Joel Schwartz, PhD

Professor of Environmental Epidemiology
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Joel Schwartz is Professor of Environmental Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Schwartz conducts research in five main areas. The first area includes epidemiology aimed at the health consequences of exposure to pollutants, particularly lead and air pollutants including fine particulates and ozone, but also drinking water contaminants. He has also focused on the health impacts of weather extremes, including the sources of variability in the response to heat and cold. A second focus is the use of remote sensing and land use regression to estimate exposures, and the application of these exposure estimates to epidemiology. The third area includes methodological questions regarding the modeling of continuous covariates in epidemiologic studies, both for better covariate control and to more accurately assess the relationship between exposure and response. This research involves regression spline models, nonparametric smoothing, and generalized additive models. Dr. Schwartz has used mixed and hierarchical models, as well as generalized least squares and generalized estimating equation approaches. Another major focus of his work is the use of gene-environment interactions to determine the mechanisms of pollutions health effects, and the role of epigenetic changes in the relation between environmental exposures and disease. The final area is the use of benefit cost analysis to make environmental decisions. Dr. Schwartz has developed benefit methodologies for assessing the benefits of lead control, and applied those methodologies to the decision to remove lead from gasoline, and, in collaboration with colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control, to a decision to revise CDC screening recommendations for children.

Dr. Schwartz holds a PhD from Brandeis University.