Kim Hopper

Kim Hopper

Kim Hopper

Professor of Clinical
Sociomedical Sciences


722 West 168th, Sociomedical Sciences #533
New York NY 10032


Dr. Kim Hopper is a medical anthropologist who, for 25 years, worked as a research scientist for the NYC Office of Mental Health at the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, where he co-directed the Center for the Study of Issues in Public Mental Health. From 2006 to 2016, he was also Visiting President's Professor at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. He is author of Reckoning with Homelessness (Cornell University Press, 2003), a stocktaking of two decades of research, advocacy, and theoretical work, that was awarded the Anthony Award in Urban Anthropology. He is also co-editor of Recovery from Schizophrenia: An International Perspective (Oxford University Press, 2007), a report from the WHO collaborative study on the long-term course and outcome of schizophrenia. Since 1979, Hopper has done ethnographic and historical research on psychiatric care and on homelessness, chiefly in New York City. Active in homeless advocacy efforts since 1980, Hopper served as president of the National Coalition for the Homeless from 1991-1993, and teaches a seminar each spring in the Law School on current litigation and policy re homelessness. For the last 10 years, he has also taught in the Bard Prison Initiative. His present research interests include the fate of reforms in public mental health, terms and conditions of collaborative research, and prospects for reconciliation between ex-patients and their professional caretakers.



PhD, 1987, Columbia University

Academic Appointments

Adjunct Professor, School of Law

Other Affiliations

George Foster Practicing Medical Anthropology Award (2015)
Anthony Leeds Award in Urban Anthropology (2004)
Research Scientist Award, Office of Mental Health (1995)

Honors & Awards

Anthony Leeds Awards in Urban Anthropology, 2003
Finalist, C. Wright Mills Award, SSSP, 2003
Honorable Mention, Benjamin L. Hooks Institute, Book Award, 2003

Areas of Expertise

Homelessness, Social / Cultural Issues, Mental Health

Select Urban Health Activities

Homelessness History + Present: For over two decades Dr. Hopper has been investigating the history, causes, and public response to homelessness, with particular emphasis on legal aspects and advocacy. He has written extensively on the demands of scholarship and the courts with respect to evidence and its interpretation in formulating public policy.
Mental Health and tPublic Policy: As Research Scientist at the Nathan Kline Institute, Dr. Hopper co-directs the Center to Study Recovery in Social Contexts, which has built a portfolio of CBPR-based research that is attempting to apply Amartya Sen's "capabilities" approach to the practice of public mental health.
Field School in Social Research Method: Hopper founded this experimental school for mental health peers -- people with long experience in the public mental health system -- to become conversant with research methods so as to be better able to read and critique the literature, participate in collaborative research efforts, and undertake their own inquiries.

Select Global Activities

WHO-Collaborative International Study of Schizophrenia: Dr. Hopper edited a final collection of reports (Oxford 2007) on this long-term follow-up study of treated incidence cohorts of clinically (PSE)-defined schizophrenia in 14 communities across 10 countries.
Adolescent Narratives of Resilience in Circumpolar Communities: As President's Professor at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Hopper consults on this narrative-based approach to adolescent passages in the Circumpolar North (NW and SW Alaska, Norway, Siberia, and Nunavit, Canada).

Select Publications

Amering M., Stastny P., Hopper K., Psychiatric advance directives: Qualitative study of informed deliberations by mental health service users. British Journal of Psychiatry 186 247-252 2005
Hopper, K. Redistribution and its discontents: On the prospects of committed work in public mental health and like settings. Human Organization 65: 218-226, 2006.
West, K.W., Hopkins, S.E., Hopper, K.J., Mohatt, G.V. and Boyer, B.B. Found in translation: Decoding local understandings of genetics and heredity in a Yup’ik Eskimo community. Public Understanding of Science 22: 80-90, 2013.
Pope, L.G., Cubellis, L., Hopper, K. Signing on for dirty work: Taking stock of a public psychiatry project from the inside. Transcultural Psychiatry 53:506-526, 2016.
Hopper, K., Wanderling, J., and Narayanan, P. To have and to hold: A cross-cultural inquiry into marital prospects after psychosis. Global Public Health 2(3): 257-280, 2007.
Hopper K When (working) in Rome: applying anthropology in Caesar's realm. Human Organization 61 196-209 2002
Hopper, K. Rethinking social recovery in schizophrenia: What a capabilities approach might offer. Social Science and Medicine 65: 868-879, 2007.
Hopper, K. Reframing early psychiatric crises: A capabilities-informed approach. Journal of Human Development, Disability, and Social Change 20(2): 23-39, 2012.
Hopper K, Wanderling J Revisiting the developed vs. developing country distinction in course and outcome in schizophrenia: Results from ISoS, the WHO-Collaborative Follow-up Project Schizophrenia Bulletin 26 835-846 2000
Lincoln, A., Adams, W., Eyllon, M., Garverich, S. Prener, C., Griffith, J. & Hopper, K. The double-stigma of limited literacy and mental illness: Examining barriers to recovery and participation among public mental health service users. Society and Mental Health 7:121-141, 2017.

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