2014-2016 Scholar Cohort

Christy Erving

Christy’s research examines the social factors that produce and maintain disparities in health. Her dissertation investigates racial, ethnic, and nativity distinctions in physical-psychiatric comorbidity, or the co-occurrence of physical and mental health problems. More specifically, she addresses the extent to which socioeconomic status, stress, and social support predict racial, ethnic, and nativity patterns in comorbidity, and whether these patterns are aligned with sociological theories pertaining to racial inequality. As an RWJF H&SS scholar, Christy plans to use quantitative methods to investigate the impact of having co-occurring health conditions on 1) health care costs and spending for those who are afflicted, 2) socioeconomic outcomes, and 3) mortality. In addition, she is interested in examining these patterns across racial and ethnic groups. Her graduate research was supported by fellowships from the Ford Foundation, American Sociological Association Minority Fellowship Program, Graduate Scholars Fellowship at Indiana University, and the Department of Sociology at Indiana University. Christy completed her Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology at Indiana University-Bloomington, and received a B.A. in Sociology and Hispanic Studies from Rice University. Following the completion of the Health & Society Scholars program, Christy will hold an appointment as Assistant Professor of Sociology at University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

Daniel Hackman

Daniel A. Hackman investigates how early life social and environmental contexts become embedded in the cognitive and affective neural systems underlying the risk for psychopathology and health problems. His focus has been the relationship between early socioeconomic status (SES), as well as related family and neighborhood factors, and the development of executive function, stress reactivity, and emotion regulation. To address these questions Dr. Hackman employs a multi-method approach that integrates longitudinal measures of socioeconomic contexts, family environments, health and behavior with neuroendocrinology, neurocognitive assessment, and structural and functional neuroimaging. As a Health and Society Scholar, Dr. Hackman plans to continue and extend this work to examine the specific pathways by which such neural differences influence disease risk and thus identify potentially novel intervention targets and strategies for preventing and reducing social disparities across development. Dr. Hackman completed his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania. He also completed a predoctoral internship in clinical psychology at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinics, part of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where he was later a postdoctoral scholar. Dr. Hackman also received his Sc.B. in Neuroscience from Brown University and was a policy advocate in the nonprofit sector, focused on chronic disease prevention, prior to graduate school.

Debraj "Raj" Mukherjee

Dr. Debraj "Raj" Mukherjee received his medical degree from Dartmouth Medical School, where he was named a C. Everett Koop Scholar, Rhodes Scholar finalist, Gold Humanism in Medicine Honor Society member, and where he served as a health policy fellow under Surgeon General Richard Carmona. Following medical school, Dr. Mukherjee was recruited to Johns Hopkins where he studied epidemiology, biostatistics, and clinical design at the Bloomberg School of Public Health; at Hopkins he was named a Sommer Scholar, Albert Schweitzer Fellow, member of Delta Omega Honor Society, received awards for clinical excellence and the Resident Golden Apple Teaching Award, was a Halsted surgical intern, and served as Co-Director of the Neuro-Oncology Surgical Outcomes Laboratory in the Department of Neurosurgery, under the mentorship of Drs. Henry Brem and Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, where his work was funded by the Center for Innovative Medicine. As a neurosurgery resident at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, he has continued to lead projects focused upon decreasing disparities and increasing access to care for adult and pediatric brain and spine tumor patients with research honors including the Cedars-Sinai Physician-Scientist Award, Leo G. Rigler Award for Academic Achievement, Snythes Skull Base Research Award, Congress of Neurological Surgeons' Resident Research Award, and the American Medical Association Foundation's 2013 Leadership Award.

2013-2015 Scholar Cohort

Merlin Chowkwanyun

Merlin Chowkwanyun’s work centers on three themes: the history of public health and health policy; racial inequality; and social movements. His dissertation examined the development of post-WWII medical care and environmental health hazards in four regions (Los Angeles, Cleveland, Central Appalachia, and New York). He is working on another book about political unrest at medical schools and neighborhood health activism during the 1960s and 1970s. With Adolph Reed, he is writing a series of articles that question the dominant theoretical assumptions and frames in ‘racial’ disparities research. He has also been a member of research teams examining the startling rise of immigrant suburbanization and geographic dispersal that departs from historic norms – and what this means for social service provision (in health and otherwise). Merlin has a long-standing interest in using digital media to disseminate findings and data sources. He serves on a committee that digitized a 30+ year run of the Health/PAC Bulletin, an influential health policy publication that sought to fuse health activism with rigorous policy analysis. He is working to construct a database featuring thousands of previously unseen corporate documents that have emerged in recent environmental health lawsuits. Merlin received his Ph.D.-M.P.H. in History and Public Health at the University of Pennsylvania in 2013. He received his B.A. in History and Sociology from Columbia University. In Fall 2015, Merlin will be an Assistant Professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, and a member of its Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health.

