Shanna L. Burke

Associate Professor

School of Social Work


Neurodegenerative and Neurodevelopmental Conditions


As a public health social worker, Dr. Burke’s research focuses on cognition and cognitive impairment, including neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Her translational objective is to decrease health disparities through the identification of midlife risk factors for late-life neurodegeneration, the utilization of culturally responsive multi-modal assessment procedures, diagnostic methods, and interventions targeting cognitive impairments and chronic diseases across the lifespan. 

At FIU, she has received funding for more than 20 studies from foundation, internal, state, and federal sources. She has been funded by the Florida Department of Public Health twice (2017 and 2019). Her first project aimed to computerize a consensus diagnostic algorithm to predict mild cognitive impairment and dementia in diagnostic batteries used at Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers.  She was also funded by the Florida Department of Health to assess the impact of psychiatric conditions on brain structure and volume, and how these changes impact Alzheimer’s disease risk and development. In 2017, Dr. Burke was awarded the New Investigator Award from the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology.

More recently, Dr. Burke’s research investigations have focused on midlife risk factors for later-in-life neurodegeneration. With both internal funding and funding from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIH/NIMHD), Dr. Burke has investigated the role of sleep as a risk factor for cognitive impacts in 40-60-year-old Latinx and Black/African American adults with first-degree relatives diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Building upon these investigations, Dr. Burke was recently awarded funding to conduct an R01-equivalent study on the interactions between the gut microbiome, sleep, and cognition in 40-60-year-old Latinx adults with at least one first-degree relative diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. This latest funding is part of the renewal of the Research Center in a Minority Institution (RCMI) at FIU and is one of three R01-equivalent projects that are part of the 5-year, $19.4 million grant, which is the university's largest NIH award to date.

In 2021, Dr. Burke was named Educator of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers, Miami-Dade chapter. Later that same year, she was named Educator of the Year by the statewide Florida chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. She has taught doctoral courses at FIU on dissertation proposal development and writing (SOW 7936) as well as the History and Systems of Social Work Research (SOW 7406). For the MSW program, Dr. Burke has taught courses on research methodology, clinical assessment and intervention, and clinical gerontology practice.


  • Simmons University, Ph.D.
  • Springfield College, MSW
  • Smith College, BA
  • Bard College at Simon’s Rock, AA
  • Florida International University, MPH


59. *Agarwal, R., *Heron, L., & Burke, S.L. (In Press). Financial Planning among Parents of Children with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
58. *Naseh, M., Potocky, M., Burke, S., Stuart, P. H., & Huffman, F. G. (In Press). Factors associated with poverty among refugees in the United States. Journal of Poverty.

57. Rodriguez, M., Burke, S., Padron, D., Duarte, A., Roselli, M., Grieg-Custo, M., *Grudzien, A., Loewenstein, D., & Duara, R. (In Press). Associations between country where education is obtained and cognitive functioning among older adults at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 37, 257–274. 

56. *Agarwal, R., Wuyke, G., Sharma, U., Burke, S.L., Howard, M., Li, T., Sanchez, M., & Bastida, E. (2022; In Press). Stress and anxiety among parents of transition-aged children with autism spectrum disorder: A systematic review of interventions and scales. Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

55. *Abtahi, Z., Potocky, M., Eizadyar, Z., Burke, S.L. & Fava, N.M. (In Press). Digital Mental Health and Well-Being Interventions for International Migrants: A Systematic Review. Research on Social Work Practice.

54. Fava, N. M., Panisch, L. S., Burke, S. L., Li, T., Spadola, C., O’Driscoll, J., & Leviyah, X. (In Press). The mediating effect of maternal wellbeing on the association between neighborhood perception and child wellbeing: A longitudinal investigation. Maternal and Child Health Journal.
53. Burke, S., Grudzien, A., Li, T., Abril, M., Spadola, C., Barnes, C., Hanson, K., Grandner, M.A., & DeKosky, S. (2022). Correlations between Sleep Disturbance and Brain Structures Associated with Neurodegeneration in the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center Uniform Data Set. Journal of Clinical Neuroscience, 106, 204-212. PMID: 35970678
52. *Heron, L., *Agarwal, R., Becht, K., Roberts-Dahm, L, D., & †Burke, S. (In Press). Exploring Florida's Inclusive Postsecondary Education Programs. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability.
51. Spadola, C., Groton, D., Littlewood, K., Hilditch, C.J., Burke, S.L., & Bertisch S. (In Press). Sleep Health Education to Promote Public Health: Attitudes and Desired Learning Goals among Social Work Students. Social Work in Public Health.

