Connecting Population Health Scientists

Building Bridges to Improve Population Health

September 29, 2015

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Support for this conference was provided by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.



Dawn Alley is Acting Deputy Director of the Preventive and Population Health Care Models Group at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. Prior to joining CMMI, Dr. Alley served as Senior Advisor in the Office of the Surgeon General, where she oversaw implementation of the National Prevention Strategy. She has extensive expertise in population health and aging, with more than 40 publications in journals including JAMA, Archives of Internal Medicine, and American Journal of Epidemiology. Dr. Alley holds a Ph.D. in Gerontology from the University of Southern California and received post-doctoral training in population health through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholars program at the University of Pennsylvania.

Michael Bader is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at American University. He studies how cities and neighborhoods have evolved since the height of the Civil Rights Movement. He links long-term patterns of neighborhood racial change to the ways that race and class influence the housing search process. He has developed methodological tools that combine survey data with “big data” to study neighborhood environments. He is a faculty fellow of the Metropolitan Policy Center, an affiliate of the Center on Health, Risk, and Society, and an affiliate assistant professor Department of Public Administration and Policy. Before joining the faculty of American University, Dr. Bader was a Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania where he was also a senior fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics. He received his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Michigan and his B.A. in architecture and art history from Rice University.

Richard Carpiano is Professor of Sociology at the University of British Columbia, Faculty Affiliate of the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at UBC, Faculty Associate of the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP), Associate Member of the UBC School of Population and Public Health, and an Affiliate Investigator at the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute. He is a medical sociologist with related training and interests in public and population health, community sociology and research methods (including measurement and research design). Primary interests center on how social conditions contribute to the physical and mental health of adults, children, and the communities in which they live. He has related interests in social capital, social networks, theory-building in population health, social constructions of illness and risk, the measurement of community social environments, research design and methods, and the application of mixed methods to health research.

Carpiano pursues these interests through a research program of solo and collaborative projects focused on an extensive range of health outcomes and populations, spanning the lifecourse and domestic and international contexts (primarily Canada and the US, but other international locations as well). Some examples from past and current projects include early child development, child undernutrition in India, childhood asthma, adolescent HPV vaccination, smoking and alcohol use among adults, BMI among adult Danish women, substance use and sexual risk among urban gay men, suicide ideation among Canadian immigrants, fruit and vegetable intake among older adults, and life expectancy/mortality risk among high status individuals (Emmy-nominated actors, Major League Baseball Hall of Fame-nominated players, and US Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates). Most recently, he has developed a related arm of my research program that includes several studies investigating social and behavioral factors underlying child vaccination uptake and coverage (and refusal or delay) in the US and Canada.

Virginia W. Chang is Associate Professor of Public Health at New York University College of Global Public Health, Associate Professor of Population Health at NYU School of Medicine, and Affiliated Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at NYU. As a physician and sociologist, Dr. Chang integrates perspectives from medicine, epidemiology, sociology, and demography in her research. Much of her work has focused on obesity and health disparities, engaging topics such as the influence of socially structured context (e.g., racial segregation, neighborhood disorder); the association of obesity with mortality and disability; and the inter-relationships between health, medical technologies, and stratification. Her research program has been funded by the NIH/NICHD, the NIH/NHLBI, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Veterans Health Administration, the Measy Foundation, and the American Diabetes Association. In 2008, Dr. Chang was named Outstanding Junior Investigator of the Year by the Society of General Internal Medicine. In 2010, she was honored with the Marjorie A. Bowman Award from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine for achievement in the health evaluation sciences. Dr. Chang is a graduate of the Inteflex Program at the University of Michigan, where she received her BS and MD degrees. She then completed a residency in internal medicine, fellowship training with the RWJF Clinical Scholars Program, and a PhD in sociology, all at the University of Chicago. Prior to joining NYU, Dr. Chang was in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Merlin Chowkwanyun is Assistant Professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and a member of the Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health. 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 book that questions the dominant theoretical assumptions and frames in ‘racial’ disparities research (under contract, University of California Press). With the Center for Public Integrity, he is working with a group of environmental health journalists and historians on a database featuring thousands of previously unseen corporate documents that have emerged in recent environmental health lawsuits. (More information is available at 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.