Tova (Neugut) Walsh

Tova Walsh received her Ph.D. in Social Work and Psychology from the University of Michigan in 2013. Her research focuses on the role that expectant and new fathers play in the health and wellbeing of their partners and children, and the influence of parenthood on men’s health. Her dissertation research examined the experiences of expectant and new fathers during pregnancy and the first year post-partum. As a Health & Society Scholar, she will investigate the opportunity to improve individual and family health through appropriately timed and tailored intervention with fathers during the transition to parenthood. Tova aims to use research to develop interventions and public policy to improve the health and well-being of infants, young children, and their families. She has a specific interest in efforts to support and strengthen parent-child relationships in military families. Prior to entering graduate school, Tova worked in Jamaica and the United States with home visiting services for low-income families with children ages 0-3. Tova received her B.A. with honors in Sociology and Politics from Brandeis University. She will begin as Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison upon completion of the Health & Society Scholars program.

Jayanti Owens

Jayanti Owens joins the Health & Society Scholars program having completed a Ph.D. in Sociology and Demography at Princeton University. Broadly, her research focuses on the causes of gender, racial/ethnic, and immigrant educational and labor market inequality. Her dissertation addressed three puzzles: The growing, female-favoring gender gap in educational attainment in the United States; the evolution of the female-favoring gender gap in childhood behavioral skills across cohorts, and; the uneven career penalties that males and females receive for early behavior problems. Amidst the marked rise in the diagnosed prevalence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among children in the United States, Jayanti’s future work will investigate social and medical explanations for this rise in diagnosed prevalence across cohorts. She will also use a counterfactual framework to examine cohort and gender differences in the effects of ADHD diagnosis and treatment on later well-being and educational and labor market outcomes. Jayanti’s work has appeared in journals including Sociology of Education, Social Science Research, and Racial and Ethnic Studies. Jayanti will begin as Assistant Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at Brown University upon completion of the Health & Society Scholars program.

2012-2014 Scholar Cohort

Fenaba Addo

Fenaba Addo received her Ph.D. from the Department of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University with a specialization in family and social welfare policy and a minor in health policy and demography. Her main research areas include family and economic demography, household finance, quantitative methods, and wealth inequality. Her dissertation research focused on the role of household economic resources in family formation, relationship quality, health behaviors and outcomes. Fenaba is particularly interested in examining how financial resources impact family decision-making across the life course. Her research has appeared in Family Relations, The American Sociological Review, and Social Science Research.  Fenaba received a B.S. in Economics from Duke University in 2002. Fenaba is currently Assistant Professor of Consumer Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Julie Maslowsky

Julie Maslowsky received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Michigan. Her research to date has focused on identifying specific developmental mechanisms underlying adolescent health risk behavior, particularly substance use. For example, her dissertation examined the role of early adolescent mental health problems in the development of substance use, integrating national surveys with in-depth longitudinal data to estimate the risk for substance use associated with early adolescent mental health problems at the population level and among a subsample of adolescents at high risk for substance use due to prenatal alcohol and drug exposure. A second line of research, conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Health of Ecuador, has focused on the development of disease prevention and health promotion programs to mitigate health disparities in the Ecuadorian public health system. For her work in Ecuador, Julie received the Compassion in Action Award from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. As a Health and Society Scholar, Julie plans to examine individual and contextual determinants of adolescent health through integration of epidemiological and etiological theory and methods. She is particularly interested in how in-depth etiologic studies and broad epidemiologic studies can be combined in order to draw generalizable conclusions regarding the biological and social mechanisms that underlie health disparities evident in epidemiologic data. Julie is currently Assistant Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education at the University of Texas at Austin. Please visit Julie's website for more information about her academic research and ongoing projects.

