Ichiro Kawachi

Ichiro Kawachi

Professor of Social Epidemiology
Chair, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences

677 Huntington Avenue
Kresge Building 7th Floor
Boston, Massachusetts 02115
Phone: 617.432.3915
Executive Assistant / Faculty Reappointments Coordinator:

Monika Szperka mszperka@hsph.harvard.edu

Biographical Introduction

Ichiro Kawachi, M.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Social Epidemiology, and Chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health.  Kawachi received both his medical degree and Ph.D. (in epidemiology) from the University of Otago, New Zealand.  He has taught at the Harvard School of Public Health since 1992.  Kawachi has published over 400 articles on the social and economic determinants of population health. He was the co-editor (with Lisa Berkman) of the first textbook on Social Epidemiology, published by Oxford University Press in 2000. His other books include The Health of Nations with Bruce Kennedy (The New Press, 2002); Neighborhoods and Health with Lisa Berkman (Oxford University Press, 2003); Globalization and Health with Sarah Wamala of the Swedish National Institute of Public Health (Oxford University Press, 2006),;and Social Capital and Health (Springer, 2008) co-edited with S.V. Subramanian and Daniel Kim.  Kawachi is the Senior Editor (Social Epidemiology) of the international journal Social Science & Medicine since 2000. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the US National Academy of Sciences.

Other Affiliations

Co-Director, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholars

Co-Director, IMSD (Initiative to Maximize Student Diversity) Training Grant

Senior Editor in Social Epidemiology, Social Science & Medicine

Chair, Institutional Review Board (IRB), HSPH


Social Determinants of Health

My research interests span across a range of social determinants of population health and health disparities. My investigations encompass the macro-level determinants of population health (e.g. income inequality, social cohesion, and political participation), to the meso-level (neighborhood contextual influences), down to the individual-level (stress, and psychosocial risk factors for cardiovascular disease).  I was the co-editor, with Lisa Berkman, of the textbook on Social Epidemiology (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000).


Income inequality and population health

For the past decade I have been conducting investigations on the damaging population health consequences of growing inequality, which is summarized in the books, The Health of Nations (New York: The New Press, 2002, with Bruce Kennedy), and Income Inequality and Health: A Reader (New York: The New Press, 1999, with Bruce Kennedy and Richard Wilkinson), as well as in the book I edited, Is Inequality Bad for Our Health? (Boston: Beacon Press, 2000, with Lisa Berkman and Daniel Kim).


Social capital and health

A second strand of my research has sought to establish the links between health and “social capital”, defined as access to network-based resources such as trust, norms, and reciprocity exchanges.  This work has been summarized in a recently edited a textbook, Social Capital and Health (New York: Springer 2008, with Daniel Kim and S.V. Subramanian). My recent work on social capital (with Takeo Fujiwara) has sought to test the links with health status using panel designs (J Epidemiol Comm Health. 2008 Jul;62(7):627-33) and twin fixed effects (Am J Prev Med. 2008 Aug;35(2):139-44.


Neighborhood influences on health

With S.V. Subramanian and others, I am interested in approaches to examine neighborhood “contextual” influences on health outcomes, including obesity.  This work is summarized in the textbook, Neighborhoods and Health (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003, with Lisa Berkman).


Global health

My research activities span across the globe, including collaborations with colleagues in Asia (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China), Latin America (Chile, Ecuador, Brazil), Europe (Hungary, Sweden, the Netherlands), and Australia/New Zealand.  My interests in global health are summarized in my textbook, Globalization and Health (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006, with Sarah Wamala).


M.D., 1985, Otago University, New Zealand
Ph.D., 1991, Otago University, New Zealand