Justin Denney is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and the Director of the Kinder Institute Urban Health Program at Rice University. As a health researcher with sociological and demographic training, Justin is principally interested in identifying individual and structural conditions that jointly contribute to health and mortality inequalities. Justin’s work and collaborations within and across disciplines have led to published articles in leading scholarly journals, including the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Journal of Marriage and Family, Annual Review of Sociology, Social Science & Medicine, and Demography. With a focus on various health and mortality outcomes, Justin’s current projects examine how characteristics of the places children and adults live, work, and play impact their individual prospects; how family formations and resources matter for individual well-being; and how intimate relationships, socioeconomic status, gender, and race / ethnicity, contribute to sexual minority health disparities. His work is funded by the Health Disparities Scholar Program at the National Institutes of Health, the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research, the Houston Endowment, the Foundation for Child Development, and the Faculty Initiatives Program at Rice.

Ana V. Diez Roux is Distinguished University Professor of Epidemiology and Dean of the Drexel University School of Public Health. Originally trained as a pediatrician in her native Buenos Aires, she completed public health training at the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health. Before joining Drexel University, she served on the faculties of Columbia University and the University of Michigan, where she was Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Director of the Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

Dr. Diez Roux is internationally known for her research on the social determinants of population health and the study of how neighborhoods affect health. Her work on neighborhood health effects has been highly influential in the policy debate on population health and its determinants. Her research areas include social epidemiology and health disparities, environmental health effects, urban health, psychosocial factors in health, cardiovascular disease epidemiology, and the use of multilevel methods. Recent areas of work include social environment-gene interactions and the use of complex systems approaches in population health. She has led large NIH and foundation funded research and training programs in the United States and in collaboration with various institutions in Latin America and has been Principal Investigator of grants totaling over 30 million US dollars. She has been a member of the MacArthur Network on Socioeconomic Factors and Health and was Co-Director of the Network on Inequality, Complexity and Health. She has been an active mentor of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty.

Dr. Diez Roux has served on numerous editorial boards, review panels and advisory committees including most recently the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC) of the National Center for Health Statistics, the Committee on Health and Wellbeing in the Changing Urban Environment of the International Council for Science (ISCUS) and the Editorial Board of the Annual Review of Public Health.

She was awarded the Wade Hampton Frost Award for her contributions to public health by the American Public Health Association. She is an elected member of the American Epidemiological Society and the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research. She was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2009.

Dr. Diez Roux received an MD from the University of Buenos Aires, a master’s degree in public health and doctorate in health policy and management from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.

Michael Emch is Professor and Chair of Geography and Professor of Epidemiology. Emch’s expertise is in infectious disease ecology, neighborhood determinants of health, and geographic information science applications of public health. He leads the Spatial Health Research Group which conducts research that explores spatio-temporal patterns of disease, primarily infectious diseases of the developing world. Disease patterns are studied using a holistic approach by investigating the role of natural, social, and built environments in disease occurrence in different places and populations. Diverse statistical and spatial analytical methods are informed by theory from the fields of medical geography, epidemiology, ecology, and others. These theories and methods are used to examine diverse topics such as the role of population-environment drivers in viral evolution, how social connectivity contributes to disease incidence, and using environmental indicators to predict disease outbreaks. Two present studies the Group is working on now include: (1) Disease Surveillance Using Molecular and Geographic Methods in the Democratic Republic of Congo and (2) Incorporating geographic context into randomized controlled trials. For more information about these studies and other Group research activities see the Spatial Health Research Group website at

Debra Furr-Holden is an Associate Professor of Mental Health at the John’s Hopkin’s Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is an epidemiologist with expertise in drug and alcohol dependence epidemiology, psychiatric epidemiology and prevention science. Her research areas include methodological issues surrounding the design and evaluation of interventions including sampling, program modeling, and innovative statistical and evaluation approaches; measurement of drug and alcohol use disorders; and innovative methods to prevent and reduce health inequalities, with a focus on behavioral health inequalities. Dr. Furr-Holden is also an expert in environmental approaches to violence, alcohol, tobacco and other drug prevention. She has worked with local and national policy makers to improve data driven decision-making and include ‘health in all policies’. She currently maintains a portfolio of research focused on ameliorating health inequalities in substance abuse and treatment and environmental strategies to prevent and reduce community violence. While broad in scope, Dr. Furr-Holden’s research foci are grounded in the rubrics of epidemiology and psychometrics. She initiated the Drug Investigations, Violence and Environmental Studies Laboratory (The DIVE Studies Lab).