2011-2013 Scholar Cohort

Thomas Fuller-Rowell

Thomas Fuller-Rowell received his Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the Department of Human Development at Cornell University in 2010, and his B.A. in Biochemistry and Psychology from the University of Colorado in 2003. His research focused on two main areas: (1) understanding identity development among stigmatized groups, and (2) examining the influence of social stresses relating to stigma and discrimination on health and health disparities. As a Health & Society Scholar, he expanded his knowledge of physiological systems relating to stress, gained exposure to interdisciplinary perspectives on population health, and contributed to addressing current limitations in the literature on discrimination and health. Please visit Thomas's website for more information about his academic research and ongoing projects. Tom is currently Associate Professor of Psychology at Auburn University.

Jason Houle

Jason Houle is a sociologist and demographer interested in processes of social stratification and mobility, and life course sociology. His research to date has examined a broad array of issues related to population mental health, including the effects of social mobility on psychological-well being, the link between adolescent obesity and mental health, and mixed-methods research that investigates the consequences of sexual harassment for mental health. His dissertation research was motivated by his interests in sociological understandings of social stratification and mobility and the rise in credit availability to American consumers, and young adults in particular. His dissertation examined how indebtedness in young adulthood has changed over the latter half of the 20th century, and how debt in young adulthood is implicated in the process of status attainment and social mobility. Jason's research has appeared in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, Social Science Research, and Social Science Quarterly. As a Health & Society Scholar, Jason pursued research that examined the relationship between debt and mental health over the life course. He is also interested in projects that explore the effects of the Great Recession on population mental health. Jason received a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Maine in 2005, an M.A. in Sociology and Demography from The Pennsylvania State University in 2007, and received his Ph.D. in Sociology and Demography from The Pennsylvania State University in 2011. Jason is currently Assistant Professor of Sociology at Dartmouth College.

2010-2012 Scholar Cohort

James Broesch

James Broesch completed his Ph.D. in Bio-cultural Anthropology at Emory University. His prior research focused on the mechanisms of how social beliefs and knowledge (culture) are transmitted between individuals, and the influence of culture on health and health disparities. James utilized a mixed-methods approach to studying these issues, using qualitative, quantitative, and experimental methods to systematically and rigorously evaluate the transmission and distribution of cultural beliefs and knowledge. Following his Health & Society Scholars fellowship he was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Evaluation at the University of British Columbia. There he worked with a team of researchers and policy makers on determining which Patient Reported Outcome Measurement instruments would be most effective for evaluating provincial initiatives in integrated primary and community care. He is currently Knowledge Exchange Leader in the department of Aboriginal Health Strategic Initiatives at Vancouver Coastal Health. As Knowledge Exchange Leader, he is working on building regional cultural competency, as well as monitoring and evaluating program models, policies, key initiatives, and strategies to improve cultural competency throughout the organization. Through partnerships with communities, care providers and other key stakeholders, he aims to contribute to the improvement of Aboriginal health outcomes throughout the region.

Carolyn McAndrews

Carolyn (Carey) McAndrews’ research centers on the questions: What are the characteristics of social and institutional environments that support environmentally sustainable and socially just development, and how do we know what is sustainable and just? As a Health & Society Scholar, her research focused on how health-related values and policies become part of land development decision making, and whether these ideas challenge communities’ established economic, social, and physical relationships to the automobile, streets, and neighborhoods. Her dissertation was a comparative study of how professionals from different disciplines in Sweden and California frame the issue of safety in their work on road transportation. The study found minor differences in safety thinking, but significant differences in how safety policies link to larger development agendas. In other research, she has investigated pedestrian safety in middle-size Mexican cities; the role of tacit knowledge in safety oversight; how international organizations incorporate climate change considerations into their development projects; and how neighbors of urban arterial streets use and perceive these roads. Carey completed her Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning with a Designated Emphasis in Global Metropolitan Studies from University of California, Berkeley in 2010. She has a multi-disciplinary background in economics (B.A. Brown University, 2000), urban planning (M.C.P. University of California, Berkeley, 2006), and transportation engineering (M.S. University of California, Berkeley, 2006), and worked for an economics consulting firm between her undergraduate and graduate programs. She is currently Assistant Professor of Planning and Design in the College of Architecture and Planning at the University of Colorado Denver.