50. Morris, Z., Malik, S., Burke, S., Moore, M., *Grudzien, A. & Cadet, T. (2022) A Longitudinal Examination of the Association Between Loss of Control and Loneliness Among Older Adults Diagnosed with Cancer. Journal of Aging and Health, 34(6-8):1092-1100. PMID: 35533324
49. *Heron, L., *Agarwal, R., *Greenup, J., Attong, N., & †Burke, S. (2022). Leveraging the design thinking method to address campus accessibility challenges. International Journal of Inclusive Education.

48. *Feeney, K. & Burke, S. (2021). The Role of Mentorship on Social Engagement among Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 88, 101842. 

47. Cadet, T., Burke, S., O’Connor, K., Mitchell, J., & Nedjat-Haiem, F. (2021). Does perceived loneliness matter for diverse older men and their prostate-specific antigen testing behaviors? Social Work Research, 45(2), 117–128. 

46. Cadet, T., Burke, S., *Naseh, M., *Grudzien, A., *Kozak, R., Romeo, J., Bullock, K, & Davis, C. (2021). Examining the family support role of older Hispanics, African Americans, and Non-Hispanic Whites and their breast cancer screening behaviors. Journal of Social Work in Public Health, 36(1), 38-53. PMID: 33427579
45. Cadet, T., Burke, S., Bakk, L., Nedjat-Haiem, F. & Schroepfer, T. (2021). Attending to the psychosocial needs of older Black, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic White women and their breast cancer screening behaviors. Journal of the National Medical Association, 113(3) 342-350. PMID: 34278988 PMCID: PMC8290092
44. *Agarwal, R., *Heron, L. & †Burke, S.L. (2021). Evaluating a postsecondary education program for students with intellectual disabilities: Leveraging the parent perspective. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 51(7), 2229-2240. PMID: 32926305
43. Cadet, T., Burke, S. L., Nedjat-Haiem, F., Bakk, L., Naseh, M., Grudzien, A., O'Driscoll, J., & Alcide, A. (2021). Timing of immigration effects asset change among Hispanic caregivers of older family members. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 42(3), 561–572. PMID: 33041610
42. Kim, A.J., Beam, C., Greenburg, N., & Burke, S. (2020). Health factors as potential mediators of the longitudinal effect of loneliness on general cognitive ability. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 28(12), 1272-1283. PMID: 32900580
41. Burke, S., *Cobb, J., *Agarwal, R., *Maddux, M., & Cooke, M. (2020). How Robust is the Evidence for a Role of Oxidative Stress in Autism Spectrum Disorders and Intellectual Disabilities? Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 51(5), 1428-1445. PMID: 32929662
40. *Agarwal, R., *Heron, L., *Naseh, M. & †Burke, S.L. (2020). Mentoring Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: Evaluation of Role-Specific Workshops for Mentors and Mentees. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 51(4), 1281–1289. PMID: 32666198
39. Burke, S., Li, T., *Grudzien, A., Garcia, S. (2020). Improving employment interview self-efficacy among adults with autism and other developmental disabilities using Virtual Interactive Training Agents (ViTA). Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 51(2), 741-748. PMID: 32642959
38. Rodriguez, M., Mendoza, L., Rodriguez, I., Roselli, M., Loewenstein, D., Burke, S., *Orozco, A., & Duara, R. (2020). Cultural factors related to neuropsychological performance and brain atrophy among Hispanic older adults with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI): A pilot study. Applied Neuropsychology: Adult. PMID: 32397837
37. *Heron, L., *Agarwal, R., *Gonzalez, I., Li, T., *Maddux, M., Attong, N., & Burke, S. (2020). Understanding Local Barriers to Inclusion for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities through an Employment Conference. International Journal of Disability Management.
36. Burke, S., *Grudzien, A., *Burgess, A., Rodriguez, M., *Rivera, Y., & Loewenstein, D. (2020). The Utility of Cognitive Screeners in the Detection of Dementia-Spectrum Disorders in Spanish speaking populations. Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology, 34(2), 102-118. PMID: 32314661
35. Becht, K., Blades, C., *Agarwal, R., & Burke, S. (2020). Academic Access and Progress for Students with Intellectual Disability in Inclusive Postsecondary Education: A Systematic Review of Literature. Inclusion. 8(2), 90–104.
34. *Agarwal, R., *Maddux, M., *Marolda, H., *Quintana, J., Wagner, E., & Burke, S. (2020). An Analysis of Current Model Programmes for Adults with Neurodevelopmental Disorders. International Journal of Disability, Development, and Education.
33. *Heron, L., *Agarwal, R., *Greenup, J., *Maddux, M., Attong, N, & Burke, S. (2020). Disparities in Healthcare Transition Support Received by Children and Adolescents with Special Health Care Needs. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 3(2):180-192. 