Sarah Gollust is an Assistant Professor and, McKnight Land-Grant Professor in Health Policy & Management at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Gollust is a social scientist studying the intersections of communication, politics, and health policy. Her work examines the processes through which health information gets translated into the media, shapes public attitudes and opinions, and influences the health policy process. By describing the political, social, ethical, and psychological factors that moderate this process – and often pose as barriers – her research yields insight into how communication to the public and policymakers can be more effective. She has applied this research approach to several important public health challenges, including policies to address obesity, health disparities, the Affordable Care Act, and cancer screening and prevention. She weaves this expertise into her teaching in public health ethics and health policy analysis. From 2008 to 2010 she was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania.

Laura Gottlieb is Assistant Professor of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Gottlieb’s current research focuses on designing and evaluating methods to integrate interventions to address social factors into health care. These interventions include Medical-Legal Partnerships and other efforts to identify and address social needs in medical practices, like re-designing electronic medical records to incorporate data on social determinants and increasing patient enrollment in county income and food benefits. Dr. Gottlieb is also a co-founder of HealthBegins, a non-profit organization providing education, consulting, networking, and technology services to health care providers interested in joining the effort to move medicine upstream. She completed her MD at Harvard Medical School, and both her MPH and residency training at the University of Washington.

Amar Hamoudi is Assistant Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. His research interests lie at the intersection of empirical microeconomics, biology, and family demography. One broad theme in Dr. Hamoudi's research is the long reach of health and human capital consequences of events in early life; another is the function of the extended family as an economic institution. More recently, he has been developing interests around the development of, and economic returns to, nontraditional forms of human capital such as executive functioning and self-regulation.

Sam Harper is an Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics & Occupational Health at McGill University. He is also a member of the McGill University Centre on Population Dynamics and the Montreal Health Equity Research Consortium. His research focuses on understanding population health and its social distribution, with specific interests in measuring health inequalities, global health, demography, cancer epidemiology, causal inference, and ethical issues in public health.

Mark Hayward is a Professor of Sociology, Centennial Commission Professor in the Liberal Arts, and director of the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin. He recently served as the president of the Southern Demographic Association and chair of the Aging and Life Course section of the American Sociological Association. He has served on the boards of the Population Association of America and the Society of Biodemography and Social Biology, and he was a member and then chair of the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research council. Currently, he is a member of the Committee on Population, National Academy of Sciences, and the National Advisory Committee for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Health and Society Scholars Program. Professor Hayward received his Ph.D. in sociology from Indiana University in 1981.

His primary research addresses how life course exposures and events influence the morbidity and mortality experiences of the adult population. Recent studies have clarified how early life conditions influence socioeconomic, race and gender disparities in adult morbidity and mortality; the demography of race/ethnic and gender disparities in healthy life expectancy; social inequality in the biomarkers of aging, and the health consequences of marriage, divorce, and widowhood. Most recently, he has been investigating the fundamental inequalities in adult mortality in the United States arising from educational experience, differences in these associations by race and gender, and the growing educational inequality in mortality. His research on these topics has been by the National Institute on Aging and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute on Child Health and Human Development. His recently published work has appeared in the American Journal of Public Health, Demography, the Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences, the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, and Social Science and Medicine.

Professor Hayward has served on a number of scientific advisory boards at universities around the country as well as the National Institutes of Health. He has a long-standing interest in enhancing the measurement and collection of population health data, particularly longitudinal data, and has served on the advisory boards of a number of national studies of population health.

Pamela Herd is Professor of Public Affairs and Sociology at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Broadly, her work focuses on aging, policy, health, and inequality. She has two streams of research. One stream examines how social policies (i.e., Social Security) affect gender, race, and class inequalities. The second stream focuses on the relationship between social factors and health. She is the Principal Investigator of the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, a member of the Board of Overseers of the General Social Survey, a member of the Board of Overseers of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, and a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance.