Emily Walton

Emily Walton received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Washington in 2009. Her research challenges common conceptualizations of contextual effects on individual health by investigating residential experiences among diverse racial and ethnic groups. Central to her work is the idea that tests of residential segregation as a fundamental cause of health and disease need to account for growing diversity in the United States. Using both conventional and spatially derived measures of segregation she examines the health effects of living primarily among others of one’s own racial or ethnic group, with particular attention to understanding how the relationship differs among residentially segregated Asian and Latino Americans. An overarching goal is to add complexity to the way researchers theorize about race and place as our population continues to be shaped by immigration trends in the 21st century. As a Health & Society Scholar, Emily developed her geographic and spatial analysis skills in order to refine both theoretical conceptualization and empirical testing of the ways in which spatial assimilation among racial and ethnic groups with large proportions of immigrants determines the characteristics and effects of segregated neighborhoods on individual health status. She is currently Assistant Professor of Sociology at Dartmouth College.

2009-2011 Scholar Cohort

Christopher McKelvey

Christopher McKelvey is an economist whose work focuses on health and economic development. Much of his research examines the role of prices in influencing individuals' health related behaviors. For example, he has investigated the impact of the Indonesian financial crisis of the late nineties on individual's contraceptive decisions, and how prices impact the quality of food consumed by Indonesian households. Christopher is also interested in the impact of poor health on labor market outcomes. In one project, he assesses the impact of the HIV epidemic on employment, and he is a member of the Work and Iron Status Evaluation (WISE) research team, which conducted a longitudinal survey to evaluate the impact of a double-blind, randomly assigned iron supplement on health and productivity in Indonesia. While a Health & Society Scholar, he continued to study the role of the timing of adolescent growth in determining adult health outcomes, such as obesity and diabetes. Christopher completed his Ph.D. in Economics at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is currently Lecturer in the Economics Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Beth McManus

Beth McManus received her Sc.D. in Developmental Epidemiology from Harvard School of Public Health in 2009. Her dissertation explores the role of social determinants of neurodevelopmental vulnerability in children with developmental delays and disabilities. Beth is interested in the roles of social policy and population-based programming to promote the health and well-being of vulnerable populations. Beth received her Master's of Science in Physical Therapy and Master of Public Health in Maternal and Child Health from Boston University. Her clinical experience with families of children with disabilities includes Early Intervention, hospital, and newborn intensive care unit settings. As a Health & Society Scholar, Beth investigated family and neighborhood effects on the health and well-being of children born very low birth weight. She examined population-based programming for children with disabilities from an economic perspective. She also investigated the role of family and community attributes on child well-being and caregiver burden among families of children with disabilities. Beth is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Systems, Management and Policy in the Colorado School of Public Health, which is associated with the University of Colorado, Colorado State University, and the University of Northern Colorado.

Vivian Santiago

Vivian Santiago received a doctoral degree in Epidemiology in 2009 from the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, where she trained as a Psychiatric Epidemiology Predoctoral Fellow. Her dissertation research examines the construct of disorder in mental health research, using Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as a case study. The aims of her dissertation were to apply the harmful-dysfunction framework of disorder to ADHD conceptually and empirically via a lifecourse approach that contextualizes symptom expression over time. When transitioning to her Health & Society Scholars research, she collaborated on research projects evaluating systems of care for youth with serious emotional disturbance in public schools and foster care in NY State. Her previous work toward the MPH degree at Columbia focused on examining the concept of adaptive behavior as developed in the field of intellectual disabilities. She examined the relationship between SES and adaptive behavior in a sample of young urban children without significant intellectual impairments. During her time as a Health & Society Scholar, she developed new research on the measurement of pain over time, and ethical issues related to pain measurement and treatment. The overall goal of her research was to identify ways to improve upon the outcomes studied in population health research in order to optimize efforts to advance population health. Vivian is currently Project Evaluator for Bronx Teens Connections in the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene.

