Alfredo Morabia, MD, PhD, MPH

  • Professor of Clinical Epidemiology
Profile Headshot


Morabia completed his undergraduate studies at College Calvin in Geneva in 1971, majoring in Greek and Latin. After receiving his M. D. from the School of Medicine at the University of Geneva in 1978, Morabia trained in internal medicine at the University Hospital of Geneva and in occupational medicine in Italy. He is board certified in both internal medicine and occupational medicine. In 2009, he was appointed Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. In 1986, Morabia received a grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation to study at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, where he obtained M. P.H. and Ph. D. degrees in epidemiology, the first such PhD awarded to a Swiss citizen, and an M. H.S. in biostatistics. In August 1990, he became chair of the Clinical Epidemiology Unit at the University Hospital of Geneva, the first epidemiology group ever created in a Swiss hospital. Under his leadership, the unit grew into a division, and he was subsequently appointed professor of clinical epidemiology at the University of Geneva. He is currently professor of clinical epidemiology at the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, and professor of epidemiology at the Barry Commoner Center for Health and the Environment at Queens College, City University of New York. His domain of research are urban health and history. He is PI of a cohort study of cardiovascular diseases among men and women who volunteered during the months following the 9/11 attack to clean the debris of the WTC towers. He is supported by the National Library of Medicine to write a textbook on the history of epidemiologic methods and concepts. Dr Morabia lectures and teaches on the history of epidemiology internationally in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian. Alfredo Morabia also serves as the Editor in Chief of the AJPH (former American Journal of Public Health) and Editor of "Epidemiology in History" at the American Journal of Epidemiology. His last book, "Enigmas of Health and Disease: How Epidemiology Contributes to Unravel Scientific Mysteries" was published by Columbia University Press in 2014.

Academic Appointments

  • Professor of Clinical Epidemiology

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • MD, 1979 University of Geneva
  • MSc, 1990 Johns Hopkins University

Committees, Societies, Councils

Professor of Epidemiology, Queens College of City University of New York

Editorial Boards

Editor-in-Chief, American Journal of Public Health

Editor, Epidemiology in History, American Journal of Public Health


Research Interests

  • History and Ethics
  • Urban Health

Selected Publications

MORABIA A. Enigmas of Health and Disease. How Epidemiology Helps Unravel Scientific Mysteries. Columbia University Press, 2014.

MORABIA A (editor). History of epidemiologic methods and concepts. Basel, Birkhauser, 2004. ISBN 3-7643-6818-7

MORABIA A. Imaginative designs: Separating hereditary from environmental effects in pre-DNA times. Am J Epidemiol 2015; doi: 10.1093/aje/kwv221

MORABIA A. Has Epidemiology Become Infatuated with Methods? A Historical Perspective on the Place of Methods During the Classical (1945-1965) Phase of Epidemiology. Annual Review of Public Health Review, 2015;36(1):69-88.

SNOEP JD, MORABIA A, HERNANDEZ-DIAZ S, HERNAN MA VANDENBROUCKE JP. A structural approach to Berkson's fallacy. Int J Epidemiol 2014; 43 (2): 515-521. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyu026

230. MORABIA A. Snippets from the Past - Is Flint, Michigan, the birthplace of the case-control study? Am J Epidemiol 2013; 178 (12): 1687-90. DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwt221

Morabia, A Epidemiologic interactions, complexity and the lonesome death of Max von Pettenkofer. American Journal of Epidemiology 166 1233-8 2007

Ahrens, W, and Pigeot, I (editors) Handbook of Epidemiology Springer Berlin 2011

Morabia, A Claude Bernard was a 19th century proponent of medicine based on evidence Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 59 1150-1154 2006

Morabia, A (editor) History of epidemiologic methods and concepts Birkhauser Switzerland 2004

Morabia, A Pierre-Charles-Alexandre Louis and the birth of clinical epidemiology Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 49 1327-1333 1996

Morabia, A, and Guthold, R Wilhelm Weinberg's 1913 large retrospective cohort study: a rediscovery American Journal of Epidemiology 165 727-733 2007

Morabia, A Patterns of epidemics of infectious diseases in the Chinese Empire (243 BC and 1911 AD): Quantitative analysis of a unique but neglected catalogue Epidemiology and Infection 137 1361-1368 2009

Morabia, A, Ahrens, W and Pigeot, I (editors) History of Epidemiologic Methods and Concepts. In Handbook of Epidemiology (in press) Springer Berlin 2011

MORABIA A, RUBENSTEIN B, VICTORA CG. Epidemiology and Public Health in 1906 England: Arthur Newsholme's Methodological Innovation to Study Breastfeeding and Fatal Diarrhea. American Journal of Public Health: July 2013, Vol. 103, No. 7, pp. e17-e22. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301227

Morabia, A Re: Winkelstein W, Jr. (2006) Janet Elizabeth Lane-Claypon: a forgotten epidemiologic pioneer. Epidemiology 17:705 Epidemiology 18 413 2007

Morabia A Janet Lane-Claypon - Interphase epitome Epidemiology 21 573-576 2010

Urban Health Activities

WTC- Heart : WTC- Heart is a cohort studies of men and women who volunteered to clean the WTC site during the first year after the 9/11 attack. The objective of the study is to assess the long term consequences of this cleaning activity on their cardiac health. The project is funded by CDC.

A history of Epidemiologic Methods and Concepts: The objective is to write a textbook about the history of epidemiologic methods and concepts. This project is funded by the National Library of Medicine.