Other Positions

Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and of Epidemiology

Center for Population Studies

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Director of the Center for Population and Development Studies

Faculty Affairs

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health


Overview

*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.


Bibliography

Association Between Depressive Symptoms and Incident Cardiovascular Diseases.

Harshfield EL, Pennells L, Schwartz JE, Willeit P, Kaptoge S, Bell S, Shaffer JA, Bolton T, Spackman S, Wassertheil-Smoller S, Kee F, Amouyel P, Shea SJ, Kuller LH, Kauhanen J, van Zutphen EM, Blazer DG, Krumholz H, Nietert PJ, Kromhout D, Laughlin G, Berkman L, Wallace RB, Simons LA, Dennison EM, Barr ELM, Meyer HE, Wood AM, Danesh J, Di Angelantonio E, Davidson KW.

JAMA. 2020 12 15. 324(23):2396-2405. PMID: 33320224


News

An active social life may help you live longer

People with strong social connections may live longer and healthier lives, according to numerous studies. For example, research about an unusually long-living population on the island of Sardinia, Italy has showed that strong ties to family and friends,…

Cohousing can benefit both older adults, young families

Intergenerational cohousing in which residents share meals and chores not only can benefit older adults but also aid young families who may need help from their neighbors when juggling work and family, said Lisa Berkman, Thomas D. Cabot…

Longevity gap between rich and poor expanding

Despite medical, technological, and educational advances in the U.S. over the last 50 years, the longevity gap between the rich and poor continues to grow, said Lisa Berkman in an interview on PBS NewsHour Weekend. Berkman, Thomas D.…

The challenges facing aging societies

As both birth rates and death rates drop in most countries around the world, societies are facing new challenges in dealing with their aging populations. Lisa Berkman, Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and of Epidemiology and…