2008-2010 Scholar Cohort

Katherine Dickinson

Katherine Dickinson received her Ph.D. in Environmental Economics and Policy from Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment in 2008. Katie's dissertation developed a model of households' environmental health decisions that emphasized households' private costs and benefits as well as the public good aspects of these behaviors. Since some of the "payoffs" to an individual household will depend on the choices of neighbors or peers, Katie's empirical studies focused on the role of social interactions in influencing households' behaviors in the case of a sanitation intervention in Orissa, India, and malaria control choices in Tanzania. As a Health & Society Scholar, she engaged in a multidisciplinary project mapping vulnerability to emerging infectious diseases in developing countries, with a focus on the socioeconomic determinants of vulnerability. She also explored similar linkages and behavioral issues among vulnerable populations in the United States, including a study on childhood obesity and the built environment among Wisconsin Native American communities. Katie received Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Earth Systems from Stanford University. She is currently working as a postgraduate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

Lindsey Leininger

Lindsey Leininger is a health policy researcher whose work focuses on public policy regarding the uninsured. Her dissertation examined the impact of recent public insurance expansions on the insurance coverage of older adolescents. She has also written on the effects of partial-year insurance coverage on children's access to health care as well as the association between family structure, insurance coverage, and access to care. As a Health & Society Scholar, she collaborated with UW-Madison researchers and state government officials to evaluate the impacts of recent reforms to Wisconsin's Medicaid program. Lindsey received a Ph.D. in Public Policy Studies from the University of Chicago, an M.A. in Economics from Northeastern University, and an A.B. in Economics from Princeton University. She is currently Assistant Professor of Health Policy & Administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Carmen Gómez Mandic

Carmen Gómez Mandic received her Sc.D. from the Harvard School of Public Health, Department of Society, Human Development and Health in 2008. Her doctoral research focused on socioeconomic disparities in social participation and functioning among children and youth with disabilities, as well as literacy-related barriers to parental involvement in the special education setting. Some of her prior work also focused on friendship development among children with developmental disabilities, and participation in supported employment among young adults with developmental disabilities. Prior to her doctoral studies, Carmen received her M.P.H. in Health Promotion from San Diego State University, and her B.A. in Integrative Biology from the University of California, Berkeley. During her time as a Health & Society Scholar, Carmen focused on understanding pathways to resilience and vulnerability among parents of adults with developmental disability or mental illness. She collaborated with researchers at UW-Madison's Waisman Center, Lifespan Family Research Program. Carmen is currently the Associate Director of Research & Evaluation at the Marian Wright Edelman Institute, San Francisco State University.

2007-2009 Scholar Cohort

Tiffany Green

Tiffany Green is a health economist who completed her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2007. Her dissertation research focused on whether ethnic disparities in asthma diagnosis and morbidity can be attributed to differences in medical care utilization and/or to other maternal health behaviors such as smoking and breastfeeding. As a Health & Society Scholar, Tiffany studied the temporal relationships between pediatric asthma and obesity, with a particular focus on the implications of pediatric asthma on weight gain in children. Her research also focused on the differences in premature death among blacks, mixed-race blacks and whites during the post-Reconstruction Era. Tiffany received her B.A. in Economics from Florida A&M University. Tiffany is currently Assistant Professor of Healthcare Policy and Research at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Sheryl Magzamen

Sheryl Magzamen received her Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University of California, Berkeley in 2007. Her dissertation explored factors related to the disproportionate burden of childhood asthma in urban communities. She combined a geographic information systems approach with causal inference models to investigate the independent contributions of environmental exposures and sociodemographic factors to asthma-related morbidity among adolescents. Her goals were to further refine understanding of community-level factors related to asthma, and to provide relevant epidemiologic research for the development of effective health policy. As a Health & Society Scholar, Sheryl focused on incorporating economic constructs of time preference and risk preference into community-based epidemiologic studies to develop interdisciplinary models of household-level asthma management practices. In addition, she utilized GIS to investigate the relation between spatial-temporal patterns in viral infections and childhood asthma incidence and asthma-related exacerbations. Previous to her doctoral work, Sheryl was a postgraduate researcher at the Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco. Her research focused on state-level tobacco control policy, specifically, the development of clean-indoor air legislation, and the health impact of tobacco excise taxes. Sheryl completed her M.P.H. in Health Policy at Emory University, and a holds a B.S. in Biology from Cornell University. Sheryl is currently Assistant Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University.