32. Karbaschi, M., *Yunhee, J., *Abdulwahed, A., *Alohalyc, A., *Bedoya, J., Burke, S., *Boulos, T., Tempest, H., & Cooke, M. (2019). Evaluation of the Major Steps in the Conventional Protocol for the Alkaline Comet Assay.  International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 20(23), 6072.

31. *Agarwal, R., Burke, S., *Maddux, M. (2019). Current State of Evidence of Cannabis Utilization for Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders. BMC Psychiatry, 19, 398.

30. *Tenenbaum, R.B., *Agarwal, R., Cooke, M.S., Agrawal, M., *Maddux M., Burke, S. (2019). Utilization of Complementary and Alternative in Youth with Developmental Disabilities. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
29. Duara, R., Loewenstein, D.A., Lizarraga, G., Adjouadi, M., Barker, W.W., Greig-Custo, M.T., Penate, A., Shea, Y.F., Behar, R., Ollarves, A., Robayo, C., Hanson, K., Marsiske, M., Burke, S., Ertekin-Tanner, N., Vaillancourt, D., De Santi, S., Golde, T., DeKosky, S. (2019). Effect of Age, Ethnicity, Sex, Cognitive Status and APOE Genotype on Amyloid Load and the Threshold for Amyloid Positivity. Neuroimage: Clinical, 22, 101800. PMID: 30991618
28. Burke, S., *Naseh, M., Rodriguez, M., *Burgess, A., & Loewenstein, D. (2019). Dementia-related neuropsychological testing considerations in non-Hispanic white and Latino/Hispanic populations. Psychology and Neuroscience, 12(2), 144-168. PMC6812579
27. Burke, S., Hu, T., *Naseh, M., Fava, N., *O’Driscoll, J., *Alvarez, D., Cottler, L., & Duara, R.  (2019). Factors Influencing Attrition in the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center’s Uniform Data Set. Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, 31(9),1283-1297. PMID: 30535620.
26. Descilo, T., Fava, N.M., Burke, S., Costa, I., & Swanson, A. (2019). Effects of Traumatic Incident Reduction on Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms, Anxiety in a Community-based Agency. Research on Social Work Practice, 29(4), 401-409.

25. Burke, S., Wagner, E., *Marolda, H., *Quintana, J., & *Maddux, M. (2019). Gap analysis of service needs for adults with neurodevelopmental disorders. The Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, 23(1), 97-116. PMID: 28847208.
24. Maramaldi, P., Cadet, T., Burke, S., White, E. LeCloux, M., Kinnunen, T., & Kalendarian, E. (2019). Administrators' perceptions of oral health care and cancer screening barriers in long-term care nursing facilities. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 38(10):1391-1420. PMID: 29165003.
23. Burke, S., *Burgess, A., & Cadet, T. (2019). Utilizing evidence-based assessment instruments to detect well-being and distress in English and Spanish-speaking caregivers of individuals affected by dementia. Dementia, 18(6), 2062-2084. PMID: 29141448.
22. Burke, S., Hu, T., Fava, N., Li, T., Rodriguez, M.,*Schuldiner, K., *Burgess, A., & Laird, A. (2019). Sex differences in the development of mild cognitive impairment and probable Alzheimer’s disease as predicted by hippocampal volume or white matter hyperintensities. Journal of Women & Aging, 31(2), 140-164. PMID: 29319430.
21. Burke, S., Hu, T., Spadola, C., *Burgess, A., Li, T., & Cadet, T. (2019). Treatment of sleep disturbance may reduce the risk of future probable Alzheimer’s Disease. Journal of Aging & Health, 31(2), 322-342. PMC6328323
20. Burke, S., Hu, T., Spadola, C., Naseh, M., Li, T.,* Burgess, A. & Cadet, T. (2018). Mild Cognitive Impairment: Associations with sleep disturbance, apolipoprotein E, and sleep medications. Sleep Medicine, 52, 168-176. PMC6800075
19. Maramaldi, P., Cadet, T., Burke, S., LeCloux, M., White, E., Kalenderian, E., & Kinnunen, T. (2018). Oral health and cancer screening in long-term care nursing facilities: Motivation and opportunity as intervention targets. Gerodontology. 35(4):407-416. PMID: 30074263
18. *Ahmadinejad-Naseh, M., Potocky, M., Burke, S, & Stuart, P. (2018). Assessing Refugee Poverty using Well-Being Versus Income: The Case of Afghans in Iran. Advances in Social Work: Special Issue: Social Work with Migrants and Refugees: Challenges, Best Practices, and Future Directions, 18(3).

