Who's Who of Professional Women


Sharon Telleen

Holding considerable expertise in public health, research psychology and child development, Sharon L. Telleen, PhD, has excelled as a research associate professor emerita for the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago since 2011, where she has also been a faculty affiliate in the Department of Psychology’s division of community and prevention research. Although she is retired, she remains active as a student mentor and gives presentations and lectures through Zoom. She also remains involved in research and has continued to publish articles in her field.

First joining the University of Illinois at Chicago as a research associate in the School of Public Health’s division of community health sciences in 1983, Dr. Telleen became a research assistant professor in the division in 1984 as one of the original faculty of the federally funded Maternal and Child Health Training Program. In 1992, she began working as a research assistant professor in the division of health policy and administration before becoming a research associate professor in 1996. She was additionally a Fulbright faculty sponsor for professor Oscar Solano-Forero, a Fulbright scholar from the University of Los Andes in Colombia in 1998, and from 2000 to 2004, was a visiting research associate professor in the University of Illinois’ department of sociology.

During that time, Dr. Telleen attained the role of research associate professor in the university’s Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy in 2003 and served as the interim associate director for research in 2007. She concurrently served as the director of research and evaluation at the Midwest Latino Health Research, Training and Policy Center from 2004 to 2005. In 2007, she joined the Institute for Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois as a research associate professor, a position she held until her retirement in 2011, and also served as a project coordinator for the vice provost for undergraduate studies from 2008 to 2011. Furthermore, Dr. Telleen has spent time as faculty co-chair on the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Women at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Earlier in her career, Dr. Telleen was adjunct faculty for a contemporary survey of child development at National Louis University in Evanston, Illinois, in 1983 and a lecturer in developmental disabilities at DePaul University in Chicago from 1982 to 1983. She began her career as an instructor in the Department of Human Development at the University of Maryland in 1976, becoming a lecturer in 1977 and an assistant professor in 1980.

In addition to her primary responsibilities, Dr. Telleen is a well-regarded author in her field. With over 70 publications to her name, including book chapters and collaborative research, she has also contributed her skills as an editor and presenter in her field. In 2002, she notably co-authored “The Transition from Welfare to Work: Processes, Challenges and Outcomes.” Other professional endeavors of hers include sitting on the board of the Association of Teachers of Maternal and Child Health from 1989 to 1993 and on the Chicago Health Policy Research Council from 1994 to 1998. She maintained further affiliation with the American Evaluation Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Public Health Association, the Association for Health Services Research and the Society for Research in Child Development.

With a longstanding interest in children, Dr. Telleen earned a Bachelor of Arts in education, with a minor in psychology, from Augustana College in 1968 and a Master of Education from the University of Maryland in 1969. Following this, she spent four years working as a school teacher in Cornwall, New York, and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Motivated to figure out the best way to create supportive environments for children, she returned to the University of Maryland to earn a Doctor of Philosophy, which she completed in 1976 with her dissertation on memory processing in children. She became a licensed psychologist in the state of Illinois in 1982.

Over the course of her career, Dr. Telleen has been the recipient of a number of grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. These grants went to support her work in examining the leading causes of death and injury of children in Illinois and the Safe Schools/Healthy Students violence prevention projects. Incredibly proud of the opportunity to contribute to the knowledge and practice of public health, and in particular maternal and child health, she notably sponsors the Dr. Sharon Telleen Maternal and Child Health Award, which provides funding for graduate students in maternal and child health programs. In recognition of her accomplishments, she was admitted to Delta Omega, the honorary society for public health, in 1996. The University of Illinois Foundation honored her with the Legacies and Leaders Award in Public Health in 2016.

Born in Washington, D.C., to father Floyd E. Anderson, an engineer in the U.S. Department of the Navy, and mother Louise Anderson, an activist and volunteer, Dr. Telleen attributes much of her success to how she was raised. With Washington being a hub for people from all over the world, she grew up with a very diverse outlook and a wealth of wonderful experiences. She has also been grateful for the support of her husband, Philip R. Telleen, and children, Katherine Telleen Stebe and Paul Telleen, through whom she has four grandchildren: George and Emily Stebe and Dylan and Cassidy Telleen. Looking toward the future, Dr. Telleen hopes to continue mentoring students, researching and writing.

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