Carolyn Mendez-Luck

Carolyn Mendez-Luck, PhD

Carolyn Mendez-Luck, PhD

Associate Professor (Retired)
Curriculum Vitae

Academic interests

My main research focus has been to examine the motivations and meanings of the caregiver role and the interpersonal dynamics within the caregiving dyad. My expertise is in qualitative, survey, and intervention research methods, which I have applied to understanding the social and cultural factors associated with adult development and aging in Latino families.

My research is community-based, interdisciplinary, and rooted in principles of health equity. As such, my research studies have involved primary data collection in underserved communities, and I have over 15 years of experience working with underserved populations.

One of my long term research goals is to link individual health and well-being to family health and well-being by identifying the effects of the family environment and social relationships on the aging trajectories of racial/ethnic minority adults.

In the next 5-10 years, I expect to focus on the epigenetic links between social support, culture, and age. My goal is to identify the causal mechanisms of social environments that contribute to premature aging.


Carolyn A. Mendez-Luck joined Oregon State University (OSU) in September 2011 and holds appointments in the Health Management & Policy (HMP) and Human Development & Family Sciences (HDFS) programs; she is also affiliated with the Health Promotion & Health Behavior (HPHB) program.

As the only “bridge” faculty member in the College of Health, her responsibilities are integrated across disciplines and programs in the College. Dr. Mendez-Luck completed her PhD and MPH degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a post-doctoral fellowship at the Veteran’s Administration HSR&D Center for the Study of Healthcare Provider Behavior in Sepulveda, CA. Additionally, she received specific training in aging and health disparities from a NIH/NIA-funded career development (K01) award.

Currently she is a faculty associate with the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.


The caregiving conundrum: Complex challenges and an uncertain future

Caregiving affects both older adults and younger adults, who may be caring for children as well as aging parents. And the number of those in advanced age is growing. By 2030, 1 in 5 Americans is projected to be 65 or older, and this generation desires a more holistic approach to aging and caregiving, especially in underserved populations/communities.