Peter A Messeri, PhD

  • Professor Emeritus/Special Lecturer of Sociomedical Sciences at the Columbia University Medical Center
Profile Headshot


Dr. Peter Messeri is a medical sociologist whose focus includes the organization of health care systems, community interventions to promote healthier communities, tobacco control, and the nature of health and social disparities. He has methodological expertise in the conduct of group randomized designs to evaluate interventions at the community and health systems level as well as methods for assessing causal effects for non-experimental studies. Dr. Messeri leads the CHAIN project, a 14-year longitudinal study of people living with HIV in New York City. He is P.I. on two recent field experiments. The first is SPNS-IT/HIV TIPS, an evaluation of a web-based information technology application to help providers in community-based clinics in the management of HIV disease and the second brings worksite wellness programs to small businesses in Harlem. As a consultant for the American Legacy Foundation, Dr. Messeri has been involved in the evaluation of its national anti-smoking campaign (Truth). Dr. Messeri has published numerous articles on social support, delivery of health services, tobacco control, and substance use. He is the deputy chair for Doctoral Studies in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences and teaches both introductory and advanced methods courses as well as a theoretical foundations course for doctoral students. He is co-director of methods core for the Center for Homelessness Prevention Studies and the recently established Columbia Population Research Center.

Academic Appointments

  • Professor Emeritus/Special Lecturer of Sociomedical Sciences at the Columbia University Medical Center

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • BS, 1972 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • PhD, 1985 Columbia University

Committees, Societies, Councils

Member, American Public Health Association

Member, American Sociological Association


Research Interests

  • Biostatistical Methods
  • Community Health
  • Healthcare Policy
  • Substance Use
  • Urban Health

Selected Publications

Messeri P, Silverstein M, Litwak E (1993) Choosing optimal support groups: a review and reformulation Journal of Health and Social Behavior 34 122-137

Messeri P, Abramson D, Aidala A, Lee F, Lee G (2002) The impact of ancillary HIV services on engagement in medical care in New York AIDS Care 14 S15-S30

Farrelly M, Healton, C, Davis K, Messeri P, Hersey J, Haviland M (2002) Getting to the truth: evaluating national tobacco counter marketing campaigns AJPH 92 901-907

Messeri P, Kim S, Whetten K Measuring services integration strategies for 34 HIV service demonstration projects (2003) Journal of HIV/AIDS & Social Services 2 19-44

Messeri, P., Mowery P., Healton C., Haviland ML, Gable J (2007) Do tobacco countermarketing campaigns increase adolescent under reporting of smoking? : A test of the Social Desirability Hypothesis. Addictive Behaviors Addictive Behaviors 32 1532-1536

Farrelly, M.C., Davis, K.C,, Duke,J., Messeri, P, (2008) Sustaining 'truth' changes in youth tobacco attitudes and smoking intentions after 3 years of a national antismoking campaign Health Education Research

Messeri P, S, Kahn Millery, M, Campbell, A, Merrill, J, Shih, S, Kukafka, R (2013) An information system Model of the determinants of electronic health record use. Appl Clin Inf 4: 185–200

Goodman, S., Messeri, P., O'Flaherty, B. (2016) Homeless prevention in New York City: On average it works. Journal of Housing Economics. 31: 14-34.

Messeri, P., Cantrell, J., Mowery, P., Bennett, M., Hair, W. and Vallone, D. (2019) Examining differences in cigarette smoking prevalence among young adults across national surveillance surveys. PLoS ONE 14(12)

Messeri, P., Yomogida, M., Ferat, R.M., Garr, L. and Wirth, D. (2019) An HIV health plan patient navigation program: engaging HIV positive individuals in primary medical care. Journal of HIV/AIDS & Social Services.

Urban Health Activities

Community Health Advisory & Information Network (CHAIN): Dr. Messeri was the principal investigator of CHAIN, a longitudinal study of persons living with HIV/AIDS. Since his retirement he has continued as a senior investigator. Since its inception in 1994, CHAIN has followed over 2,400 people living with HIV in the New York City region. The goal of CHAIN is to assess the need for health and social services among people living with HIV/AIDS and to understand the availability, accessibility, and quality of HIV/AIDS services. Based on repeated in-person interviews with study participants, the study informs the planning of HIV services in New York City through the production of reports on data collected written in collaboration with New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Public Health Solutions, and the Westchester Department of Health. The study is primarily funded through the Ryan White CARE Act, with supplemental funding from the federal government and various private foundations.

Evaluation of HomeBase Program to Prevent Family Homelessness: This study evaluated NYC Department of Homelessness Services' innovative community-based homelessness prevention program, HomeBase. With Dan O'Flaherty, CU Department of Economics, Dr. Messeri undertook a quasi-experiment using administrative dataset to demonstrate that the program was effective in averting family entries into the New York City Shelter System.

Access NY and AmidaCONNECT: These related projects evaluated innovative programs to improve connection and retention in care among New York City residents living with HIV/AIDS, who experience difficulty in maintaining engagement with medical care. The project was a collaboration with Amida Care, an HIV medicaid managed care plan, serving New York City residents and the New York Community Trust. The project was supported by funds from the AIDS Fund, AIDS United, and the Corporation for National and Community Service.