M. Courtney Hughes, Ph.D., M.S.

Title: Associate Professor
Division: Health Studies
Unit: Public Health
Office Location: Wirtz Hall 257
Office Phone: 815-773-8144
Email: courtneyhughes@niu.edu
Pronouns: she/her/hers

Courses Taught

  • UHHS 760: Knowledge Integration in the Health Sciences
  • PHHE 611: Applied Research Methods in Public Health
  • PHHE 607: Public Health and Health Services Management
  • PHHE 601: Introduction to Health Systems in the United States
  • PHHE 539/439: Funding for Programs in Public Health
  • PHHE 469: Principles of Health Planning
  • PHHE 455: Public Health Epidemiology
  • PHHE 295: Introduction to Public Health


  • Ph.D., University of Washington, School of Public Health, Health Services
  • M.S., University of Michigan, Kinesiology
  • B.A., University of Notre Dame, Finance and Business Economics (second major, Computer Applications)

Research Interests

  • Caregiver support
  • Hospice and palliative care
  • Health behavior risks
  • Health disparities


Baumbach A, Hughes MC, Liu Y. (2024). Challenges and coping strategies in transitioning from caregiving to widowhood: A systematic review. Research on Aging.

Liu Y, Hughes MC, Wang H. (2024). Financial strain, health behaviors, and depressive symptoms of family caregivers of older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. PEC Innovation.

Folkmann B, Hughes MC, Hua L, Alarifi M, Vaezi M. (2024). Assessing life expectancy disparities in Chicago with a deep dive into green space. Environmental Advances. Vol 16.

Hughes MC, Vernon E, Egwuonwu C, Afolabi O. (2024). Measuring decision aid and effectiveness for end-of-life care: A systematic review. PEC Innovation.

Brewer A, Hughes MC, Patel K. (2024). Impact of repeated reimbursement penalties on hospital total quality scores. Journal of Patient Safety. Vol 20(3):198-201.

Hughes MC, Afrin S. (2023). Students engaging in public health research: An opportunity to enhance education. Pedagogy in Health Promotion. Vol 10(2):114-120.

Fang D, Guo L, Hughes MC, Tan J. (2023). Dynamic patterns and modelling of COVID-19 early transmission by dynamic mode decompositionPreventing Chronic Disease

Hughes MC, Vernon E, Hainstock A. (2023). The effectiveness of community-based palliative care program components: A systematic reviewAge and Ageing. Vol 52(9).

Liu Y, Hughes MC, Baumbach A, Derain L. (2023). An online intervention to improve the health and well-being of informal caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease: A pilot studyPEC Innovation. Vol 3(15).

Hughes MC, ScheckLong D, Chung K. (2023). Hearing aid loan program for hearing loss at the end of lifeJournal of Social Work in End-of-Life & Palliative Care.. Vol 19(3):182-189.

Liu Y, Wang H, Hughes MC. (2023). Health behaviors, financial difficulties, and depressive symptoms among older adults across gender and race during the COVID-19 pandemicGerontology and Geriatric Medicine.

Vernon E, Hughes MC. (2023). “Health in the United States: Two different ballgames.” Article chapter contribution for Income Inequality in America: A Reference Handbook. Jones SM, Rycroft R, eds.

Hughes MC, Afrin S, Hamlish T. (2023). Effectiveness of skill-building interventions for informal caregivers of adults with cancer: A systematic reviewJournal of Cancer Education. Vol 38(2):390-397.

Chung K, Hughes MC, Koushkaki S, Risberg M, Alcantara M, Amico J. (2023) Hospice capacity to provide general inpatient care: Emergency department utilization and live discharge among cancer patientsAmerican Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine. Vol 41(1):63-72.

Liu Y, Hughes MC, Baumbach A, Meng H. (2023) Parenting style in childhood and depressive symptoms among family caregivers in middle and later adulthood in the United States: The role of perceived controlAging and Health Research. Vol 3(2).

Faghani A, Guo L, Wright M, Hughes MC, Vaezi M. (2022). Construction and case study of a novel lung cancer risk indexBMC Cancer. 22:1275.

Guo L, Wright M, Vaezi M, Osias MC, Hughes MC. (2022). Creation and evaluation of the Illinois Cancer Risk Index as a predictor of four common cancersPreventing Chronic Disease. Vol 19.

Hughes MC, Afrin S, Vaezi M. (2022). Use of population indices in cancer research: A scoping reviewJournal of Global Health Economics and Policy. Vol 2.

Hughes MC, Vernon E, Kowalczyk M, Zhou H. (2022). Experiences of caregivers and hospice leaders with telehealth for palliative care: a mixed methods studyAnnals of Palliative Medicine. Vol 11(7):2302-2313.

Faghani A, Hughes MC, Vaezi M. (2022). Association of anti-contagion policies with spread of COVID-19 in the United StatesJournal of Public Health Research. Vol 11(2).

Vernon E, Hughes MC, Kowalczyk M. (2022). Measuring effectiveness in community-based palliative care programs: A systematic reviewSocial Science & Medicine. Vol 296.