Sejal Patel

Why certain research practices are embraced over others in a given historical moment is the central question that guides Sejal Patel's work in the history of medicine and science. She is currently preparing for publication a book titled The Fat and Happy Town that explores the popularity of the risk factor or individual-level explanations of disease causation and the marginalization of population-level and community-level approaches. Her research considered the administrative and managerial infrastructure of the National Institutes of Health and how its culture of public administration and public accountability influenced the rise of a research style characterized by rule-bounded procedures, a reliance on statistics and probability theory, and an orientation toward experimentation. Sejal explored the emergence of the decision sciences, policy analysis, and econometrics and their role in shaping health knowledge over the course of the past four decades. Sejal received her Ph.D. in the History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania in 2007. Sejal now works as a Senior Health Policy Analyst at MITRE Corporation.

2006-2008 Scholar Cohort

Haslyn Hunte

Haslyn E. R. Hunte's main area of research is social determinants of health, focusing on the causes and solutions of racial/ethnic disparities in health. Using three unique large socioepidemiological surveys, Haslyn's research activities included (a) studying the impact of perceived racial/ethnic discrimination as a psychosocial stressor on the observed racial/ethnic disparities in high blood pressure/hypertension and on maladaptive coping health behaviors such as smoking, drinking and substance use/abuse and (b) the impact that Black Caribbeans in the U.S. may have on the observed Black-White disparities in various health outcomes. His dissertation examined the impact of perceived interpersonal racial/ethnic discrimination on smoking, drinking, body mass and blood pressure/hypertension status. As a Health & Society Scholar, Haslyn’s research focused on the physiological process of perceived interpersonal experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination in relation to other perceived stressors. He also investigated viable interdisciplinary solutions to racial/ethnic disparities in high blood pressure/hypertension and other health outcomes. Haslyn received his Ph.D. in Health Services Organization and Policy from the University of Michigan in 2006, and he holds Masters degrees in Community and Behavioral Health Sciences and Economic and Social Development from the University of Pittsburgh. Haslyn is currently Assistant Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences in the West Virginia University School of Public Health.

Jeffrey Niederdeppe

Jeff Niederdeppe received his doctorate from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania in 2006. He received a B.A. in Communication from the University of Arizona in May 1999 and an M.A. in Communication from the University of Pennsylvania in May 2001. Jeff spent two years at RTI International, a not-for-profit research firm, before returning to Penn to complete his Ph.D. His research explores the effects of mass media campaigns and health news coverage on health behavior and policy. Much of his published work has focused on the effectiveness of large-scale anti-tobacco campaigns and anti-drug media campaigns. Specifically, he has tested how various combinations of audio-visual features can enhance anti-tobacco message effectiveness, explored cognitive pathways between anti-tobacco campaign exposure and behavior change, and examined the role of news coverage in shaping tobacco control policy. His dissertation examined how existing health knowledge, social integration, and media use patterns moderate cancer-related news coverage effects on health behaviors. As a Health & Society Scholar, Jeff combined insights from social epidemiology and health communication to study how social capital and community structural characteristics enhance, impede, and/or interact with health media messages to explain growing health disparities in the US. His research program included the use of this knowledge to develop media campaign and media advocacy strategies aimed at changing structural and social determinants of health through policy change. Jeff is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at Cornell University.

David Van Sickle

David Van Sickle received his Ph.D. in Medical Anthropology from the University of Arizona in 2004. His dissertation research, funded by the National Science Foundation, examined the rising prevalence of asthma and allergy in India, a topic he previously studied among Native Americans in Alaska, Arizona and New Mexico. Before joining the Health & Society Scholars program, David was an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, where he was assigned to the Air Pollution and Respiratory Health Branch. During this time, he provided epidemiological support to the National Asthma Control Program, and investigated the health effects of a variety of environmental exposures -- from mold in New Orleans, to chlorine gas in South Carolina, to carbon monoxide in Florida, and to ambient ozone among student athletes in Georgia. In addition, he helped establish emergency illness and injury surveillance in coastal Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. As a Health & Society Scholar, David carried out research to better understand how pediatricians perceive common asthma symptoms. He also became interested in the potential of medical devices to improve population health. He was awarded a 3rd year in the Health & Society Scholars program (2008-2009) to evaluate a device he developed to improve the recognition of uncontrolled asthma and the timeliness and geographic specificity of public health surveillance. One of David’s major goals has been to move technology into the hands of individuals and researchers to improve the tracking and treatment of diseases such as asthma. David is founder and principal of Propeller Health which develops devices and services to provide real-time data and analytics for public health and clinical research groups. He is also co-founder and principal of Left Hand Labs LLC, which designs and develops low-cost tools for chronic respiratory disease. Please visit David's website for more information about his academic research and ongoing projects (