Herd co-authored the 2007 book Market Friendly or Family Friendly? The State and Gender Inequality in Old Age with Madonna Harrington Meyer. The book is part of the American Sociological Association's Rose Series on Public Policy and was the winner of the Gerontological Society of America Section on Behavioral and Social Sciences Kalish Publication Award. She is author of numerous articles and chapters that have appeared in Social Forces, Gender and Society, Journals of Gerontology, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, and The Gerontologist among others.

Olivier Humblet is Vice President of Data and Analytics at Propeller Health, maker of the leading mobile platform for respiratory health management. Dr. Humblet is a data scientist who is passionate about combining technology with data analytics to improve health. He was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the University of California Berkeley School of Public Health and UC San Francisco Center for Health and Community. Humblet completed his doctorate in Epidemiology and Environmental Health at the Harvard School of Public Health. His thesis research assessed how children’s reproductive development is affected by industrial chemicals in the environment. He then focused on studying asthma in relation to air pollution and other chemical exposures. Humblet’s current work focuses on how mobile technology and data science can be used to improve population health and prevent disease, especially for asthma and other respiratory diseases.

William J. Kassler is part of the Preventive and Population Health Care Models Group, Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation and Chief Medical Officer, New England Region at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. At CMS, Kassler focuses on implementing value-based purchasing initiatives to improve health care quality. He also works with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, implementing several provisions of the Affordable Care Act pertaining to population health. Prior to his current position, Kassler served as state health officer and medical Director for the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, with responsibilities in public health and Medicaid. He began his career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a medical epidemiologist in HIV Prevention, and later as senior advisor for health policy in the CDC Washington Office.

Kassler received his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Massachusetts, his Master of Science in nutrition from Case Western Reserve University, and his Master of Public Health from Berkeley. He also completed a primary care internal medicine residency at the Rhode Island Hospital and was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar in health services research at the University of California at San Francisco. He is a practicing internist at a primary care clinic and past president of the New Hampshire Medical Society.

David A. Kindig is Emeritus Professor of Population Health Sciences and Emeritus Vice-Chancellor for Health Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Medicine. He currently is Co-Chair of the Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Population Health Improvement and Co-Directs the Wisconsin site of the Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholars Program. He was an initial Co-PI on the Robert Wood Johnson MATCH grant under which the County Health Rankings were developed and was the Founder of the RWJF Roadmaps to HealthPrize. From 2011 to 2103 he was Editor of the Improving Population Health blog.

He received a B.A. from Carleton College in 1962 and M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago School of Medicine in 1968. He completed residency training in Social Pediatrics at Montefiore Hospital in 1971.

Dr. Kindig served as Professor of Preventive Medicine/Population Health Sciences at the University of Wisconsin from 1980-2003. He was Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1980-1985, Director of Montefiore Hospital and Medical Center (1976-80), Deputy Director of the Bureau of Health Manpower, U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare (1974-76), and the First Medical Director of the National Health Services Corps (1971-73). He was National President of the Student American Medical Association in 1967-68.

He served as Chair of the federal Council of Graduate Medical Education (1995-1997), President of the Association for Health Services Research (1997-1998), a ProPAC Commissioner from 1991-94 and as Senior Advisor to Donna Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services from 1993-95. In 1996 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences. He received the Distinguished Service Award, University of Chicago School of Medicine 2003. He chaired the Institute of Medicine Committee on Health Literacy in 2002-2004, chaired Wisconsin Governor Doyle's Healthy Wisconsin Taskforce in 2006, and received the 2007 Wisconsin Public Health Association's Distinguished Service to Public Health Award.

Dr. Paula Lantz, a social epidemiologist, is Associate Dean for Research and Policy Engagement and Professor of Public Policy at the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. Previously, she acted as Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Policy at George Washington University. Before joining the GW faculty, she was a faculty member at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, including serving for six years as the chair of the Department of Health Management and Policy. Other prior positions include working as an epidemiologist for the Wisconsin Division of Health, and as a senior researcher for Marshfield Clinic, a 400-physician integrated delivery system in Wisconsin.

