Social & Environmental Determinants of Population Health

CURRENT PROJECTS (listed in alpha-order by PI)

Project Title: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars Program
PI: Lisa Berkman, PhD, Thomas Cabot Professor of Public Policy and Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Director, Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, and Ichiro Kawachi, MD, PhD, John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Professor of Social Epidemiology and Chair, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Funder: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Summary: This project’s goal is to train scholars in the social determinants of health through a tightly knit, interdisciplinary training program integrating social, behavioral and biological sciences with a rich historical perspective.

Project Title: Infrastructure-Building and Cross-Jurisdictional Governance of Vector-borne Disease in a Time of Environmental Change
PI: Angie Boyce, PhD, RWJF Health & Society Scholar at Harvard University
Funder: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars Program at Harvard
Summary: This project examines institutional decision-making in the surveillance, control, and prevention of vector-borne disease using a mixed methods approach. It focuses on understanding how social factors shape institutional decision-making, in particular the politics of attention, investment, and prioritization. The project integrates urban planning and population health approaches.

Project Title: The Effect of Family Planning on Fertility, Reproductive Health, and Economic Development in Africa
PI: David Canning, PhD, Richard Saltonstall Professor of Population Sciences and Professor of Economics and International Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Funder: Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies
Summary: The study will develop a protocol for study to be conducted in a poor urban African setting where total fertility is high, contraceptive prevalence is low, and access to family planning services is costly.

Project Title: The Impact of Reproductive Health and Family Planning Services on Health and Poverty
PI: David Canning, PhD, Richard Saltonstall Professor of Population Sciences and Professor of Economics and International Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Funder: William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Summary: This study will examine the determinants of fertility and the economic consequences of fertility reduction.

Project Title: The Role of Development Assistance for Health in Reducing Child Mortality
PI: Chunling Lu, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine and Assistant Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Funder: NIH/Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Summary: This five-year K01 project explores the integration of economic and demographic methods for studying the role of Development Assistance for Health (DAH) in reducing child mortality through cross-country comparative study and a country case-study in Rwanda.

Project Title: Health and Economic Mobility
PI: Rourke O’Brien, PhD, RWJF Health & Society Scholar at Harvard University
Funder: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars Program at Harvard
Summary: Recent research has looked at links between economic mobility and factors such as inequality, social capital, school quality, and family structure; this project fills in the gaps of previous work by looking at health as a factor in economic mobility. The project will demonstrate the robust association between health (including infant/child health) and key economic mobility pathways, such as human capital attainment and labor market performance.

Project Title: Greenspace as an environmental buffer to social stressors
PI: Colleen Reid, MPH, PhD, RWJF Health & Society Scholar at Harvard University
Funder: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars Program at Harvard
Summary: Recent research has found many health benefits of exposure to greenspace, however there are many gaps in the current understanding of greenspace as a potentially positive environmental exposure. This research aims to fill identified gaps in the research on greenspace by analyzing which metrics of greenspace are relevant for understanding health benefits of greenspace exposure, assessing the effects of greenspace on three hypothesized mediating pathways to health, and using a well-established longitudinal cohort to understand the effects of greenspace on cardiovascular disease onset.

Project Title: Stop Stunting in South Asia
PI: SV Subramanian, PhD, Professor of Population Health and Geography, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Funder: UNICEF
Summary: The objective of this project is to conduct a series of analyses to document: 1) the epidemiology of child stunting in South Asia including time trends and current distribution, disparities, and inequities; 2) the consequences of stunting on child growth, development, and learning; 3) the consequences of child stunting on economic growth and national development; 4) the proximal variables most significantly associated with stunting in South Asian countries; and 5) the implications of these findings for policy development, programme design and research prioritization in the context of the post 2015 development goals in South Asia.

Project Title: The Impact of Microfinance on Health: Experimental Evidence from India
PI: Rohini Pande, PhD, Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Funder: National Institutes of Health
Summary: The project uses a rigorous experimental method to measure the impact of microfinance on health and aging, providing valuable information to policymakers for use in allocation of resources among development programs as well as in the design of