Inaugural Forum on Population Health Equity Speakers

Ichiro KawachiIchiro Kawachi, MB.Ch.B., Ph.D., is John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Professor of Social Epidemiology, and Chair of the Social & Behavioral Sciences Department at the Harvard School of Public Health.  Kawachi received both his medical degree and Ph.D. (in epidemiology) from the University of Otago, New Zealand.  He has taught at the Harvard School of Public Health since 1992. He is the co-editor (with Lisa Berkman and Maria Glymour) of Social Epidemiology, published by Oxford University Press (new & revised edition 2014). He has edited a number of other books including Neighborhoods and Health (Oxford University Press, 2003); Globalization and Health (Oxford University Press, 2006); Social Capital and Health (Springer, 2008); the Oxford Handbook of Public Health Practice (Oxford University Press, 2013), and Behavioral Economics and Public Health (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).  His current NIH-funded research is focused on the longitudinal impacts of community social cohesion/social capital on functional recovery after the March 11, 2011 Great Eastern Japan earthquake and tsunami. In 2013, he launched a massive, open online course (MOOC) through HarvardX called “Health and Society” (PHx 201), in which 38,000 participants registered from throughout the world. Kawachi serves on the Editorial Board of American Journal of Epidemiology. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the US National Academy of Sciences.

David StucklerDr. David Stuckler, PhD, MPH, HonMFPH, FRSA, is a Professor of Political Economy and Sociology at University of Oxford and research fellow of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Chatham House. He has written over 140 peer-reviewed scientific articles on global health in The Lancet, British Medical Journal and Nature, in addition to other major journals. His book about the global chronic-disease epidemic, Sick Societies, was published by Oxford University Press in 2011. He is also an author of The Body Economic, published by Penguin Press in 2013 and translated into over ten languages. His work has featured on covers of the New York Times and The Economist, among other venues. Foreign Policy named him one of the top 100 global thinkers of 2013.

Billie Giles-Corti Professor Billie Giles-Corti is Director of the McCaughey VicHealth Community Wellbeing Unit, Centre for Health Equity, University of Melbourne.  She is an NHMRC Principal Research Fellow, an Honorary Fellow of both the Planning Institute of Australia (2012) and the Public Health Association (2008) and a Fulbright Scholar (2008).  For two decades, Professor Giles-Corti and a multi-disciplinary team of researchers and postgraduate research students have been studying the impact of the built environment on health and wellbeing outcomes.  A feature of her research is its focus on being policy-relevant, with input from policy-makers, advocates and lobbyists.  She has published over 200 articles and reports, and in 2014, became a Thomson Reuter Highly Cited Researcher, ranking her among the top 1% of researchers globally by citations in the social sciences field.

David Mah Dr. David Mah has been a lecturer at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design since 2010. Previous to Harvard, he has taught at Cornell University’s departments of Architecture as well as City and Regional Planning.  David has also taught design studio within the postgraduate design, Landscape Urbanism program at the Architectural Association in London. David has worked within a number of international design practices including FOA and Zaha Hadid Architects where he was engaged in the design and delivery of a number of large landscape and masterplanning as well as architectural projects in the United Kingdom, Singapore and Spain. David has been collaborating with Leire Asensio Villoria as asensio_mah since 2002.

Sir Michael G. Marmot Professor Sir Michael G. Marmot MBBS, MPH, PhD, FRCP, FFPHM, FMedSci, FBA, Director, UCL Institute of Health Equity (Marmot Institute), has led research groups on health inequalities for over 35 years.  He was Chair of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH), which was set up by the World Health Organization in 2005, and produced the report entitled: ‘Closing the Gap in a Generation’ in August 2008.  At the request of the British Government, he conducted a Strategic Review of Health Inequalities in England post 2010, which published its report ‘Fair Society, Healthy Lives’ in February 2010. This was followed by the European Review of Social Determinants of Health and the Health Divide, for WHO Euro.  He chaired the Breast Screening Review for the NHS National Cancer Action Team and was a member of The Lancet-University of Oslo Commission on Global Governance for Health.  He is a Principal Investigator of the Whitehall II Studies of British Civil Servants, investigating explanations for the striking inverse social gradient in morbidity and mortality. He leads the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) and is engaged in several international research efforts on the social determinants of health.  He served as President of the British Medical Association (BMA) in 2010-2011, and is the new President of the British Lung Foundation.  He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, an Honorary Fellow of the British Academy, and an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health of the Royal College of Physicians.  He was a member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution for six years and in 2000 he was knighted by Her Majesty The Queen, for services to epidemiology and the understanding of health inequalities.  Internationally acclaimed, Professor Marmot is a Foreign Associate Member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), and a former Vice President of the Academia Europaea.  He won the Balzan Prize for Epidemiology in 2004, gave the Harveian Oration in 2006, and won the William B. Graham Prize for Health Services Research in 2008.  Professor Marmot has been awarded a Harvard Lowns Professorship for 2014-2017. He is President-Elect of the World Medical Association and will take up the role of President of the WMA in 2015.  He has been awarded honorary doctorates from 14 universities.

