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Expert Spotlight: Patrice M. Hicks, PhD, MPH

Dr. Hicks is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the Kellogg Eye Center at the University of Michigan. She is an ophthalmic epidemiologist whose research focuses on health equity in the space of eye care and vision health.

Describe your current research.

My research focuses on health equity in the space of eye and vision health. Specifically, my current work focuses on the implications of neighborhood and built environment on eye and vision outcomes.

How did you get interested in this research area?

My interest in this area comes from my community and my family. Both of my grandmothers have the threatening eye disease glaucoma. I noticed the health disparities in how they managed their disease. Viewing these differences in health outcomes, as a racial minority woman in the biomedical field, has driven my passion to engage in research to address health inequalities surrounding vision outcomes.

Discuss the disciplines/fields that are merged in your work? How did you make these connections?

I am an ophthalmic epidemiologist by training. My research combines Epidemiology, Population Health Sciences, Ophthalmology, Health Service Research, Geospatial Research, and Health Equity. I use this multidisciplinary approach because it is necessary for answering various complex eye health equity questions.

What do you hope comes of the research that you do?

I hope my research has both upstream and downstream implications for eye health equity. Upstream, I hope that my research informs health policy that can provide eye health resources to neighborhoods at the greatest-risk to mitigate preventable vision loss. Downstream, I hope my research can inform social risk factor screenings in eye care clinics to identify patients that may be at greatest risk for severe disease and connect them to individualized resources.

You can follow Patrice on X at @EyeEpi or contact her at


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