John Billimek

Picture of John Billimek
Associate Professor and Vice Chair for Academic Affairs, Family Medicine
School of Medicine
Co-Director, Program in Medical Education for the Latino Community (PRIME-LC) Residency Track, Family Medicine
School of Medicine
Ph.D., University of California, Irvine, 2007, Psychology and Social Behavior
Phone: (949) 824-3065
Fax: (949) 824-3388
University of California, Irvine
100 Theory, Suite 110
Mail Code: 5800
Irvine, CA 92617
Research Interests
medication adherence, diabetes, health disparities, social determinants of health, doctor-patient communication, life context and chronic disease management
Research Abstract
Results from a recent randomized trial suggest that expansion of health insurance coverage alone may not improve health outcomes for low income patients if care is not delivered in a way that is responsive to their needs. My research aims to understand why wide racial and socioeconomic disparities in health outcomes exist among patients with chronic diseases for which there are accepted guidelines for prevention and treatment, even among individuals who can access affordable health care.

My work addresses two overarching research questions: What are the barriers, in terms of social determinants of health, cultural preferences, and patient characteristics, that prevent underserved patients from realizing the full benefit of effective medical therapies? And, can healthcare be delivered in a way that is more responsive to these barriers?
Awards and Honors
2023 UCI Chancellor's Faculty Award Recipient for Undergraduate Mentorship
2023 UCI Outstanding Community Builder Award, Latino Excellence and Achievement program
2016 School of Medicine Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award
Short Biography
John Billimek, PhD is a psychologist by training, a health services researcher, and the Vice Chair for Academic Affairs for the UC Irvine Department of Family Medicine. He is Co-Director of the Program in Medical Education for the Latino Community (PRIME-LC) residency track and directs the HELIOS lab (, an undergraduate mentored health equity research program that has included over 100 diverse students since 2017.

With HELIOS, he studies various ways trust can be cultivated or undermined between community members and the health care system, and how underdeveloped trust contributes to inequities in health care and health outcomes. As a co-Principal Investigator on multiple federal grants with community partners he is proud to help community-based organizations receive funding, agency and representation in their collaborations with the university.

With PRIME-LC, he is one of five Faculty Leads for the campus-wide UC PRIME Pre-Health Pathways Program, supporting the professional development of future professionals from historically excluded communities.

A former rugby player and the son of a community college professor and a registered nurse, “Dr. B” left Texas to find his dream job in Southern California, where he lives with his wife Donna, and two children Wyatt and Riley Rose.
NIH/NHLBI (R01 HL142964) - Mi Propio Camino (My Own Way): Addressing negative beliefs about medication among Hispanic adults with hypertension
UCI CRAFT COVID Program - The COVID-19 Unity Project: Community voices in the pandemic
Health Equity and Literacy in OC (HEAL-OC)", US DHHS Office of Minority Health (Subaward via City of Santa Ana), 1 CPIMP211286-01-00
Research Centers
the HELIOS Lab
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