Core Faculty

Program Co-Directors:

Lisa Berkman, PhD, is Director, Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, and Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and of Epidemiology. Appointed director of the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies in 2007, she was chair of the school’s Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences (formerly known as the Department of Society, Human Development and Health) since 1995. Her research investigates how social conditions related to inequality, race, ethnicity, and social isolation influence health and aging. Berkman received her master’s and doctorate in epidemiology from the University of California, Berkeley.  She joined the Yale faculty in 1979 as an assistant professor, and before coming to HSPH in 1995 to head what was then the Department of Health and Social Behavior, she was head of the department of chronic disease epidemiology at Yale School of Medicine. Berkman is currently a member of the Institute of Medicine and serves as chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health. She is a past president of the Society for Epidemiologic Research.

Ichiro Kawachi, MD, PhD, is Chair, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Professor of Social Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health and co-director of RWJF HSS Program at Harvard. Kawachi received both his medical degree and PhD (in epidemiology) from the University of Otago, New Zealand. He has taught at the Harvard School of Public Health since 1992.  Kawachi was the co-editor with Lisa Berkman of the textbook Social Epidemiology, published by Oxford University Press in 2000. His other books include The Health of Nations (The New Press, 2002); Neighborhoods and Health (Oxford University Press, 2003); Globalization and Health (Oxford University Press, 2006); Social Capital and Health (Springer, 2008); and the Oxford Handbook of Public Health Practice (Oxford University Press, 2013), with Charles Guest et al.  Kawachi is the co-editor in chief (with S.V. Subramanian) of the international journal Social Science & Medicine. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the US National Academy of Sciences.

Program Associate Director:

Laura Kubzansky, PhD, MPH, is Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences; Director of the Society and Health Psychophysiology Laboratory at the Harvard School of Public Health; and associate director of the RWJF Health & Society Scholars Program at Harvard. Dr. Kubzansky has published extensively on the role of psychological and social factors in health, with a particular focus on the effects of stress and emotion on heart disease. She also conducts research on whether stress, emotion and other psychological factors may help to explain the relationship between social status and health. She is currently a member of the Division 38 Research Committee with the American Psychological Association for research on health disparities in Health Psychology, Senior Advisor to the Steering Committee for the Robert Wood Johnson funded Positive Physical Health Agenda Setting Project, and a member of the Department of Health and Human Services/Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Healthy People 2020 Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being Workgroup. She received her PhD from the University of Michigan in 1995.

Core Faculty:

Gail Adler, MD, PhD, FAHA, is Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Associate Clinical Research Center Director of the Harvard Catalyst Clinical Research Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Her research focuses on hormonal mechanisms of cardiovascular disease with an emphasis on the role of the stress hormone aldosterone in the pathophysiology of cardiovascular and renovascular disease in obesity, diabetes and hypertension. Through patient-oriented and basic studies, Dr. Adler has demonstrated an important role for aldosterone and mineralocorticoid receptor activation in the pathophysiology of vascular injury, insulin resistance and inflammation. She has a longstanding commitment to mentoring junior investigators in translational research and is Associate Program Director of a T32 Training Grant in Hypertension. She is also a permanent member of the National Institutes of Health Hypertension and Microcirculation Study Section and has served on the editorial boards of both Endocrinology and JCEM. Dr. Adler has published over ninety original reports, reviews and chapters.

Jason Beckfield, PhD, Professor of Sociology, and Director of Graduate Studies, Harvard, is a sociologist who studies the comparative political economy of population health, regional integration, globalization, stratification, and economic sociology.  Conceptually, he is interested in how social and political institutions shape structures of inequality, both within and between national societies.  Methodologically, he deploys comparative research methods to capitalize on and investigate the significant institutional variation among nation-states. His current work investigates the impact of European integration on economic inequality and the welfare state, the evolution of the network structure of international organizations, and the social determinants of health inequalities.

Jason Block, MD, is a general internal medicine physician and assistant Professor in the Obesity Prevention Program of the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School/Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute. He completed a primary care internal medicine residency and chief residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the Harvard School of Public Health.  Dr. Block’s primary research interests are in neighborhood-level determinants of weight gain and obesity and the evaluation of governmental and institutional policies and other novel interventions to improve diet and combat obesity. His work has been published in the American Journal of Public Health, the American Journal of Epidemiology, and the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, among others, and his studies have been covered by NPR, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. His clinical activities include serving as a primary care physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, precepting Brigham internal medicine residents in their continuity clinics, and working in the Brigham Weight Management Clinic. He teaches both Harvard Medical School students and Brigham internal medicine residents on ambulatory medicine and clinical epidemiology topics. 

