population. Neurology, 84(4), 391-398.
  41. Johnson‐Jennings, M. D., Tarraf, W., Xavier Hill, K., & González, H. M. (2014). United States colorectal cancer screening practices among American Indians/Alaska Natives, blacks, and non‐Hispanic whites in the new millennium (2001 to 2010). Cancer, 120(20), 3192-3299.
  42. Tarraf, W. , Vega W, Gonzalez HM. (2014). Emergency Department Services Use Among Immigrant and Non-immigrant Groups in the United States. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health. 16(4), 595-606.
  44. Gonzalez, H. M., Tarraf, W. , Bowen, M. E., Johnson-Jennings, M. D., Fisher, G. G. (2013). What Do Parents Have to Do with My Cognitive Reserve Life Course Perspectives on Twelve-Year Cognitive Decline. Neuroepidemiology, 41(2), 101-109.
  45. Gonzalez HM, Tarraf, W. (2013) Comorbid cardiovascular disease and major depression among ethnic and racial groups in the United States. International psychogeriatrics. 25(05), 833-841.
  46. Miranda PY, Tarraf, W. , Gonzalez P, Johnson-Jennings M, Gonzalez HM. (2012) Breast cancer screening trends in the United States and ethnicity. Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention. 21(2):351-357.
  47. Tarraf, W. , Miranda PY, Gonzalez HM. (2012). Medical expenditures among immigrant and nonimmigrant groups in the United States: Findings from the Medical Expenditures Panel Survey (2000-2008). Med Care. 50(3):233-242.
  48. Gonzalez HM, Tarraf, W., (2012) Whitfield K, Gallo JJ. Vascular depression prevalence and epidemiology in the United States. J Psychiatr Res. 46(4):456-461.
  49. Miranda PY, Johnson-Jennings M, Tarraf, W., Gonzalez P, Vega WA, Gonzalez HM. (2012) Using colorectal trends in the U.S. to identify unmet primary care needs of vulnerable populations. Prev Med. 55(2):131-136. 2011
  50. Miranda PY, Tarraf, W. , Gonzalez HM. (2011) Breast cancer screening and ethnicity in the United States: implications for health disparities research. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 128(2):535-542.
  51. Miranda PY, Gonzalez HM, Tarraf, W. (2011) Pathways Between Acculturation and Health Does the Measure Matter? Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences. 33(4):524-539.
  52. Gonzalez HM, Tarraf, W., Haan MN. (2011) The metabolic syndrome, biomarkers, and the acculturation health relationship among older Mexican Americans. J Aging Health. 23(7):1101-1115.
  53. 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.
  54. Gonzalez HM, Vega WA, Tarraf, W. (2010) Health care quality perceptions among foreign-born Latinos and the importance of speaking the same language. J Am Board Fam Med. 23(6):745-752.
  55. Gonzalez HM, Tarraf, W., Whitfield KE, Vega WA. (2010) The epidemiology of major depression and ethnicity in the United States. J Psychiatr Res. 44(15):1043-1051.
  56. Gonzalez HM, Tarraf, W., West BT, Chan D, Miranda PY, Leong FT. (2010) Antidepressant use among Asians in the United States. Depress Anxiety. 27(1):46-55.
  57. Gonzalez HM, Vega WA, Rodriguez MA, Tarraf, W., Sribney WM. (2009)Diabetes awareness and knowledge among Latinos: does a usual source of healthcare matter? J Gen Intern Med. 24 Suppl 3:528-533.
  58. Gonzalez HM, Tarraf, W., West BT, et al. (2009) Antidepressant use in a nationally representative sample of community-dwelling US Latinos with and without depressive and anxiety disorders. Depress Anxiety. 26(7):674-681.
  59. Gonzalez HM, Ceballos M, Tarraf, W., West BT, Bowen ME, Vega WA. (2009) The health of older Mexican Americans in the long run. Am J Public Health. 99(10):1879-1885.
  60. Gonzalez, H.M., Croghan, T.,West, B., Williams, D., Nesse, R, Tarraf, W., Taylor, R., Hinton, L.,Neighbors, H., Jackson, J. (2008) Antidepressant use in black and white populations in the United States. Psychiatr Serv. 59(10):1131-1138.

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