Shelley I. White-Means, M.A., Ph.D.

Shelley I. White-Means, M.A., Ph.D.


Office location

Suite 205N Johnson Building
847 Monroe Avenue
Memphis, TN 38163
Tel: (901) 448-7666
Fax: (901) 448-1640

Current Office Hours

by appointment

Director, Consortium for Health Education, Economic Empowerment and Research (CHEER)

CHEER website:

Research Interest(s)

Health Disparities, Health Equity, Health Economics, Economics of Family Caregiving, Economics of Aging; Health and Health Services for Underserved and Vulnerable Populations, Outcomes Research, Cost of Health Care, Economic Impact of Chronic Disease, Women’s Health.


  • B.A. (Economics) Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa
  • M.A. (Economics) Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
  • Ph.D. (Economics) Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
  • Post Doc (Applied Gerontology) Gerontological Society of America, Washington, DC
  • Post Doc (Economics of Aging) Harvard University GEC, Boston MA


  • Rufus Lyman Best Paper Award, American Assoc. of Colleges of Pharmacy & Merck and Co. (2009)
  • University of Tennessee, Student Government and Faculty Senate, Excellence in Teaching Award for the College of Graduate Heath Sciences (2007)
  • Convocation Speaker, Spelman College (2000)
  • Graduate of Leadership Memphis (1998)
  • Grinnell College Alumni Award (1997)
  • Board of Visitors Eminent Faculty Award, University of Memphis (1996)


Shelley White-Means is a health economist whose research explores racial and ethnic disparities in the use of and access to health care, as well as provides insights on the essential medical care contributions of family caregivers (primarily women). White-Means joined the faculty at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) in 2004, serving as Chair of the Health Outcomes and Policy Research Division and Vice-Chair of the Pharmaceutical Sciences Department.

In 2007, along with colleagues at the UTHSC and collaborating community partners, she developed CHEER, Consortium for Health Education, Economic Empowerment and Research. CHEER is a health disparities research center whose primary mission is to engage in community-based collaborations to accomplish research and incorporate the role of community assets and personal efficacy in order to drive healthy lifestyles for at risk persons in Memphis and the Delta region.

White-Means has over twenty-five years of research emphasis in health disparities and access to care for ethnic minorities, women, the elderly, and other vulnerable populations. Her research emphasizes long-term care for ethnic elderly; labor market implications of caregiving; and racial disparities faced by blacks and Hispanics in the utilization of medical services. Her research studies have documented the distinction between racial/ethnic differences and racial/ethnic disparities in health care utilization, and also how labor market disparities are associated with health insurance disparities. One of her recent publications is the first study to examine race and skintone preferences among pre-professional health care providers, providing a foundation for exploring the role of implicit bias in explaining racial/ethnic disparities in health care utilization (White-Means, S., Dong, Z., Hufstader, M., and Brown, L.T., 2009). For the last three years, White-Means has been responsible for cultural competency training of first year pharmacy students at UTHSC.

Before joining the faculty at University of Tennessee, White-Means was Professor of Economics at University of Memphis and also on the faculty at Cornell University. Shelley White-Means is a Past President of the National Economic Association.

Representative Publications

  1. "Cultural Competency, Race, and Skintone Bias Among Pharmacy, Nursing, and Medical Students: Implications for Addressing Health Disparities." Shelley White-Means, Zhiyong Dong, Meghan Hufstader, and Lawrence T. Brown. Medical Care Research and Review 2009, Vol. 66: 436-455.
  2. "Retirement Security for Family Elder Caregivers with Labor Force Employment." Shelley White-Means and Rose Rubin. In Virginia P. Reno and Joni Lavery, (eds.) Strengthening Social Security for Vulnerable Groups, 2009. Washington, DC: National Academy of Social Insurance.
  3. "Quantifying the Economic Impact of a College of Pharmacy on an Economy of a State." American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 2008, Vol. 72 (1) Lead Article. Dick Gourley, Shelley White-Means, and Jeff Wallace.
  4. "Health Insurance Disparities in Traditional and Contingent/Alternative Employment," Shelley White-Means and Hersch, Joni. International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics 2005, 5: 351-368.
  5. "Racial Disparities in Health and Wealth: The Effects of Slavery and Past Discrimination," Darrell Gaskin, Alvin Headen, and Shelley White-Means. Review of Black Political Economy, 2005, 32 (3-4):95:110.
  6. "Trade-Offs Between Formal Home Health Care and Informal Family Caregiving," Shelley White-Means and Rose M. Rubin. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 2004, Vol. 25 (3): 335-358.
  7. "Is there Equity in the Home Health Care Market? Understanding Racial Patterns in the Use of Formal Home Health Care," Shelley White-Means and Rose M. Rubin. Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 2004, Vol. 59B (4): S220-S229.
  8. "The Color of Health and Health Care." Business Perspectives, 2002, Vol. 14 (4): 16-21.
  9. "Giving Incentives of Adult Children Who Care for Disabled Parents." Shelley White-Means and Gong Soog Hong. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 2001, Vol. 35 (2): 364-389.
  10. "Race, Disability, Assistive Devices: Sociodemographics or Discrimination?" Rose M. Rubin and Shelley White-Means. In Edward O'Boyle, Special Edition, "The Social Economics of Discrimination and Other Injustices," International Journal of Social Economics, 2001, Vol. 28 (10/11/12): 927-941.
  11. "Race Versus Ethnic Heritage in Models of Family Economic Decisions," Michael C. Thornton and Shelley White-Means .Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 2000, Vol. 21 (1): 65-86.
  12. "Racial Patterns in the Elderly Persons' Use of Medical Services," Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 2000, Vo. 55 (2): S76-89.
  13. "The Continuing Significance of Race in Meeting the Health Care Needs of the Black Elderly." 1997. In Patrick Mason and Rhonda Williams (eds.) Race, Markets and Social Outcomes, pp. 117-129. Norwell, Massachusetts: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  14. "The Demands of Persons with Disabilities for Home Health Care and the Economic Consequences for Informal Caregivers," Social Science Quarterly, 1997, Vo. 78 (4): 955-972.
  15. "The Gift of Chaos: An Opportunity for the Nation's Black Economists," (National Economic Association Presidential Address, January 5, 1997) Review of Black Political Economy, 1996, Vo. 25 (1): 1-12.
  16. "Opportunity Wages and Workforce Adjustments: Understanding the Costs of In-Home Elder Care," Shelley White-Means and Deborah Chollet. Journals of Gerontology, 1996, Vol. 51B (2): S82-S90. Second Author:.
  17. "Racial and Ethnic Patterns of Hospital Emergency Room Use," Shelley White-Means and Michael C. Thornton. In Lillie-Blanton, Leigh, and Alfaro-Correa (eds.) Achieving Equitable Access: Studies of Health Care Issues Affecting Hispanics and African Americans, 1996, pp. 143-162. Washington, DC: Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and Commonwealth Fund.
  18. "What Cost Savings Could Be Realized by Shifting Patterns of Use from Hospital Emergency Rooms to Primary Care Sites?" Shelley White-Means and Michael C. Thornton. American Economic Review, 1995, Vol. 85 (2): 138-142. Second Author: Michael C. Thornton.
  19. "Conceptualizing Race in Economic Models of Medical Utilization: A Case Study of Community-Based Elders and the Emergency Room," Health Services Research, 1995, Vol. 30 (1): 207-223.
  20. "Nonemergency Visits to Hospital Emergency Rooms: A Comparison of Blacks and Whites," White-Means, Shelley and Thornton, Michael C. The Milbank Memorial Fund Quarterly, 1989, 67 (1): 35-57.