Amitabh Chandra, PhD, is Professor of Public Policy and Director of Health Policy Research at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He is also director of PhD admissions and area chair for social and urban policy. He is a member of the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) Panel of Health Advisors, and is a Research Associate at the IZA Institute in Bonn, Germany and at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). His research focuses on productivity and cost-growth in healthcare, medical malpractice, and racial disparities in healthcare. He is an editor of the Review of Economics and Statistics, a former editor of the Journal of Human Resources, and serves on the editorial boards of Economics Letters and the American Economic Journal. Dr. Chandra is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine, the first-prize recipient of the Upjohn Institute’s Dissertation Award, the Kenneth Arrow Award for best paper in health economics, and the Eugene Garfield Award for the impact of medical research. In 2012, he was awarded American Society of Health Economists (ASHE) medal. Recently he also became chief scientific officer at Precision Health Economics, a health care consulting company based in Santa Monica, CA.

Nancy Krieger, PhD, is Professor of Social Epidemiology in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health and Director of the HSPH Interdisciplinary Concentration on Women, Gender, and Health. She received her PhD in Epidemiology from the University of California at Berkeley in 1989. Informed by an analysis of the history and politics of epidemiology and public health, Dr. Krieger’s work addresses three topics: (1) conceptual frameworks to understand, analyze, and improve population health and reduce health inequities; (2) etiologic research on societal determinants of population health and health inequities; and (3) methodologic research on improving monitoring of health inequities. She is author of Epidemiology and The People’s Health: Theory and Context (Oxford University Press, 2011), editor of Embodying Inequality: Epidemiologic Perspectives (Baywood Press, 2004) and co-editor, with Glen Margo, of AIDS: The Politics of Survival (Baywood Publishers, 1994), and, with Elizabeth Fee, of Women’s Health, Politics, and Power: Essays on Sex/Gender, Medicine, and Public Health (Baywood Publishers, 1994). In 1994 she co-founded, and still chairs, the Spirit of 1848 Caucus of the American Public Health Association, which is concerned with the links between social justice and public health.

Aaron Pascal Mauck, PhD, is a lecturer in the Departments of Social Studies and the History of Science at Harvard. He received his BA in Anthropology from Reed College in 1999, his MA in Sociology and Science Studies from the University of California, San Diego in 2004, and his PhD in the History of Science from Harvard University in 2010. From 2010-2012, Mauck served as a RWJF Health & Society Scholar at the University of Michigan. His research interests include the history and anthropology of chronic disease, applications of social theory to medicine and public health, and science and technology studies. His first book, Crossing the Threshold: Diabetes and Disease Management in America, is due to be published in 2014.  He is currently developing a second book on the history of biomarkers in American medicine.

Joyce Klein Rosenthal, PhD, MPH, is Assistant Professor of Urban Planning, Harvard Graduate School of Design. She received the PhD with distinction in 2010, the MPhil in 2007, and the MS in 2000, all in urban planning, from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, at Columbia University. She also was awarded a MPH in environmental health sciences in 2001 from Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. Rosenthal’s research interests are in environmental planning, sustainable development, and the public health impacts of planning and urban design strategies, with a particular present focus on the spatial and social determinants of climate-related health outcomes. Her research also includes analyzing the development of community-based ecological infrastructure and critical assessment of urban climate policy and governance.

SV Subramanian, PhD, is Professor of Population Health and Geography, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard School of Public Health. He is also a faculty associate at the Institute of Quantitative Social Sciences at Harvard University. Dr. Subramanian’s research focuses on understanding the role of geographic, spatial and institutional contexts (e.g., neighborhoods, schools, workplaces) in influencing population health; empirical multilevel examination of the pathways between macro socioeconomic environments (e.g., income inequality and social capital) and population health and health inequalities; and the methodological challenges to modeling causal contextual and neighborhood effects. Dr. Subramanian has published over 300 original articles and book chapters in the field of social epidemiology, applied multilevel methods, and health inequalities in India.

Alexander Tsai, MD, PhD , is an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, a staff psychiatrist in the Mass General Department of Psychiatry, and a former Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society scholar. His research aims to understand how large-scale social forces affect the distribution of health and mental health among vulnerable populations in resource-limited settings. In South Africa and Uganda, he is the principal investigator for research studies on social networks, postpartum depression, rural livelihoods, and clean water.

 

A Sampling of Affiliated Faculty:

Bryn Austin, Harvard School of Public Health and Children’s Hospital Boston

Kate Baicker, Harvard School of Public health

Allan Brandt, FAS, History of Science

Orfeu Buxton, Harvard Medical School

Nicholas Christakis, Harvard Medical School and FAS, Dept of Sociology

David Cutler, FAS, Dept of Economics

Matthew Gillman, Harvard Medical School

Stephen Gilman, Harvard School of Public Health

Steve Gortmaker, Harvard School of Public Health

Frank Hu, Harvard School of Public Health

Christopher “Sandy” Jencks, Harvard Kennedy School of Government

Gary King, FAS, Dept of Government and the Institute for Quantitative Social Science

Jennifer Lerner, Harvard Kennedy School of Government

Matt Miller, Harvard School of Public Health

Charles Nelson, Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital Boston

Cassandra Okechukwu, PhD, Assistant Professor of Society, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, HSPH

Diego Pizzagalli, McLean Hospital

Charles Rosenberg, FAS, History of Science

David Williams, FAS, Dept of Sociology, and Harvard School of Public Health