Goleen Samari, PhD

  • Assistant Professor of Population and Family Health
  • Faculty Affiliate, Columbia Population Research Center
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Goleen Samari is a population health demographer whose research focuses on social inequities and health. She examines how racism, gender inequities, and migration-based inequities shape population and reproductive health both domestically and globally with a particular focus on communities in or from the Middle East and North Africa. She focuses on issues related to immigrant health, women's health, and sexual and reproductive health and rights. She was the first to draw attention to racialization of religious minorities and Islamophobia as a public health issue. She is also one of a handful of public health researchers examining women's empowerment, gender equity, and reproductive health in the Middle East and North Africa. Her recent work includes a measure of structural xenophobia in the U.S. at the state level, the Immigrant Policy Climate index, that can be leveraged to understand the health implications of exclusionary and inclusive immigration contexts. Her research remains focused on understanding and alleviating intersectional structural determinants of health. Cutting across all her research areas is an interest in the way social science constructs are measured and mixed methods that guide the research process. Her research has been published in several journals including Social Science & Medicine and the American Journal of Public Health, and her editorials and Op-Eds have been published in local and national newspapers. She is recognized as a thought leader on the population and reproductive health effects of discrimination for Muslim, Middle Eastern, and immigrant communities and has received a few notable honors for her contributions to health equity research.

Academic Appointments

  • Assistant Professor of Population and Family Health
  • Faculty Affiliate, Columbia Population Research Center

Administrative Titles

  • Co-Director, MOSAIC - Mentoring of Students and Igniting Community

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • BA, 2007 University of Texas at Austin
  • MA, 2010 University of California Los Angeles
  • MPH, 2010 University of California Los Angeles
  • PhD, 2015 University of California Los Angeles

Editorial Boards

Journal of Migration and Health

World Medical and Health Policy

Population Research and Policy Review

Honors & Awards

Term Membership, Council on Foreign Relations (2021 - 2026)

Daniel R. Mishell Jr, MD Outstanding Article Award, Contraception and the Society of Family Planning

Alumni Hall of Fame Inductee, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health


Research Interests

  • Biostatistical Methods
  • Community Health
  • Global Health
  • Maternal and Reproductive Health

Selected Publications

Samari, Goleen, Amanda Nagle, and Kate Coleman-Minahan. 2021. “Measuring Structural Xenophobia: Immigration Policy Climates Over Ten Years.” Social Science & Medicine – Population Health.

Samari, Goleen, Ralph Catalano, Héctor E. Alcalá, and Alison Gemmill. 2020. “The Muslim Ban and Preterm Birth: Analysis of U.S. Vital Statistics Data from 2009 to 2018.” Social Science & Medicine.

Samari, Goleen, Diana G. Foster, Lauren Ralph, and Corinne H. Rocca. 2020. Pregnancy Preferences and Contraceptive Use among US Women. Contraception 101(2): 79-85.

Samari, Goleen, Mienah Z. Sharif, and Héctor E. Alcalá. 2019. “Racialization of Religious Minorities”. Chapter in Racism: Science & Tools for the Public Health Professional. Editors Chandra L. Ford, Derek M. Griffith, Marino A. Bruce and Keon L. Gilbert. APHA Press.

Desai, Sheila and Goleen Samari. 2020. “COVID-19 and Immigrants’ Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Services in the United States.” Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 52(2): 69 – 73.

Samari, Goleen. 2016. Islamophobia and Public Health in the United States. American Journal of Public Health 106(11): 1920 - 1925.

Samari, Goleen, Hector E. Alcala, and Mienah Z. Sharif. 2018. Islamophobia, Health and Public Health: A Systematic Literature Review. American Journal of Public Health 108(6): e1 - e9.

Samari, Goleen and Kate Coleman-Minahan. 2017. Parental Gender Expectations by Socioeconomic Status and Nativity: Implications for Contraceptive Use. Sex Roles 78(9): 699.

Samari, Goleen. 2017. Women's Agency and Fertility: Recent Evidence from Egypt. Population Research & Policy Review 36(4): 561-582.

Samari, Goleen. 2017. Syrian Refugee Women's Health in Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan and Recommendations for Improved Practice. World Medical & Health Policy 9(2): 255-274.

Global Health Activities

Answering the Big Questions in Forced Displacement and Health

Demography of the Middle East and North Africa

Urban Health Activities

NYC Pandemic Response Institute: Co-Lead of the Cross-Cutting Team on Racial Equity and Social Determinants of Health