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About Christina Nicolaidis

Dr. Nicolaidis is a Professor in the School of Social Work at Portland State University. As a general internist and health equity researcher, she has devoted most of her career to the use of participatory approaches to improve the health and healthcare of marginalized communities. Many of her projects have focused on adults on the autism spectrum and people with other disabilities. She co-founded and co-directs the Academic Autism Spectrum Partnership in Research and Education (AASPIRE;, a national community-academic partnership that uses a community based participatory research approach to conduct research with the autistic community. AASPIRE has completed a series of NIH-funded studies on healthcare for autistic adults, has created and tested an online healthcare toolkit (, and is continuing to study ways to improve health and employment outcomes for adults on the spectrum. Other disability-focused projects include a large CDC-funded study on the relationship between violence and health in people with developmental disabilities and projects focused on pregnancy in women with developmental disabilities that affect cognition. Dr. Nicolaidis serves as the founding Editor-in-Chief of a peer-reviewed journal, Autism in Adulthood (, and directs the Social Determinants of Health Initiative ( at PSU. Dr. Nicolaidis has over twenty years' experience studying and addressing social determinants of health, with long-standing interests in intimate partner violence, racial and ethnic health equity, chronic pain, substance use disorder, depression, primary care transformation, peer-support models, self-determination, and patient-centered care. She is the creator of the Voices of Survivors program for educating healthcare providers about domestic violence and the Centrality of Pain Scale for assessing pateint-centered chronic pain outcomes. She brings methodologic expertise in community based participatory research and other participatory approaches, survey development and adaptation, qualitative and mixed-methods, and patient-centered outcomes research. In addition to her research and scholarship, Dr. Nicolaidis teaches research methods at PSU. 


2013 - Present Adjunct Associate Professor, Oregon Health and Science University ‐ Medicine
2013 - Present Professor and Senior Scholar in Social Determinants of Health, Portland State University School of Social Work

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Contact Information

Portland State University
Social Work, School of (RRI) 
PO Box 751
Portland, OR 97207


Autism, neurodiversity, and other disability (38)