Dr. Lantz's main research interests include the role of public health in health care reform, clinical preventive services (such as cancer screening and prenatal care), and social inequalities in health. She is particularly interested in the role of health care versus broad social policy aimed at social determinants of health in reducing social disparities in health status. She has led several research projects related to the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, and conducted other studies on breast/cervical cancer screening and treatment in low-income populations. In addition, she has served as a lead investigator on the Americans’ Changing Lives Study, which is an ongoing, longitudinal research study of social disparities in health status and aging in the United States. Dr. Lantz has received funding for her research from the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Hedwig (Hedy) Lee is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Washington in Seattle. She received her BS in Policy Analysis from Cornell University in 2003 and her PhD in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009. After receiving her PhD, she was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health from 2009 to 2011. She is also a faculty affiliate of the Center for Research on Demography and Ecology and Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences.

She is broadly interested in the social determinants and consequences of population health and health disparities, with a particular focus on race/ethnicity, poverty, race-related stress, and the family. Hedy’s research draws from multiple sources of data to investigate these relationships, including the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Chicago Community Adult Health Study, National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, National Health Interview Survey, National Survey of American Life, and Twitter. Hedy is very interested in engaging in interdisciplinary research and has published and worked with scholars across a wide range of fields including sociology, demography, psychology, political science, public health and medicine.

Her recent work examines the impact of family member incarceration on the health and attitudes of family members, association between discrimination and mental and physical health, documenting trends in racial/ethnic health disparities, socioeconomic causes and consequences of obesity in childhood and adolescence, and using social media data for demographic and health research. Hedy currently teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on topics related to racial/ethnic health disparities and the social determinants of population health.

Jeff Levi is Executive Director of the Trust for America's Health, where he leads the organization’s advocacy efforts on behalf of a modernized public health system. He oversees TFAH’s work on a range of public health policy issues, including implementation of the public health provisions of the Affordable Care Act and annual reports assessing the nation’s public health preparedness, investment in public health infrastructure, and response to chronic diseases such as obesity. In January 2011, President Obama appointed Dr. Levi to serve as a member of the Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health. In April 2011, Surgeon General Benjamin appointed him chair of the Advisory Group. Dr. Levi is also Professor of Health Policy at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, where his research has focused on HIV/AIDS, Medicaid, and integrating public health with the healthcare delivery system.

Dr. Bruce Link is Distinguished Professor of Public Policy and Sociology at the University of California Riverside. Dr. Link's interests are centered on topics in psychiatric and social epidemiology as they bear on policy issues. He has written on the connection between socioeconomic status and health, homelessness, violence, stigma, and discrimination. With Jo Phelan, he has advanced the theory of social conditions as fundamental causes of disease. Currently he is conducting research on the life course origins of health inequalities by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status, the consequences of social stigma for the life chances of people who are subject to stigma, and on evaluating intervention efforts aimed at reducing mental illness stigma in children attending middle school.

Gina S. Lovasi is an Assistant Professor in Epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Her research examines how local policies and initiatives influence cardiovascular and respiratory health, seeking to understand whether the anticipated health benefits have been realized and to explore any unanticipated health effects. She works to incorporate GIS into a range of health-related research projects in vulnerable populations. Dr. Lovasi also teaches a doctoral course on advanced techniques for epidemiologic research ( and serves as co-director for the Epidemiology and Population Health Summer Institute at Columbia University (

James S. Marks, Executive Vice Ppresident, directs all program and administrative activities of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's work on strengthening vulnerable families, violence prevention, catalyzing demand for healthy places, bridging health and health care, and disparity reduction. Prior to joining RWJF in 2004, Marks retired as assistant surgeon general after serving as director of the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion for almost a decade. Throughout his tenure at CDC, Marks developed and advanced systematic ways to prevent and detect diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes; reduce tobacco use; and address the nation’s growing epidemic of obesity. A national leader in public health who has been an advocate of strengthening public health systems and services for more than 35 years, Marks has received numerous federal, state, and private awards, including the U.S. Public Health Service Distinguished Service Award, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists’ Pump Handle Award, the Association of State and Territorial Chronic Disease Directors’ Award for Excellence, the American Cancer Society’s Distinguished Service Award, and the National Arthritis Foundation’s Special Award of Appreciation. In 2004, he was elected to the Institute of Medicine. He is emeritus board chair of C-Change, whose members are the nation’s key cancer leaders from government, business, and nonprofit sectors. He has published extensively in the areas of maternal and child health, health promotion, and chronic disease prevention, and has served on many government and nonprofit committees devoted to improving the public’s health.

