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Nancy Cheak-Zamora

Nancy Cheak-Zamora portrait

Current Position

  • Associate Professor, Department of Health Sciences, University of Missouri
  • Research Affiliate, Population, Education, and Health (PECH), University of Missouri
  • Research Faculty, Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, University of Missouri

Educational Background

  • Ph.D. in Public Health – Saint Louis University, 2008
  • M.A. in Health Psychology – Texas State University, 2002
  • B.A. in Psychology – Texas State University, 1999

Classes Taught

  • Health Promotions and Practice 1 and 2
  • Health Care in the US
  • Research Methods

Research Interests

Dr. Cheak-Zamora conducts innovative research to inform policy making, advocacy, service delivery, and research for children and young adults with special health care needs and adults with chronic medical conditions.  Dr. Cheak-Zamora’s quantitative and qualitative research on health care transition for youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder is the first in the field and should lead to improvements in health care delivery. She hopes to shape the national agenda in health care services for youth with special needs, health insurance, access to health care, and health policy.

Nancy’s worked in both clinical and academic setting conducting research in ABA therapy for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, HIV care, health communication and literacy and examination of health status and health insurance duration. Dr. Cheak-Zamora has received several service and leadership awards including: the Dr. James R. Kimmey Service and Leadership Award and the Mary Gumble Levy Outstanding Doctoral Student Award.



  • University of Missouri Patient Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) Small Project.  Assessing and Promoting Health-Related Independence in Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Role: PI. Award: $5,000. Grant period 2017-2018.
  • Population, Education, and Health Care Center’s (PEHC) Small Grant.  Disparities in Access and Utilization in Healthcare Services for Children with and without Special Healthcare Needs and their Caregivers: Does Physician Supply Play a Role?  Role: PI. Award: $15,000 (5% FTE). Grant period 2017-2018.
  • Winn Feline Foundation.  Shelter Cat Adoption in Families of Children with Autism: Impact on Cat Stress and Children’s Social Skills and Anxiety.  Role: Co-I.  Award: $25,000. Grant period 2017-2018.


  • Department of Defense, Autism Research Programs (ARP), Idea Development Award, W81XWH-13-ARP-IDA.  Improving Health Care Transition Planning and Health-related Independence for Youth with ASD and Their Families.  Role: PI.  Award: $506,507 (30% FTE). Grant period 2014-2017.
  • Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network and Health Resources and Services Administration.  Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network.  Role: Co-I (PI, Kristin Sohl).  Award: $495,000 (5% FTE).  Grant period 2014-2017.


  • Teti M., Cheak-Zamora N.C., Maurer-Batjer A.,* & Bauerband, L. (2018). A qualitative comparison of caregiver and youth perspectives on sexuality and relationships among youth with autism. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, In Press
  • First J.*, Cheak-Zamora N.C., & Teti M. (2018). Youth perceptions of stress and coping when transitioning to adulthood with Autism: A Photovoice Study.  Qualitative Social Work.0(0):1-20. DOI: 10.1177/1473325018757078
  • Cheak-Zamora N.C., Teti M., Maurer-Batjer A.,* & Koegler E.* (2017). Exploration and comparison of adolescents with autism spectrum disorder and their caregiver’s perspectives on transitioning to adult health care and adulthood.  Journal of Pediatric Psychology. Published online May 2017 DOI: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsx075
  • Cheak-Zamora N.C., Teti M., Peters C. & Maurer-Batjer A.* (2017). Financial capabilities among youth with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Children and Family Studies. 26:1210-1317. DOI: 10.1007/s10826-017-0669-9
  • Cheak-Zamora N.C., & Thullen M.J. (2016). Disparities in quality of healthcare and community-based services for children with developmental disabilities. Maternal and Child Health Journal. 21(1): 36-44.  DOI: 10.1007/s10995-016-2091-0
  • Cheak-Zamora N.C., Teti M., & Maurer-Batjer A.* (2016). Capturing youth with ASD’s experiences via photo exploration: Challenges and resources becoming an adult. Journal of Adolescent Research. Published online 09 June 2016 DOI: 10.1177/0743558416653218
  • Teti M., Cheak-Zamora N.C., and Lolli B. (2016). Reframing autism: Young adults with autism share their strengths through photo-stories. Journal of Pediatric Nursing. Published online 26 July 2016. DOI:
  • First J.*, Cheak-Zamora N.C., & Teti M. (2016). A qualitative study of stress and coping with transitioning to adulthood with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Family Social Work. Published online 08 June 2016 DOI:10.1080/10522158.2016.1185074
  • Cheak-Zamora N.C., Teti M., & Maurer-Batjer A.* (2016). “Snapshots of growing up: Youth with autism explore adulthood through Photovoice.” Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. 37(6):433-41. DOI:10.1097/DBP.0000000000000313