Areas of Expertise & Civic Involvements
Henning-Smith’s research focuses on aging, disability, housing and living arrangements, disparities in physical and mental health outcomes, access to care, and long-term services and supports. She is especially interested in making connections between the social determinants of health and policy interventions to improve the quality of lives of older adults and individuals with disabilities. She has worked as a research assistant for and an Interdisciplinary Fellow with the Minnesota Population Center, where she assisted with the production of the Integrated Health Interview Series, a harmonized version of the National Health Interview Series designed to make the data more accessible to inform research and policy. She currently works as a Research Associate with the Rural Health Research Center, at the University of Minnesota.
Identifies unique challenges to finding appropriate long-term care for adults younger than 65 in rural areas. Uses data from 23 semi-structured interviews with rural hospital discharge planners in five states.
Finds that older adults differ in their risk of functional decline by both their living arrangement (who they live with and what type of housing they live in) and their amount of accumulated wealth. Identifies where older adults with disabilities live and that comprehensive interventions to reduce disability progression should consider household, social, and environmental context, as well as wealth.