Lisa Berkman
Primary Faculty

Lisa Berkman

Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and of Epidemiology

Center for Population Studies

Other Positions

Faculty Affiliate in the Department of Global Health and Population

Global Health and Population

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Director of the Center for Population and Development Studies

Center for Population Studies

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health


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.


Association of brain arterial diameters with demographic and anatomical factors in a multi-national pooled analysis of cohort studies.

Del Brutto VJ, Khasiyev F, Liu M, Spagnolo-Allende A, Qiao Y, Melgarejo Arias JD, Guzman VA, Igwe KC, Sanchez DL, Andrews H, Morales CD, Farrell MT, Bassil DT, Seshadri S, Wagner RG, Mngomezulu V, Manly J, Elkind MS, Berkman L, Romero JR, Maestre GE, Del Brutto OH, Brickman AM, Venketasubramanian N, Chen C, Robert C, Hilal S, Rundek T, Wasserman BA, Gutierrez J.

Neuroradiol J. 2023 Dec 26. 19714009231224429. PMID: 38148489


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…