2005-2007 Scholar Cohort

Rachel Tolbert Kimbro

Rachel Tolbert Kimbro received her Ph.D. in Sociology in 2005 from Princeton University, with a focus in Demography. She received her B.A. in Sociology and Policy Studies from Rice University and her M.A. in Sociology from Princeton. Rachel's research focuses on racial and ethnic health disparities and family influences on health behaviors and outcomes. Her dissertation examined the determinants of intergenerational differences in health behaviors for Mexican-Americans. Other projects examined the relationship between maternal employment and breastfeeding initiation and duration, racial and ethnic differences in obesity prevalence among preschoolers, racial and ethnic differences in socioeconomic gradients for health outcomes and behaviors, and the influence of multiracial contact early in life on adult social networks. As a Health & Society Scholar, Rachel worked on projects examining how risk propensity in adolescence predicts prenatal risk behaviors, and how family structure and relationship quality influences prenatal health behaviors. She is currently Associate Professor of Sociology at Rice University.

Elizabeth Rigby

Elizabeth Rigby received her Ph.D. in Politics and Education from Columbia University in 2005. Her dissertation examined the politics of early care and education policymaking in the American states in order to better understand how political contexts may shape other contextual factors influencing young children's healthy growth and development. As a Health & Society Scholar, Elizabeth continued her work on the politics of social policymaking in the United States expanding her current focus to include health policymaking as well as education, welfare, and taxation policy. By bridging these policy areas, this research allowed for a fuller conceptualization of the package of policies that affect disparities in outcomes among children and families. Elizabeth holds a B.A. in Political Science from Emory University and an M.A. in Education from Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to her doctoral study, she coordinated a state-wide lobbying campaign, worked for a voter information service, and spent three years teaching in St. Louis Public Schools. In addition, she held a research fellowship at the National Center for Children and Families where she worked on national research projects (e.g., Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study, Head Start Quality Research Centers) and consulted with state governments regarding their early childhood policies. Together these experiences convinced her of the importance of structural and institutional influences on both individual outcomes and the inequalities we see among population sub-groups. This conviction motivates her research on the causes and consequences of public policy in our society. Elizabeth is currently Assistant Professor in the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at George Washington University.

Marilyn Sinkewicz

Marilyn Sinkewicz studies gender-specific disparities in health conditions and health seeking behaviors as they relate to men. Her particular focus is on understanding the social determinants and consequences of the physical and mental health status of men, and within this category, race-ethnic and socioeconomic disparities. Marilyn holds an M.S.W. from Columbia University and received her Ph.D. in Social Policy from the Columbia University School of Social Work in 2006. Marilyn's dissertation concerned the mental health of men. This study constructed a profile of the mental health status of urban American fathers. It also investigated the predictive value of social causation and social selection theories with respect to the inverse association between socioeconomic status and psychopathology. Marilyn's broader research interests include comparative cross national social welfare expenditures, including health expenditures and other dimensions of the social safety net. She is also interested in research methodologies pertaining to missing data. She is currently working with several community-based research initiatives in the U.S. and in sub Saharan Africa. Previously Marilyn was a partner in an information technology consulting firm. She held a research fellow position at Columbia University before her current position. Marilyn is currently Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Michigan. In 2013-2014 she is taking government leave from the University of Michigan in order to serve as Director of Research and Evaluation for the Bureau of Children, Youth & Families in the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

2004-2006 Scholar Cohort

Richard Carpiano

Richard Carpiano completed his Ph.D. in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University in 2004. He received his B.A. and M.A. in Sociology from Baylor University and M.P.H. in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention from Case Western Reserve University. Richard's interests center on individual and community socioeconomic determinants of physical and mental health. Among his Health & Society Scholar projects were a qualitative study of social capital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, neighborhoods that investigated the ways in which neighborhood resources foster, maintain, and even constrain residents' quality of life and health. Richard and several University of Wisconsin faculty were awarded a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to evaluate the population health impact of American Indian tribal casinos throughout the US. Additionally, he collaborated with UW researchers and local community stakeholders in developing a study that involved youth in using geographic information systems, photography, and written narratives for mapping health and safety issues in south Madison neighborhoods. Richard's other projects focused on the importance of theory development in population health research, the influences of neighborhood social ties and resources on individual health using multilevel statistical modeling, the relationship between social prestige and mortality, measures of neighborhood social and physical conditions for health research, and public conceptions of mental illness and their implications for mental health treatment-seeking. He is currently Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of British Columbia.

