Oct. 31 2019

Denise Kandel, PhD, Columbia Mailman School Professor of Sociomedical Sciences (in Psychiatry), has been selected to receive the 2019 Rema Lapouse Award for Achievement in Epidemiology, Mental Health and Applied Public Health Statistics from the American Public Health Association (APHA).  The award will be presented on November 4 in Philadelphia, PA at the APHA 2019 meeting. Dr. Lapouse, a pediatric psychiatric epidemiologist, was a pioneer in her dedication to impacting public policy and the quality of care to promote public health and social justice.
Each year the Mental Health, Epidemiology and Applied Statistics in Public Health Sections jointly honor one individual who looks beyond current explanations to understand and improve public mental health.
Dr. Kandel's major research interests are in the epidemiology, risk factors and consequences of drug use; the epidemiology of substance dependence; comorbidity between substance use and psychiatric disorders; the intergenerational transmission of substance use; and developmental pathways of problem behaviors in adolescence. Her current work focuses on the epidemiology of prescription opioid use in the United States in an attempt to understand some of the sources of the opioid epidemic.
Dr. Kandel had pioneered charting the developmental phases of drug use and identified the specific risk factors for adolescent initiation into each major stage, which provided the basis for the Gateway Hypothesis. She has initiated a novel area of research, focused on the molecular bases of epidemiological paradigms, in particular the Gateway Hypothesis, in rodents,  in collaboration with Dr. Eric Kandel from the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute and colleagues from the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior.

“We are delighted that APHA is recognizing Dr. Kandel for her longstanding and innovative research that has significantly advanced our understanding of substance abuse and mental health, especially in adolescence,” said Kathleen Sikkema, PhD, Stephen Smith Professor and Chair, Department of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia Mailman School.