News and Announcements

Subramanian on steering committee of new, interdisciplinary PhD program at Harvard Chan School

subramanianThe Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has announced its plans to launch a new PhD program in Population Health Sciences, with the first cohort expected to enter in Fall 2016. Harvard Pop Center faculty member SV Subramanian (Subu), PhD, will sit on the steering committee that will administer the interdepartmental program involving the Departments of Environmental Health, Epidemiology, Global Health and Population, Nutrition, and Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Can education help reduce adulthood health risks for those who were socioeconomically disadvantaged as children?

friedmanHarvard Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar alum Esther Friedman, PhD, is lead author on a study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine that found that while adults who experienced childhood socioeconomic adversity had markers associated with increased health risks, their health risks were greatly reduced by adult education. The study also included those who experienced childhood physical abuse; the physiological consequences of this type of early-life adversity did not appear to be attenuated by adult educational attainment.

Researchers revisit Mendelian Randomization studies of effect of BMI on depression

KubzanskyHarvard Pop Center faculty members Laura Kubzansky, PhD, Ichiro Kawachi, MD, PhD, and M. Maria Glymour, PhD, have co-authored a study published in American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics that revisits Mendelian Randomization studies (analyses based on genetic instrumental variables) of the effect of body mass index (BMI) on depression.

Sheridan explores neurogenetics approach to defining differential susceptibility to institutional care

sheridan.MHarvard Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar program alum Margaret A. Sheridan, PhD, has co-authored a study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Development that explores how genetic susceptibility interacts with extreme differences in the early caregiving environments (institutional vs. non-institutional) to predict distinct outcomes of neurodevelopment at age 8.

Early life poverty affects physical growth faltering, or stunting, in young & older children

subramania_headshot-for-panelHarvard Pop Center researchers, including doctoral student Aditi Krishna and S V Subramanian, PhD, have published a study in the journal Global Health Action that examines how early life poverty affects physical growth over various life stages, with ages ranging from 6 months – 15 years.

Study shows using machine learning algorithms can reliably predict air quality during major wildfire

Reid_ColleenHarvard Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholar Colleen Reid, PhD, is lead author on a study published Environmental Science & Technology that applied machine learning algorithms that combine data from satellites and chemical transport models (CMTs) – a type of computer numerical model – to predict fine particulate matter during the 2008 northern California wildfires.

How can you statistically correct for missing data and selection bias in HIV prevalence estimates?

Mark McGovernMissing data is a common problem in HIV research due to non-participation in testing, and selection bias can occur if non-participation in testing is associated with HIV status. For example, longitudinal data suggests that individuals who know or suspect that they are HIV positive are less likely to participate in HIV surveys. Four researchers from Harvard Pop Center, including Mark McGovern, PhD, Till Bärnighausen, MD, Joshua Salomon, PhD,  and David Canning, PhD, have published a study in BMC Medical Research Methodology that explores a practical and easy-to-implement method to correct for selection bias in HIV prevalence estimates.

Chicago police use Papachristos’ theories to target those at highest risk & curb violence

papachristos.resizedThe research of Harvard Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholar program alum Andrew Papachristos, PhD, on social-network violence is featured in this article in the Chicago Sun Times. Papachristos and colleagues published a study in Social Science & Medicine that revealed that 70 percent of nonfatal injuries occur within networks containing 6 percent of the city’s population. Based on Papachristos’ social-network theories, the Chicago Police Department is generating lists of at-risk people, beat officers are paying closer attention to those individuals to try and prevent violence, and some social service intervention is being offered.

Applying regression discontinuity in epidemiology; a study on when to start HIV treatment

Till BärnighausenHarvard Pop Center faculty member Till Bärnighausen, MD, has co-authored an article published in Epidemiology in response to a commentary on thier previous study that explores applying regression discontinuity designs in epidemiology published in the September issue of the journal.

New approach for estimating HIV prevalence

Mark McGovern Harvard Pop Center PGDA Fellow Mark McGovern, PhD, and faculty member Till Bärnighausen, MD, have co-authored a study published in Epidemiology that explores the usefulness of applying copula functions to the more standard selection model in order to more accurately evaluate HIV prevalence estimates.