Marks received an MD from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He trained as a pediatrician at the University of California at San Francisco, and was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at Yale University, where he received his MPH. He and his wife, Judi, a retired high school guidance counselor, live in Princeton and have two children, both pursuing careers in medicine.

Ryan K. Masters is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is also a member of the CU Population Research Center and a faculty associate of the Population Program and Health & Society Program in the Institute of Behavioral Science. He received his PhD in sociology with a specialization in demography from the University of Texas at Austin in 2011, and completed post-doctoral training with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Health & Society Scholars Program at Columbia University in New York City. Ryan’s research combines life course and cohort perspectives to analyze trends in U.S. health and mortality disparities. Current work focuses on the association between obesity and mortality risk, the long-term health effects of early-life conditions, and age-period-cohort methodologies.

Michael McGinnis is a physician, epidemiologist, and long-time contributor to national and international health programs and policy. An elected Member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies, he has since 2005 also served as IOM Senior Scholar and Executive Director of the IOM Roundtable on Value & Science-Driven Health Care. He founded and stewards the IOM’s Learning Health System Initiative, and, in prior posts, also served as founding leader for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) Health Group, the World Bank/European Commission’s Task Force for Health Reconstruction in Bosnia, and, in the U.S. government, the Office of Research Integrity, the Nutrition Policy Board, and the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. In the latter post, he held continuous policy responsibilities for prevention through four Administrations (Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton), during which he conceived and launched a number of initiatives of ongoing policy importance, including the Healthy People national goals and objectives, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and development of the Ten Essential Services of Public Health. At RWJF, he founded the Health & Society Scholars program, the Young Epidemiology Scholars program, and the Active Living family of programs. Early in his career he served in India as epidemiologist and State Director for the World Health Organization’s Smallpox Eradication Program. Widely published, he has made foundational contributions to understanding the basic determinants of health (e.g. “Actual Causes of Death”, JAMA 270:18 [1993] and “The Case for More Active Policy Attention to Health Promotion”, Health Affairs 21:2 [2002]). National leadership awards include the Arthur Flemming Award, the Distinguished Service Award for public health leadership, the Health Leader of the Year Award, and the Public Health Hero Award. He has held visiting or adjunct professorships at George Washington, UCLA, Princeton, and Duke Universities. He is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, the UCLA School of Medicine, and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and was the graduating commencement speaker at each.

Neil Mehta is an Assistant Professor of Global Health at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. Dr. Mehta's research interests lie at the intersection of demography, epidemiology, and sociology. His currents efforts are largely focused on the social and behavioral determinants of health at the older ages. He has ongoing collaborations examining the role of cohort histories of obesity and how these histories can be informative in understanding the current and future burden of obesity on mortality internationally. Other areas of research include the determinants of health among migrant populations, race/ethnic differences in health among U.S. children and adults, and the population implications of rising obesity and diabetes globally.

Tamar Mendelson is an Associate Professor in the Division of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her research addresses the development, evaluation, and dissemination of prevention strategies to improve maternal and child mental health, with a focus on underserved urban populations. She is currently evaluating mindfulness-based and cognitive behavioral approaches for improving emotional and behavioral outcomes among urban middle and high school students. She is also assessing mindfulness-based and cognitive behavioral strategies to promote maternal mental health and prevent postpartum depression in contexts that serve at-risk perinatal women, including home visitation programs and neonatal intensive care units.

