Research Professor at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, and Professor in the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, Dr. Clarke received her Ph.D. in Public Health from the University of Toronto in 2000. Her research interests are in social epidemiology, social gerontology, life course perspectives, models of disability, and population health. Her work examines the role of the built environment on mobility disability, cognitive function, and social participation using novel data science methods to capture the features in the built environment. She has used geographic information systems (GIS) to examine the relationship between the built environment and disability progression in vulnerable older adults in the Detroit area. She has used various methods to capture characteristics in the built environment, including the use of secondary data sources (e.g., Census, Info USA, Yelp), in-person neighborhood audits (using Systematic Social Observation), virtual web-based neighborhood audits (using Google Street View), and mobile wearable sensors to capture the impact of the built environment on mobility in real time. She is founder of the the National Neighborhood Data Archive
(NaNDA), a publicly available national data archive containing contextual measures that are theoretically derived and relevant for clinical, social, and psychological health and healthy aging outcomes. NaNDA provides nation-wide measures of the physical and social environment at multiple levels of spatial scale. NaNDA draws from multiple contextual data sources to create measures (eg, walkability, crime, racial residential segregation, socioeconomic disadvantage and affluence, recreational centers, libraries, fast food, climate, healthcare, housing, public transit, civic participation) that can be readily linked to existing survey data, cohort studies, or electronic medical records over more three decades (1980-2020) at a range of geographic levels (state, county, tract, block group, metropolitan statistical area, zip code).