Mary E. Northridge, PhD, MPH

  • Professor of Clinical Sociomedical Sciences (in Dental Medicine)
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The current asthma epidemic that disproportionately affects urban children of color has been the focus of much of her recent outreach and research activities. Working with an interdisciplinary team of researchers and community groups, she is currently involved in a community-based intervention which aims to reduce the levels of cockroach and rodent allergens in the homes of asthmatic children. Dr. Northridge also has interests in social determinants of disease and in epidemiologic methods. Her positions as Deputy Director of the Harlem Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and Deputy Editor of the American Journal of Public Health afford her the opportunity to help influence the work that is produced and published.

Dr. Mary Evelyn Northridge earned a BA in chemistry with a specialty in biochemistry at the University of Virginia, an MT in medical technology at Morristown Memorial Hospital, an MPH in environmental health at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey/Rutgers University, and a PhD in epidemiology at Columbia University.

Upon the completion of a post-doctoral fellowship at the Environmental and Occupational Health Science Institute in Piscataway, NJ, Dr. Northridge continued her research and academic career at the Harlem Health Promotion Center, where she conducted community-based participatory research for more than 2 decades. She is currently the Director of Dental Research and Research Associate Professor at NYU Langone Dental Medicine - Brooklyn.

Dr. Northridge currently serves as the inaugural Editorial Emerita of the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH).

Academic Appointments

  • Professor of Clinical Sociomedical Sciences (in Dental Medicine)

Administrative Titles

  • Investigator, Harlem Health Promotion Center

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • BA, 1980 University of Virginia
  • Medical Technology (MT), 1981 Morristown Memorial Hospital
  • MPH, 1988 UMDNJ/Rutgers University
  • PhD, 1993 Columbia University

Editorial Boards

Editor Emerita, Journal of the Academy of Distinguished Educators (JADE)

Honors & Awards

Anna Gelman Award for Excellence in Epidemiology, 1994

Distinguished Alumna Award, UMDNJ School of Public Health, 2005

NIH Blue Ribbon Panel Member, 2008

Honorary Member, Omicron Kappa Upsilon, Omega Chapter, 2017


Only through transformational change can we better ensure that no one needs to present to a hospital emergency department for a dental-related condition.
Dr. Northridge is an epidemiologist with an interest in community public health. Over the past several years, she has been working with community groups in Harlem and Washington Heights and researchers at the Columbia School of Public Health to increase understanding of environmental hazards affecting the largely poor communities of color in Northern Manhattan.

Research Interests

  • Aging
  • Biostatistical Methods
  • Community Health
  • Public Health Education
  • Substance Use
  • Urban Health

Selected Publications

Lamster IB, Northridge ME (eds.) Improving Oral Health for the Elderly: An Interdisciplinary Approach Springer New York, NY, USA 2008

Meyer IH, Northridge ME (eds.) The Health of Sexual Minorities: Public Health Perspectives on LBGT Populations Springer New York, NY, USA 2007

Northridge ME, Nevitt MC, Kelsey JL, Link B Home hazards and falls in the elderly: the role of health and functional status Am J Public Health 85 509-515 1995

Northridge ME, Rhoads GG, Wartenberg D, Koffman D The importance of histologic type on breast cancer survival J Clin Epidemiol 50 283-290 1997

Northridge ME, Morabia A, Ganz ML, Bassett MT, Gemson D, Andrews H, McCord C Contribution of smoking to excess mortality in Harlem Am J Epidemiol 147 250-258 1998

Northridge ME, Meyer I, Dunn L Overlooked and underserved in Harlem: a population-based survey of adults with asthma Environ Health Perspect 110 Suppl 2 217-220 2002

Northridge ME, Sclar E, Biswas P Sorting out the connections between the built environment and health: a conceptual framework for navigating pathways and planning healthy cities J Urban Health 80 556-568 2003

Northridge ME, Shoemaker K, Jean-Louis B, Ortiz B, Swaner R, Vaughan RD, Cushman LF, Hutchinson VE, Nicholas SW What matters to communities? Using community-based participatory research to ask and answer questions regarding the environment and health Environ Health Perspect 113 Suppl 1 34-41 2005

Northridge ME, Vallone D, Xiao H, Green M, Blackwood JW, Kemper SE, Duke J, Watson KA, Burrus B, Treadwell HM The importance of location for tobacco cessation: rural-urban disparities in quit success in underserved West Virginia counties J Rural Health 24 106-115 2008

Parker JC, Thorson E. (eds.) Health Care Communication in the New Media Landscape Springer New York, NY, USA 23-39 2008

Urban Health Activities

ElderSmile: For more than a decade, the ElderSmile Program at the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine has been providing much-needed dental care to older persons living in northern Manhattan communities. ElderSmile is staffed by experienced dental school faculty and is assisted by students, who work together to provide care to patients. Those who need more in-depth dental care are referred to ElderSmile treatment centers. During summers, a mobile dental van visits senior centers to provide additional patient education and screening. ElderSmile provides important care to an often underserved population more vulnerable to serious dental conditions and related diseases such as diabetes, heart and lung diseases, and stroke.