News and Announcements

Matt Wray comments in “Poor Whites Need Jesus and Justice Too”

9-bow-streetHarvard RWJF Health & Society Scholar program alum Matt Wray, PhD, shares some insights from his 2006 book Not Quite White: White Trash and the Boundaries of Whiteness in this op-ed in The Christian Post on evangelicals and their apparent lack of focus on lower-class white people.

Social participation benefits health, & better health benefits social participation

Hessl_Bell FellowHarvard Pop Center Bell Fellow Philipp Hessel, PhD, has co-authored a study published in Ageing & Society that sheds light on the reciprocal relationship between health and social participation based on evidence from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE).

Is education a factor in mortality gap between U.S. & Europe?

Berkman_Lisa_croppedHarvard Pop Center Director Lisa Berkman, PhD, and faculty member Mauricio Avendano, PhD, are co-authors on a study published in the American Journal of Public Health that suggests that the larger educational disparities in mortality in the United States partly explain why US adults have higher mortality than their European counterparts. Although more evidence is needed, the study suggests that policies to reduce mortality among the lower educated could be necessary to bridge the mortality gap between the United States and European countries.

Peers influence sexual activity among adolescents in Ghana

5d57ed7af789847cbedc9b5eab9f6a11_400x400Former Harvard Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholar Jeffrey “Bart” Bingenheimer, PhD, is lead author on a study published in Studies in Family Planning that explores the influences of peers on the sexual activity of adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa. Findings suggest that the most effective strategy to target at-risk adolescent boys would include peer-based interventions.

Lisa Berkman speaks on NPR’s Here & Now on American Workplace Policies

Forum_What-Shapes-Health_Lisa Berkman_headshotHarvard Pop Center Director Lisa Berkman shares findings from the Work, Family & Health Network intervention study with Robin Young in this NPR story that aired on Here & Now. This news story, “Are American Workplace Policies Stuck in the 1950s?,” is part of NPR’s focus this month on what factors shape health, the topic of a recent poll by NPRthe Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, as well a recent Forum panel discussion.

Can we learn about mortality risk by comparing data from self-reports vs. claims on heart attacks?

Laura-Yasaitis_310_x_440Three Harvard Pop Center researchers, including research fellow Laura C. Yasaitis, PhD, Pop Center Director Lisa Berkman, PhD, and faculty member Amitabh Chandra, PhD, have published a study in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association, that compares self-reported data to administrative data (Medicare claims) on acute myocardial infarction events.

Earlier & frequent hot flashes may be linked to increased risk for cardiovascular disease

thurstonFormer Harvard Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholar Rebecca Thurston, PhD, is lead author on two studies, both to be presented at the American College of Cardiology’s annual Scientific Session in San Diego March 14 – 16, 2015, that suggest that early and frequent menopausal hot flashes may be linked to increased risk for heart disease. These findings, which focus on endothelial (the inner lining of blood vessels) function, have been receiving attention in the press; learn more from,, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and

An epigenetic “primer” for social scientists interested in link between genome & environment

non.resizedHarvard RWJF Health & Society Scholar program alumna Amy Non, PhD, is co-author of a study published in the American Journal of Human Biology that serves as a type of primer for anthropologists and human biologists interested in incorporating epigenetic (chemical modifications to the genome that may alter gene expression) data into their research programs.

Focus groups in Uganda shed light on ways to increase diagnostic testing of malaria

Cohen-HSPH-head-shot_resizedHarvard Pop Center faculty members Jessica Cohen, PhD, and Günther Fink, PhD, are co-authors on a paper published in Malaria Journal that explores ways to boost demand for diagnostic testing of malaria, particularly in the private (retail) sector.