Elliot Friedman

Elliot Friedman received his Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, completed postdoctoral work in Psychoneuroimmunology at the University of California, San Diego, and was a member of the Psychology faculty at Williams College. Elliot is interested in the biological mechanisms underlying the impact of psychological experience on vulnerability to illness. As a Health & Society Scholar, Elliot focused his research on interactions between psychological and contextual variables and their collective impact on biological markers of health and illness, particularly inflammatory proteins, in human populations. He has presented his work at conferences for various scientific organizations, including the American Psychosomatic Society, the Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society, and the Gerontological Society of America. He has also published the results of this work in the journals Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Health Psychology, and Neurobiology of Aging. In August 2007, the National Institute on Aging granted Elliot a K01 Mentored Scientist Award, providing 5 years of support for research on demographic, socioeconomic, and psychological predictors of disease-related biomarkers in a national sample of middle-aged and older Americans. Elliot is currently an Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies in the newly established College of Health and Human Sciences at Purdue University.

Margaret Weden

Maggie Weden completed her Ph.D. in Population Dynamics and her Masters in Biostatistics from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2004. As a Health & Society Scholar, she explored methodological and theoretical issues related to social disparities in health. Her research considered how contextual factors (such as work, family, and neighborhood environments) contribute to health disparities by gender, race, and ethnicity. This research evaluated the role of environmental resources and stressors in shaping behavioral determinants of poor health, such as tobacco use, overweight, and obesity. Maggie's prior research addressed US racial and ethnic differences in adolescent risk behavior, trends in family formation patterns in less developed countries, and multi-state life course modeling. Currently Maggie is Social Scientist at RAND Corporation's Santa Monica, California, office. She works as a demographer at the Center for the Study of Aging, housed within RAND's Labor and Population Program.

2003-2005 Scholar Cohort

Dorothy Daley

Dorothy Daley received her Ph.D. in Ecology with an emphasis in Environmental Policy Analysis from the University of California, Davis in 2001. Her research to date examines the ecological, political and socio-economic determinants of hazardous waste policy and urban redevelopment in the United States. Dorothy's work also evaluates the impact of environmental policy implementation with a specific focus on distributional or equity considerations. As a Health & Society Scholar, her research focused on intergovernmental collaboration, in particular examining the conditions under which local public health departments and state and federal environmental agencies effectively collaborate to achieve common policy goals. Dorothy is currently Associate Professor at the University of Kansas with a joint appointment in Political Science and Environmental Studies.

Michelle Frisco

Michelle Frisco received her Ph.D. in Sociology from The University of Texas at Austin in 2001. Her research focuses on relationships between family life, education, and health and well-being during adolescence and the transition to adulthood. As a Health & Society Scholar she investigated how family transitions, experienced in conjunction with residential and school mobility, influence adolescent risk-taking, mental health and academic achievement. She worked on this project with colleagues at The University of Texas at Austin. Michelle also investigated the causes and consequences of overweight and obesity during adolescence and the transition to adulthood. She worked on this project with Molly Martin, a Health & Society Scholar at Columbia University, and Gary Sandefur, Professor of Sociology and Dean of the College of Letters & Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. They received a three-year R01 grant from the National Institution of Child Health and Human Development, which began in September 2005, to pursue this research agenda. Michelle is currently Associate Professor of Sociology and Demography at Pennsylvania State University.

Catlainn Kristina Sionéan

Catlainn Kristina Sionéan came to the Health & Society Scholars program from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where, as a behavioral scientist in the National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention, she conducted applied research on the design, implementation and evaluation of behavioral interventions. Kristina received her Ph.D. in Medical Sociology in 1999 from the University of Kentucky, where she completed interdisciplinary training and mentored research as an NIMH pre-doctoral fellow in the Department of Behavioral Science, UK College of Medicine. After graduation she held a postdoctoral fellowship in Public Health at Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University. Her research as a Health & Society Scholar involved the interaction of neighborhood conditions with individual characteristics associated with health-related behaviors and outcomes. Kristina is currently Behavioral Scientist in the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.