Nancy AdlerNancy E. Adler, Ph.D., is the Lisa and John Pritzker Professor of Psychology in the Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, where she is Vice-Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Director of the Center for Health and Community. Adler received a BA from Wellesley College and a Ph.D. in Psychology from Harvard University.  Her earlier research examined the utility of decision models for understanding health behaviors with particular focus on reproductive health. As director of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on SES and Health, she coordinated research spanning social, psychological and biological mechanisms by which SES influences health.   She currently investigates the role of subjective social status and interventions to address the social determinants of health.  Adler is heading a new initiative, “Evidence for Action” for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to support research on factors determining population health and well-being.  She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Society (APS) and the American Psychological Association (APA), and a member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Institute of Medicine (IOM).  She has chaired several IOM committees, including the recent Capturing Social and Behavioral Domains and Measures in Electronic Health Records, and was awarded the David Rall medal.  Adler has served on the Advisory Committee to the Director of NIH, the Report Review Committee of the National Academies of Science and the IOM Council.

Arjumand Siddiqi Arjumand Siddiqi is Associate Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto.  She also holds appointments in: the Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, the Hospital For Sick Children, Toronto, Canada and, the Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Dr. Siddiqi is interested in the societal conditions that produce and resolve inequities in population health and human development across the lifespan.  Her research focuses primarily on: the roles of income inequality and social policies, the methods and metrics that enable scientific inquiry on health inequities and, mechanisms related to public and political uptake of the evidence. Dr. Siddiqi is an alumnus of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research Global Academy and former Associate Member of its Program on Successful Societies. She was also a member of the World Health Organization’s Commission on Social Determinants of Health Knowledge Hub on Early Child Development, and has consulted to several international agencies including the World Bank and UNICEF. Dr. Siddiqi received her doctorate in Social Epidemiology from The Harvard School of Public Health.

David R. Williams David R. Williams is the Florence and Laura Norman Professor of Public Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Professor of African and African American Studies and of Sociology at Harvard University. His prior academic appointments were at Yale University and the University of Michigan. He is an internationally recognized authority on social influences on health. The author of more than 375 scientific papers, his research has enhanced our understanding of the complex ways in which socioeconomic status, race, stress, racism, health behavior and religious involvement can affect health. The Everyday Discrimination Scale that he developed is one of the most widely used measures of discrimination in health studies. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was ranked as one of the top 10 Most Cited Social Scientists in the world in 2005, as the Most Cited Black Scholar in the Social Sciences in 2008 and as one of the World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds in 2014. Dr. Williams has served on the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics and on eight committees for the Institute of Medicine. He was also the staff director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America and a scientific advisor to the award-winning PBS film series, Unnatural Causes: Is inequality Making Us Sick?  He holds an MPH from Loma Linda University and a PhD in Sociology from the University of Michigan.

Jussi VahteraDr. Jussi Vahtera, M.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Public Health, and head of the Department of Public Health at the University of Turku, Finland.  Vahtera received both his medical degree and Ph.D. (in occupational health) from the University of Turku. He has an extensive publication record with many papers in high-impact journals. He is the PI of the ongoing Finnish Public Sector study, one of the largest occupational cohorts worldwide with repeat measurements of a comprehensive set of psychosocial, medical and behavioral variables linked to residential neighborhoods and national health registers. His current research interests range from adherence to cardiopreventive medication and trajectories of health from midlife to old age, to the influence of geographical neighbourhoods on health from the life-course perspective. Vahtera is an Associate Editor of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, BMJ Publishing Group.

