Lisa Berkman

Director of the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies

Director of PHD Program in Population Health Sciences

Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and of Epidemiology

Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Department of Epidemiology

Department of Global Health and Population

*Please note Dr. Berkman will be on sabbatical from September 2020 – September 2021.

Dr. Berkman is the director of the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies (HCPDS) and the Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and of Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She is an internationally recognized social epidemiologist whose work focuses extensively on social and policy influences on health outcomes. Her research orients toward understanding inequalities in health related to socioeconomic status, different racial and ethnic groups, and social networks, support and isolation.

Dr. Berkman is the principal investigator of the Health and Aging Study in Africa: A Longitudinal Study of an INDEPTH Community in South Africa (HAALSI), a program project funded by the National Institute on Aging. HAALSI aims to study the drivers and consequences of HIV and non-communicable diseases in an aging population in Agincourt, South Africa.

She is currently a member of the Conseil Scientifique de l’Institut de Recherche en Sante Publique (IReSP) in France. She has been actively involved since 1994 on the GAZEL study, a cohort of 20,000 French employees of EDF-GDF, the large natural gas-electricity company.

In May 2017, Dr. Berkman was appointed faculty director of the PhD program in population health sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

She is author or co-author of several books and 300 publications/chapters. In 2003, she co-edited (with Ichiro Kawachi) Social Epidemiology, a groundbreaking textbook on this burgeoning field. A second edition was published in 2014 with co-authors Kawachi and Maria Glymour.

In recent years, she served as a co-PI on the Work, Family & Health Network, a study involving workplace practices and employee and family health. From 2002-2016, she served as co-site director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars program.

Prior to becoming director of the HCPDS, Dr. Berkman was chair of the Department of Society, Human Development and Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (1995 – 2008) and was former head of the division of chronic disease epidemiology at Yale University.

Current Research Projects

  • Cognitive Function, Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders in the HAALSI Cohort (Principal Investigator)
  • Health and Aging in Africa: Longitudinal Studies of INDEPTH Communities (HAALSI)
  • Working Longer: In Jeopardy (Principal Investigator)
  • Learning from Workers: Resilience in the Time of Pandemic (Principal Investigator)
  • Workplace Redesign for Worker Well-Being: Blueprint for Resilience (Principal Investigator)
  • PGDA: The Center for the Global Demography of Aging Longitudinal Aging Study in India (Co-Investigator)

Professional Affiliations

Member, Institute of Medicine (elected 2001)
Member, US Health and Retirement Study Advisory Board
Member, SHARE Advisory Board
Member, ELSA Advisory Board
Member, Macarthur Foundation Aging Society Network
Foreign Member, Academia Europaea
Member, American Epidemiological Society (elected 1991)
Former President, Association of Population Centers, Population Association of America

Courses Taught

Social Epidemiology – ID 236-01

Education

B.A. (Sociology), 1972, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
M.S. (Epidemiology), 1975, University of California, Berkeley, CA
Ph.D. (Epidemiology), 1977, University of California, Berkeley, CA