Hughes MC, Spana E, Cada D. (2022). Developing a needs assessment process to address gaps in a local system of careCommunity Mental Health Journal. Vol 58:1329-1337.

Baumbach A, Hughes MC, Derain L, Liu Y. (2022). Parenting style in childhood and attitudes toward caregiving in adulthood: A qualitative studyHome Health Care Services Quarterly. Vol 42(1):54-68.

Liu Y, Hughes MC, Roberto KA, Savla J. (2022). Physical and mental health of family caregivers of older parents and grandchildren in mainland ChinaAging and Health Research. Vol 2(1):1-7.

Hughes MC, Gray JG, Kim J. (2022). The perspective of administrators of intellectual disability organizations on the COVID-19 pandemicJournal of Intellectual Disabilities. Vol 27(1).

Hughes M.C., Vernon E., Kowalczyk M., and Basco-Rodillas M. (2021). US hospices’ approach to racial/ethnic minority inclusion: A qualitative studyBMJ Supportive & Palliative Care. Vol 14:e878-e884.

Hughes MC, Liu Y, Baumbach A. (2021). Impact of COVID-19 on the health and well-being of informal caregivers of people with dementia: A rapid systematic reviewGerontology and Geriatric Medicine. Vol 7:1-8.

Hughes MC, Tang Y, Yuan S. (2021). Collaboration between public health and marketing experts as a response to COVID-19Population Health Management. 2021. Vol 24(5).

Hughes MC. Like sands through the hourglass. (2022). Palliative & Supportive Care. Vol 20(4):604-605.

Hughes M.C. and Vernon E. (2020). "We are here to assist all individuals who need hospice services": Hospices’ perspectives on improving access for racial/ethnic minoritiesGerontology and Geriatric Medicine. 6.

Hughes M.C., Baker T.A., and Kim, H. (2020). Disparities in health behavior risks among employed and unemployed Black and White older adultsJournal of Health Disparities Research and Practice. Vol 13(2):36-50.

Hughes M.C., and Vernon E. (2020). Hospice respond to COVID-19: Promoting sustainable inclusion strategies for racial and ethnic minoritiesJournal of Gerontological Social Work. Vol 64(2):101-105

McCulloch E.B., Cuckler A., Valdes E.G., and Hughes M.C. (2020). Effectiveness of online training and supervisor feedback on safe eating and drinking practices for individuals with developmental disabilitiesIntellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Apr:58(2), 111-125.

Hughes M.C., Henry B.W., Kushnick M.R. (2020). Teaching during the pandemic? An opportunity to enhance curriculumPedagogy in Health Promotion. Vol 6(4): 235-238

Hughes, M.C., Baker, T. A., Kim, H., and Valdes, E. G. (2019). Health behaviors and related disparities of insured adults with a health care provider in the United States, 2015–2016. Preventive Medicine, 120, 42-49.

Hughes M.C., Gorman, J. M., Ren, Y., Khalid, S., and Clayton, C. (2019). Increasing access to rural mental health care using hybrid care that includes telepsychiatryJournal of Rural Mental Health43(1), 30.

Hughes M.C. and Vernon, E. (2019). Closing the gap in hospice utilization for minority Medicare populationGerontology and Geriatric Medicine. 5.

Hughes MC, Vernon E. (2019). Promoting access to Medicare hospice benefit could save taxpayers, benefit underserved communitiesThe Hill.

Hughes M.C., Roedocker, A., Ehli, J., Walz, D., Froehlich, K., White, L., and Binder, B. (2019). A quality improvement project to improve sepsis-related outcomes at an integrated healthcare systemJournal for Healthcare Quality. 41(6):369-75.

Hughes M.C., McCulloch, E., and Valdes, E. (2018). The impact of story-based video back injury prevention training on employee motivation, engagement, knowledge, and behaviorOccupational Health Science2(2), 203-214.

Hughes M.C., McCulloch E. B., and Valdes E. G. (2018). Self-monitoring checklists: A tool for connecting training to practiceInnovations in Global Health Professions Education.

Hughes M.C., Yette E. M., Hannon P.A., Harris J.R., Tran N.M., and Reid T.R. (2011). Promoting tobacco cessation via the workplace: opportunities for improvementTobacco Control20(4), 305-308.

Hughes M.C., Patrick D.L., Hannon P.A., Harris J.R., and Ghosh D.L. (2011). Understanding the decision-making process for health promotion programming at small to midsized businessesHealth Promotion Practice12(4), 512-521.

Hughes MC. Are we focusing enough workplace wellness efforts on female workers? Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2011 Nov;53(11):1213-4.

Hughes M.C., Hannon P.A., Harris J.R., and Patrick D.L. (2010). Health behaviors of employed and insured adults in the United States, 2004-2005. American Journal of Health Promotion24(5), 315-323.

Hughes M.C., Girolami T.M., Cheadle A.D., Harris J.R., and Patrick D.L. (2007). A lifestyle-based weight management program delivered to employees: examination of health and economic outcomesJournal of occupational and environmental medicine49(11), 1212-1217

Contact Us

College of Health and Human Sciences
Wirtz Hall 227

The Dean's Office is open for face-to-face meetings by appointment only.

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