Philippa Howden-Chapman Philippa Howden-Chapman is a professor of public health at the University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand, where she teaches public policy. She is director of He Kainga Oranga/ Housing and Health Research Programme and the New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities. She has conducted a number of randomised community housing trials in partnership with local communities, which have had a major influence on housing, health and energy policy. She has a strong interest in reducing inequalities in the determinants of health and has published widely in this area, receiving a number of awards for her work. In 2014, Howden-Chapman and her research team were awarded the Prime Minister’s Science Prize. She was the first woman and the first social scientist to win the prize. She is currently the chair of the WHO Housing and Health Guideline Development Group and was a member of the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Peter Muennig Peter Muennig is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University, studies the ways in which such social policies can be optimized to maximize population well-being. He does so using randomized policy experiments coupled with cost-effectiveness analyses. He is currently directing a center at Columbia University, GRAPH, which seeks to provide local and global policymakers with the most efficient policy mix necessary to reduce the global burden of disease. He is currently working with Microsoft to explore how randomizing users’ advertising experiences might alter their health behavior. He has worked with government agencies on immigration policy (in Canada and the US), health insurance reform (in China), and the design of a healthy city (in China). He has published over 90 peer-reviewed articles in the scientific literature, and has written 4 books. His work has appeared on NPR, CNN, MSNBC and multiple times in major print media sources, such as the New York Times (7 articles), the Wall Street Journal, and a 3 part series in Slate. In all, at least 30 domestic and international news sources have covered his work.

Sanjay BasuSanjay Basu, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Stanford University. He is a primary care physician and an epidemiologist with a focus on conducting operations research to improve programs designed to reduce cardiovascular disease risk among low-income populations. Dr. Basu received his undergraduate education at MIT, and a master’s degree in medical anthropology through a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford before completing his MD and PhD in epidemiology at Yale. He completed his medical training through the internal medicine residency program at the University of California in San Francisco, then joined Stanford’s Prevention Research Center in September 2012. Dr. Basu’s research is focused on improving public health interventions that address cardiovascular disease risk, such as community-based nutrition programs and screening programs for undiagnosed diabetes. His research includes randomized trials of interventions in community-based settings, and the development of epidemiological models that integrate such trial data with health system data to improve the targeting and delivery of programs. His work also involves the development of novel methods to address causal inference problems when evaluating social programs that offer few opportunities for randomization and significant risks of selection bias. He previously worked at Partners in Health and Oxfam GB, then co-founded the organization Possible Health (formerly Nyaya Health). He currently serves on expert advisory panels for the United Nations, World Health Organization, World Heart Federation, the American Heart Association, and the Global Burden of Disease Project, among other roles. He was selected as one of the “Top 100 Global Thinkers” by Foreign Policy magazine in 2013 for his co-authorship of the book The Body Economic with David Stuckler of Oxford University. He has also received both the Weingarten Award in Medicine (2012) and the Rosenkranz Prize in Healthcare Research (2013).

Sandro GaleaSandro Galea, MD, MPH, DrPH, is a physician and an epidemiologist.   He is Dean and Professor at the Boston University School of Public Health.  Prior to his appointment at Boston University, Dr Galea served as the Anna Cheskis Gelman and Murray Charles Gelman Professor and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health where he launched several new educational initiatives and substantially increased its focus on six core areas: chronic, infectious, injury, lifecourse, psychiatric/neurological, and social epidemiology.  He previously held academic and leadership positions at the University of Michigan and at the New York Academy of Medicine. In his own scholarship, Dr Galea is centrally interested in the social production of health of urban populations, with a focus on the causes of brain disorders, particularly common mood-anxiety disorders and substance abuse.  He has long had a particular interest in the consequences of mass trauma and conflict worldwide, including as a result of the September 11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina, conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa, and the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This work has been principally funded by the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and several foundations. He has published over 500 scientific journal articles, 50 chapters and commentaries, and 9 books and his research has been featured extensively in current periodicals and newspapers. His latest book, co-authored with Dr Katherine Keyes, is an epidemiology textbook, Epidemiology Matters: a new introduction to methodological foundations. Dr Galea has a medical degree from the University of Toronto, and graduate degrees from Harvard University and Columbia University.  He was named one of TIME magazine’s epidemiology innovators in 2006. He is past-president of the Society for Epidemiologic Research and an elected member of the American Epidemiological Society and of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science. Dr Galea serves frequently on advisory groups to national and international organizations. He has formerly served as chair of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Community Services Board and as member of its Health Board.