Mahasin S. Mujahid is an Assistant Professor, Epidemiology and Martin Sisters Endowed Chair of Medical Research & Public Health at the University of California-Berkeley. Dr. Mujahid’s current research examines how features of neighborhood environments impact cardiovascular health and health disparities. Using data from several U.S. based cardiovascular cohorts, Dr. Mujahid seeks to improve the measurement of specific features of neighborhood physical and social environments and use state of the art statistical methods to estimate “causal” neighborhood health effects. In related research, Dr. Mujahid seeks to understand the multi-level and multi-factorial determinants of the clustering of cardiovascular risk factors (obesity, diabetes, hypertension) in racial/ethnic minorities and the consequences of this clustering on the long-term cardiovascular health of these groups.

Alonzo L. Plough joined the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as Vice President, Research-Evaluation-Learning and chief science officer in January 2014. Plough came to the Foundation from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, where he served as director of emergency preparedness and response from 2009–2013. In that role, Plough was responsible for the leadership and management of the public health preparedness activities protecting the 10 million residents of Los Angeles County from natural disasters and threats related to disease outbreaks and other public health emergencies. He coordinated activities in emergency operations, infections disease control, risk communication, planning, and community engagement. Prior to this position, Plough served as vice president of strategy, planning and evaluation for The California Endowment from 2005–2009. He was responsible for the leadership of the Endowment’s strategic planning and development, evaluation, research, and organizational learning. Plough also served 10 years as director and health officer for the Seattle and King County Department of Public Health, and professor of health services at the University of Washington School of Public Health in Seattle. He previously served as director of public health in Boston for eight years. Plough earned his PhD and MA at Cornell University, and his MPH at Yale University School of Medicine’s Department of Epidemiology and Public Health. He did his undergraduate work at St. Olaf College, where he earned a BA. He has held academic appointments at Harvard University School of Public Health, Tufts University Department of Community Medicine, and Boston University School of Management. He has been the recipient of numerous awards for public service and leadership and is the author of an extensive body of scholarly articles, books, and book chapters.

Christina A. Roberto will begin a position as an Assistant Professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Fall 2015. She is a psychologist and epidemiologist whose research aims to identify, understand, and alter the environmental and social forces that promote unhealthy eating behaviors linked to obesity and eating disorders. Christina is principal investigator of the Psychology of Eating And Consumer Health (PEACH ) lab. In her work, she draws upon the fields of psychology, marketing, behavioral economics, and population health to answer research questions that can provide policymakers and institutions with science-based guidance

David Rehkopf is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Stanford School of Medicine. The aim of Rehkopf’s research is to understand the relative importance of the mechanisms and processes linking income deprivation and work environment with early life health and future adult chronic disease risk. His work is unique in that it integrates statistical and conceptual strengths of econometric and advanced epidemiological methods of analysis with consideration of the underlying pathobiology preceding chronic disease risk. The true unique contribution of this scholarship is the bridging of the literature between these two fields (economics and biomedicine) to better understand the mechanisms and causal associations underlying the connection between income, work and chronic disease risk. His focus as an academic researcher has been on understanding the sources of gender, socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities in chronic disease, with a focus on risk factors for coronary heart disease. He trained in epidemiology and biostatistics at UC Berkeley and Harvard, with a focus on advanced longitudinal, non-linear and spatial methods of data analysis. The focus of his research fellowship at UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco was on data adaptive methods of data analysis as well as fixed effect and marginal structural longitudinal models. During this time he has been involved with numerous NIH funded studies. He is currently the PI on a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Eating Research project studying the role of income and neighborhood context, including food prices and access, on adolescent obesity.

Brendan Saloner is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. His research focuses on the intersection between health and social policy, particularly on the role of health insurance in promoting access to care, financial protection, and wellness. Dr. Saloner has extensive research focused on the financing, organization, and delivery of mental health and substance use treatment among children, adolescents, and young adults. He is interested in the transformation of public sector behavioral health and primary care health systems under the Affordable Care Act. Dr. Saloner is also interested in applied ethical issues related to equitable health care financing and the design of health insurance.

