David Williams

David R. Williams, PhD, MPH

Dr. David R. Williams is the Norman Professor of Public Health and Chair, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health. He is also a Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. His prior academic appointments were at Yale University (6 years) and the University of Michigan (14 years). He holds an MPH from Loma Linda University and a PhD in sociology from the University of Michigan.

He is an internationally recognized authority on social influences on health. He has been invited to keynote scientific conferences in Europe, Africa, Australia, the Middle East, South America, the Caribbean and across the U.S. The author of more than 500 scientific papers, his research has enhanced our understanding of the ways in which race, socioeconomic status, stress, racism, health behavior and religious involvement can affect health. The Everyday Discrimination Scale that he developed is the most widely used measure of discrimination in health studies.

He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. He has also been ranked as the Most Cited Black Scholar in the Social Sciences, worldwide, and as one of the World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds.

He has received distinguished contribution awards from the American Sociological Association, the American Psychological Association, the New York Academy of Medicine, the Association of University Programs in Health Administration, and the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Williams has been involved in the development of health policy at the national level. He has served on 10 committees for the National Academy of Medicine, including the committee that prepared the Unequal Treatment Report. He was also a key scientific advisor to the award-winning PBS film series, Unnatural Causes: Is inequality Making Us Sick?  Currently, he serves on the Board of Trustees of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and on the Kellogg Foundation’s Solidarity Council on Racial Equity. He has been featured by some of the nation’s top print and television news organizations and in his TED Talk.