Shakira F Suglia, ScD

  • Adjunct Associate Professor of Epidemiology
Profile Headshot


Dr. Suglia's research takes a multi-disciplinary approach toward understanding health disparities, examining the impact of environmental exposures and social stressors on disease and health. She focuses in particular on the health of children and adolescents, and their relation to social and environmental issues such as violence, housing, and traffic exposures. Dr. Suglia's current work, examines how social stressors, in particular violence, and physical environmental factors during adolescence influences the development of cardiovascular and metabolic risk profiles later on. She is currently working with the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) examining the role of violence exposure in childhood and adolescence and the development of hypertension in young adulthood. Dr. Suglia is interested in health behaviors (smoking, physical activity, diet) that could mediate this association, which is often established in adolescence. She is also exploring how the built environment (parks, access to food stores), can modify the association. In addition she is working with the Boricua Youth Study, a longitudinal study of at risk Puerto Rican adolescents in the South Bronx, NY and San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she will conduct cardiovascular and metabolic assessments to determine whether they are related to negative family environments in childhood.

Academic Appointments

  • Adjunct Associate Professor of Epidemiology


  • Female

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • BS, 1995 University of Massachusetts at Amherst
  • MS, 1997 University at Albany
  • ScD, 2006 Harvard School of Public Health

Committees, Societies, Councils

Member, American Public Health Association

Member, Society for Epidemiologic Research

Member, American Heart Association

Member, The Obesity Society


Research Interests

  • Child and Adolescent Health
  • Chronic disease
  • Community Health
  • Environmental Health
  • Food Policy and Obesity

Selected Publications

Suglia SF, Clark C, Gary-Webb T. Adolescent Obesity, Change in Weight Status and Hypertension; Racial/Ethnic Variations. Hypertension. 61(2) 290-295 2013

Suglia SF, Sapra K, Koenen KC. Violence and Cardiovascular Health: A Systematic Review. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 48(2) 205-212 2015

Suglia SF, Duarte CS, Chambers EC, Boynton-Jarrett R. Cumulative social risk and obesity in early childhood Pediatrics 129 1173-9 2012

Suglia SF, Duarte CS, Sandel MT Housing quality, housing instability and maternal mental health Journal of Urban Health 159 (1) 14-20 2011

Suglia SF, Staudenmayer J, Bosquet-Enlow M, Rich-Edwards JW, Cohen S, Wright RJ Cumulative Stress and Cortisol Disruption among Black and Hispanic Pregnant Women in an Urban Cohort Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research and Practice 2(4) 326-334 2010

Suglia SF, Duarte CS, Sandel MT, Wright RJ Social and environmental stressors in the home and childhood asthma Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 64(7) 636-42 2010

Suglia SF, Staudenmayer J, Cohen S, Wright RJ Posttraumatic stress symptoms related to community violence and children's diurnal cortisol response in an urban community-dwelling sample International Journal of Behavioral Medicine 17 43-50 2010

Suglia SF, Bosquet-Enlow M, Kullowatz A, Wright RJ Maternal intimate partner violence and increased asthma incidence in children: Buffering effects of supportive caregiving Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine 163 244-50 2009

Suglia SF, Ryan L, Wright RJ Creation of a Community Violence Exposure Scale: Accounting for What, Who, Where and How Often Journal of Traumatic Stress 21 479-86 2008

Suglia SF, Ryan L, Wright RJ Black carbon associated with cognition among children in a prospective birth cohort study American Journal of Epidemiology 167 280-286 2008

Urban Health Activities

Childhood Adversity and Cardiovascular Health among Puerto Rican youth: Recent research has demonstrated that childhood adversity is associated with cardiovascular disease in adulthood. However, adapting and coping behaviors that prime those exposed to adversity in childhood to develop poor cardiovascular outcomes remain largely unexplored. The goal of this research is to examine the relation between childhood adversity (negative life events, parental incarceration, child maltreatment) and indicators of cardiovascular heath among Puerto Rican young adults living in two different contexts: the South Bronx, NY and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans are at highest risk of cardiovascular disease with Puerto Rican women having the highest rate of obesity, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia than any other Latino subgroup. This research further explores the mediating effect of child mental and substance use disorders and the modifying role of socio-cultural factors on the childhood adversity and cardiovascular health association that can be targeted for prevention efforts prior to the development of cardiovascular disease.