Jennifer Stuber is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Washington. Her research interests focus on forms of oppression including stigma and discrimination, health disparities, mental health and policy-making processes. She has studied different forms of oppression for families, using means-tested government programs for tobacco users and people living with mental illnesses. Dr. Stuber completed her bachelor's degree in biology and society at Cornell University, served as a research assistant at the Hastings Center, a bioethics think tank, and received her doctorate from the Yale University School of Public Health's Department of Health Policy. Dr. Stuber joined the School of Social Work because she is committed to research that brings social change and social justice to vulnerable populations. Since moving to Washington state, she has been heavily engaged in research and partnership with public mental health organizations. She has assisted these agencies with the development and evaluation of interventions designed to foster recovery, to address tobacco dependence and to improve media engagement strategies. Dr. Stuber leads a statewide coalition designed to promote accurate media portrayals of mental illness in collaboration with the UW Department of Communications. This effort includes the development of media guidelines and education materials for journalists. Most recently, Dr. Stuber, who lost her husband to suicide, has conducted research and informed advocacy work to improve Washington state’s readiness to address the public health problem of suicide. In 2013, she co-founded the UW-affiliated organization Forefront, which focuses on innovations in suicide prevention policy, education, outreach and research. In 2015, the group formed a partnership with Facebook to develop content and tools for Facebook users who may be at risk, or know someone at risk, for suicide.

Nathan Tefft is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Bates University. Tefft has ongoing research and interests in health and health-related behaviors including obesity, smoking, mental health, alcohol consumption, fatal automobile accidents, and asthma; preventive medical services and physician prescribing behavior; health in the context of labor markets, macroeconomic fluctuations, taxation, and safety net programs. He has also been involved in interdisciplinary projects that intersect with public health and public policy. Past and current research topics in these areas include early childhood intervention programs related to child health, soft drink tax policies, SNAP participation at farmer’s markets, and appetite suppressants and eating disorders. His teaching interests include health economics, microeconomics, and statistics.

Rebecca Thurston is currently an Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, Epidemiology, and Clinical and Translational Science at The University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Thurston is also the Director of the Women’s Biobehavioral Health Laboratory at The University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Thurston received her PhD in Clinical Health Psychology from Duke University where she was a James B. Duke Fellow and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University where she was a Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholar. Dr. Thurston’s interests concern social and biological determinants of cardiovascular risk in women. Her work includes elucidating the psychophysiology of links between menopausal symptoms, reproductive hormones, sleep problems, and cardiovascular disease risk development among midlife women. She also considers how adverse psychosocial experiences such as depression, low socioeconomic status, or interpersonal violence impacts women’s cardiovascular disease risk. In this research, Dr. Thurston integrates concepts and methods from health psychology and epidemiology. She has been awarded the Vasomotor Research Award from the North American Menopause Society and is a member of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research. She currently holds R01 and K24 awards from the National Institutes of Health.

Alexander Tsai is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital, a faculty affiliate in the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, and an Honorary Lecturer at Mbarara University of Science and Technology in Mbarara, Uganda. He is a Cohort 8 alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholars Program. His research, disseminated in more than 100 articles published in peer-reviewed journals, aims to understand how large-scale social forces undermine health and mental health in vulnerable populations. Among his current research projects, Dr. Tsai leads a sociocentric social network cohort in rural Uganda; clean water and poverty alleviation intervention studies, also in rural Uganda; and a U.S. national study elucidating the linkages between inequality of opportunity, health and human capital investments, and health outcomes. In 2011, he was awarded the APA/APIRE Health Services Research Early Career Award, which is given annually to one early career psychiatrist under the age of 40.

Kristi Williams is Associate Professor of Sociology at The Ohio State University. Dr. Williams’ research examines the influence of family and other personal relationships on mental and physical health, with a particular focus on gender and life course variations in these patterns. Her research challenges long-held assumptions about the links between marriage and health by demonstrating that the often cited benefits of marriage and the costs of marital dissolution are highly dependent on a range of individual and contextual factors, including marital quality. Recent work includes an NICHD-funded project examining the consequences of nonmarital and early fertility for the health of women and their offspring and considers the role that subsequent marriage plays in shaping these outcomes. Findings from this project raise questions about the likely efficacy of U.S. government efforts to promote marriage, particularly among the groups most likely to experience nonmarital childbearing. Although nonmarital childbearing is associated with health detriments among women, subsequent marriage appears to offer few health benefits to most single mothers.