17. Burke, S., Bresnahan, T.L., Li, T., Epnere, K., Rizzo, A., Partin, M., Ahlness, R.M., & Trimmer, M. (2018). Using Virtual Interactive Training Agents (ViTA) with adults with disabilities. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 48(3), 905-912. PMID: 29168090.
16. Burke, S., Cadet, T., *Alcide, A., *O’Driscoll, J., Maramaldi, P. (2018). Psychosocial Risk Factors and Alzheimer's Disease: The Associative Effect of Depression, Sleep Disturbance, and Anxiety. Aging and Mental Health, 22(12):1577-1584. PMC5924446
15. Burke, S., Cadet, T., *Maddux, M. (2018). Chronic health illnesses as predictors of mild cognitive impairment among African American older adults. The Journal of the National Medical Association, 10(4), 314-325. PMID: 30126555.
14. Burke, S., Rodriguez, M., Barker, W., Greig-Custo, M., Rosselli, M., Loewenstein, D., & Duara, R. (2018). The relationship between cognitive performance and measures of neurodegeneration among Hispanic and white non-Hispanic individuals with normal cognition, MCI, and dementia.  Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 24(2), 176-187. PMID: 28918757.
13. Mitchell, J., Cadet, T., Burke, S., *Williams, E., *Alvarez, D. (2018). The Paradoxical Impact of Companionship on the Mental Health of Older African American Men. The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences: Special Issue: Psycho-social Influences of African Americans Men’s Health, 73(2), 230-239. PMC5927098
12. Burke, S., Maramaldi, P., Cadet, T., & Kukull, W. (2018). Decreasing hazards of Alzheimer’s disease with the use of antidepressants: Mitigating the risk of depression and apolipoprotein E. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 33(1), 200-211. PMC5711617
11. Cadet, T., Burke, S., *Stewart, K., *Howard, T. & Schonberg, M. (2017). Cultural and emotional determinants of cervical cancer screening among older Hispanic women. Health Care for Women International, 38(12), 1289-1312. PMC5899417
10. Fava, N.M., Li, T., Burke, S., & Wagner, E. (2017). Resilience in the context of fragility: Development of a multidimensional measure of child wellbeing within the Fragile Families Dataset. Children and Youth Services Review, 81, 358-367.

9. *Ahmadinejad-Naseh, M. & Burke, S. (2017). They Survived, We Can Help Them Thrive: Older Adult Refugees in the United States. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 60(3), 189-192. PMID: 27997313.
8. Burke, S. & Maramaldi, P. (2017). The Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowances Initiative: Condition Spotlight: Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome. Health & Social Work, 42(1), e32-e43. PMID: 28395077.
7. Burke, S. & Maramaldi, P.  (2017). An Evaluative Review of the Evidence Supporting Idiopathic Basal Ganglia Calcification for Inclusion in the Compassionate Allowances Program. Basal Ganglia, 7, 1-8.
6. Burke, S. L., *O'Driscoll, J., *Alcide, A., & Li, T. (2017). Moderating risk of Alzheimer's disease through the use of anxiolytic agents. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 32(12), 1312-1321. PMID: 27805724.

5. Burke, S. & Maramaldi, P. (2017). Variability in Clinical and Anatomical Manifestation of Velocardiofacial Syndrome Presents Diagnostic and Policy Uncertainty. Fetal and Pediatric Pathology, 36(1), 33-41. PMID: 27732116.
4. Burke, S. & Maramaldi, P. (2016). Smith-Magenis Syndrome and the Compassionate Allowances Program. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 54(4), 273-284. PMID: 27494126.
3. Burke, S., Maramaldi, P., Cadet, T., & Kukull, W. (2016). Neuropsychiatric symptoms and apolipoprotein e: Associations with eventual Alzheimer’s disease development. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 65, 231-298. PMID: 27111252.

2. Burke, S., Maramaldi, P., Cadet, T., & Kukull, W. (2016). Associations between depression, sleep disturbance, and apolipoprotein E in the development of Alzheimer's disease: dementia. International Psychogeriatrics, 28(9), 1409-1424. PMID: 27020605.
1. Cadet, T. J., Berrett-Abebe, J., Burke, S. L., Bakk, L., Kalenderian, E., & Maramaldi, P. (2016). Evidence-based health promotion in nursing homes: A pilot intervention to improve oral health. Educational Gerontology, 42(5), 352-360.