Yerby Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Yusuf Ransome, MPH., DrPH., is an Alonzo Smythe Yerby Fellow in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Ransome received a Master of Public Health from the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and Doctor of Public Health from the Department of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. Ransome also received training in Health Disparities Research, and Program Evaluation.
Sexual health and HIV-related outcomes
Dr. Ransome research focuses on two broad areas. The first is social determinants of sexual health, and HIV-related outcomes, specifically late HIV diagnosis. That interdisciplinary research draws upon constructs from sociology, political science, and utilizes methodological tools from health economics and epidemiology to model clinical HIV-related outcomes. For example, in a recently published study in AIDS, Dr. Ransome documented that expanded HIV testing coverage was significantly associated with lower rates of late HIV diagnosis. In one of the first US-based studies on the topic, Dr. Ransome’s work showed that several social capital indicators were significantly associated with lower late HIV diagnosis rates.
Racial disparities in health consequences attributed to alcohol use disorders (AUD)
The second research focus is disparities in adverse health effects of alcohol exposure and alcohol consumption among individuals. Dr. Ransome investigates two features of the social epidemiology of alcohol use that appear paradoxical. The first paradox is that compared to non-Hispanic Whites, non-Hispanic Blacks have lower 12-month and lifetime risk of alcohol use disorders (AUD), despite being exposed to higher risk for AUD. Dr. Ransome’s preliminary findings indicate that religious involvement accounts for that paradox. His work continues to explore religious involvement, as well as other competing explanations. The second paradox is that despite lower AUD risk, and even at similar or lower alcohol consumption than non-Hispanic Whites, non-Hispanic Blacks experience higher health risk and adverse health outcomes related to or attributed to alcohol. The research is currently documenting the alcohol-health outcomes for there are race-differences, and investigating the role of individual socioeconomic status, psychosocial stressors, and health behavior in accounting for race-differences.
Role of alcohol exposure on health among populations
In addition to characterizing the extent of racial disparities in alcohol use disorders and health among individuals, Dr. Ransome’s studies the role of the alcohol environment broadly and relation to health of neighborhoods and individuals. Methodologically, Dr. Ransome work draws from tools in spatial epidemiology and community psychology. Through pilot funding from the Health and Society Scholars at Harvard Robert Wood Johnson Founding ‘seed grant’, Dr. Ransome is developing a neighborhood-level alcohol exposure measure that incorporates data from several distinct sources in an attempt to triangulate alcohol access with per capita consumption and self-report consumption. Once the new measure is developed and validated, it will be used to examine the association with alcohol-attributable mortality across neighborhoods. Additionally, the new alcohol exposure measure will be used to examine the association with health outcomes among individuals.