Leslie Roberts, PhD

  • Professor Emeritus of Population and Family Health at CUMC
  • Special Lecturer in Population and Family Health
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He holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering and did a post-doctorate fellowship in epidemiology at the Centers for Disease Control’s Refugee Health Unit. Les was the Director of Health Policy at the International Rescue Committee from 1999-2003.  He has been involved in the field work of over 50 mortality surveys in conflict settings including in DRC, Zimbabwe, CAR, and Iraq.  His present research focuses on documenting the crisis in CAR.  

Academic Appointments

  • Professor Emeritus of Population and Family Health at CUMC
  • Special Lecturer in Population and Family Health

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • BS, 1983 St Lawrence University
  • MPH, 1987 Tulane University
  • PhD, 1992 Johns Hopkins University

Committees, Societies, Councils

R2HC Review Committee
Researching the Impact of Attacks on Healthcare (RIAH) Advisory Committee

Honors & Awards

2012 - Teaching Excellence Award, Mailman School of Public Health.

2008 - Edward Barsky Award at APHA Annual Conference.

2007 - APHA Special Award for Conflict Epidemiological Research (With Burnham G, Doocy, S, Lafta R.)

2006 - Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

2006 - Ambassador, Paul G. Rogers Society for Global Health Research.

1995 - The Paul C. Schnitker Award for Outstanding Contribution to International Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA., March.

1994 - Medal of Achievement, USPHS, Spring.

1990 – 1991 -The Dick C. Heil Memorial Scholarship.  Chesapeake Chapter of the American Water Works Association.


We live in a world where most university educated Americans will earn more than ten times the median global income with all of the consumption and unintended oppression of the poorest that such a life induces. As a researcher, it seems to help if one tries to only work on issues and programs that one is very willing to die for.

Selected Publications

Karume G, O'Keeffe J, Anonymous, Roberts L.  Cross?sectional survey in Central African Republic finds mortality 4?times higher than UN statistics.  Conflict and Health. 2023 Apr 18;17(1):21 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37072800/ 

Kuehne A, Roberts L. Learning from health information challenges in the Central African Republic: where documenting health and humanitarian needs requires fresh approaches. Conflict and Health. 2021 Sept 16; 15, Article number: 68.  https://conflictandhealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13031-021-00405-1  

Roberts L. New Yorkers’ coronavirus response sets an example for the world (Commentary). Syracuse Post-Standard.  Ap. 29, 2020 https://www.syracuse.com/opinion/2020/04/epidemiologist-new-yorkers-coronavirus-response-sets-an-example-for-the-world-commentary.html 

Jarrett P, Zadravecz FJ, O’Keefe J, Nshombo M, Karume A, and Roberts L.  Evaluation of a population mobility, mortality, and birth surveillance system in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Disasters, 2020, 44(2): 390−407. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/disa.12370 

Flaherty MG, Roberts L. Internet searching and potential for promoting humanitarian injustice: short report.  Conflict and Health. 2019; 13: 4 https://conflictandhealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13031-019-0187-z 

Briody C, Rubenstien L, Roberts L. Penney E,  Keenan W, Horbar J.   Review of attacks on health care facilities in six conflicts of the past three decades.  Confl Health. 2018; 12: 19. https://conflictandhealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13031-018-0152-2 

Roberts LF.  When Violence becomes Endemic.  Int. J. Pub. Hlth. June 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5973969/ 

Sara A. Snyder, and Columbia Epidemiology of Human Rights Study Group.  The Eric Garner Case: Statewide survey of NY voters’ response to proposed police accountability legislation. J. of Social Service Research.  October 2016. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01488376.2016.1239598

Roberts L, Lafta R, Garfield R, et al.  Mortality before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: cluster sample survey.  Lancet.  Volume 364;9448:1857-1864. Oct. 29, 2004. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15555665/ 

Roberts L, Chartier Y, Toole M, et al.  Keeping Clean Water Clean in a Malawi Refugee Camp: A Randomized Intervention Trial. Bull. W.H.O., Vol. 79(4):280-287, 2001. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11357205/