Affiliated Faculty

  • Sara Abiola, PhD, JD

    • Assistant Professor of Health Policy & Management

    Dr. Sara Abiola, PhD, JD focuses on empirical evaluation of the effects of public health laws on population health and the politics of developing evidence-based public health laws. Her most recent projects include measuring the effects of obesity prevention laws enacted in all 50 states on youth body mass index (BMI) and risk of overweight and obesity, developing a theoretical framework linking public health laws to health-related behaviors and outcomes, and identifying the factors that shape the use of empirical research in health policy-making. Dr. Abiola has co-authored publications on these topics in the New England Journal of Medicine, Health Affairs, American Journal of Public Health, and the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics.

  • Ronald Bayer, PhD

    • Professor of Sociomedical Sciences

    Ronald Bayer, PhD, focuses his research on issues of social justice and ethical matters related to AIDS, tuberculosis, illicit drugs, and tobacco. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and has served on its committees dealing with the social impact of AIDS, tuberculosis elimination, vaccine safety, smallpox vaccination and the Ryan White Care Act. Dr. Bayer has been a consultant to the World Health Organization on ethical issues related to public health surveillance, HIV and tuberculosis. His articles have appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, The Lancet, the American Journal of Public Health, and The Milbank Quarterly.

  • Qiana Brown, PhD, MPH, MSW

    • Assistant Professor of Social Work and Urban-Gobal Public Health

    Dr. Qiana L. Brown is an epidemiologist and advanced generalist licensed certified social worker (LCSW). She is an Assistant Professor at the Rutgers University Schools of Social Work and Public Health. She directs the Substance Use Research, Evaluation, and Maternal and Child Health (SURE MatCH) Group at the School of Social Work’s Center for Prevention Science. Dr. Brown’s research uses a person-in-environment approach to examine the role of the built and social environment in shaping substance use and other health outcomes among women, youth, and families – with an emphasis on examining substance use among pregnant and non-pregnant reproductive-age women. Dr. Brown’s peer-reviewed research has been published in top-tier journals, to include JAMA. She is also a member of the editorial boards of Substance Use and Misuse, and the Journal of Substance Use.

    Dr. Brown earned her Ph.D. in drug dependence epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins University. She subsequently completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in substance abuse epidemiology at Columbia University. Both her pre- and postdoctoral research fellowships were funded by NIDA T32 training grants in epidemiology and biostatistics. In 2019, she was selected into the New Jersey Alliance for Clinical and Translational Science (NJ ACTS) Society of Scholars and received a KL2 Career Development Award funded through the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program. In addition to research, Dr. Brown founded and directs a non-profit, community-based, substance abuse treatment center – Jane’s House of Inspiration – where she focuses on helping women, families, and communities address problems related to substance use disorders.

    Publications in My Bibliography

  • Esteban Calvo, PhD, MPH

    • Adjunct Assistant Professor of Epidemiology in Columbia Aging Center (CAC)

    Dr. Esteban Calvo is a life-course sociologist and social epidemiologist interested in positive aging processes. Much of his work aims to identify and understand the social factors experienced across the life course that influence the health and happiness of older adults, as well as to evaluate public policies and interventions that can improve their well-being and benefit society as a whole. His current research agenda includes three threads: (1) assessing the impact of life-course statuses, transitions, and trajectories on a variety of health outcomes, from self-reports to physical measures and biomarkers; (2) understanding how individuals react to social contexts and public policies that they experience over the life course; and (3) improving our understanding of the challenges and opportunities posed by demographic change to aging-related policy throughout the world. His recent publications focus on the health effects of work and retirement, life satisfaction effects of unemployment and pension policy, as well as cultural and structural determinants of social security and health policy reforms worldwide. He is currently engaged in a long-term "cells to society" project, studying patterns of alcohol consumption and cardiovascular health outcomes and mortality among older adults in more than 20 countries. Dr. Calvo is the recipient of awards from the American Public Health Association, American Sociological Association, Gerontological Society of America, and Retirement Research Foundation.

  • Jennifer Elliott, PhD

    • Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology in Psychiatry

    Dr. Jennifer Elliott’s research has focused on HIV and on intervention with substance users. She completed her postdoctoral training in substance abuse epidemiology and studied heavy drinking and drug use in general populations, using the NESARC and other large datasets. She has studied predictors of substance use (e.g., reasons for drinking and abstaining) in high-risk groups, particularly individuals with HIV, which led me to submit a K23 proposal on understanding and intervening with heavy drinking among individuals with HIV and Hepatitis C. Through her research in her K23 grant from NIAAA, she focuses on heavy drinking in high risk medical populations, specifically individuals with HIV and/or liver disease. This research has included studies on the roles of drinking motives, disease-related perceptions, and neighborhood-level factors in understanding problem drinking.

  • Jeffrey Fagan, PhD, JD

    • Professor of Epidemiology and Law

    Dr. Jeffrey Fagan is a professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health and the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. He also is director of the Center for Crime, Community and Law at Columbia Law School, and a former member of the Steering Committee of the Columbia Center on Youth Violence Prevention. He has a broad background in criminology, law and adolescent development, with specific research experience on the interactions of adolescents and criminal justice, especially police contacts. Over the past two decades, he has used a range of analytic techniques to assess the panel structures in both survey and observational data on youth interactions with police and other legal actors, including hierarchical models that address the nesting of individuals and events in larger social structural and legal contexts. He received the Bruce Stone Award from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences and is an elected Fellow of the American Society of Criminology. His book, Changing Borders of Juvenile Justice (Chicago, 2000) was named Best Book in 2002 on Social Policy and Adolescence, by the Society for Research on Adolescence.

  • Daniel Giovenco, PhD, MPH

    Dr. Daniel Giovenco is a behavioral scientist whose research uses geographical information systems, field data collection, and survey data to identify social and environmental determinants of tobacco use disparities. His specific areas of interest include the marketing of non-cigarette tobacco products in diverse communities, the public health implications of tobacco harm reduction, and the co-use of marijuana and tobacco. Dr. Giovenco's research has been published in leading public health journals such as the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the Journal of Adolescent Health, and the American Journal of Epidemiology. He has been invited as an expert speaker to present his research on electronic cigarettes at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. In addition to research, Dr. Giovenco teaches graduate courses in program planning and evaluation. He is a member of the Prevention, Control and Disparities Program at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center and holds a faculty appointment at the Columbia Population Research Center. Dr. Giovenco is a 2016 recipient of the NIH Director's Early Independence Award, a grant from the National Institutes of Health awarded to junior scientists who have the intellect, scientific creativity, drive and maturity to flourish independently without the need for traditional post-doctoral training. His project will examine how the promotion of tobacco products with varying levels of risk differs across neighborhoods and how this may influence harm reduction behaviors and subsequent health disparities.

  • Deborah Hasin, PhD, MSW

    • Professor of Clinical Epidemiology, SAEPT T32 Director

    Dr. Hasin is Professor of Epidemiology at Columbia University. She directs the NIDA T32 Substance Abuse Epidemiology Training Program in the Department of Epidemiology in Mailman, and also directs the Substance Dependence Research Group at New York State Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Hasin conducts research on drug and alcohol use and substance use disorders in the general population and in specialized vulnerable groups. She has published over 400 papers. Her studies are funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), and other organizations. She currently leads four NIH-funded studies, as well as studies funded by other sources, and sponsors and mentors K and other awards of junior scientists. She has led eight additional NIH-funded research studies in the past, and received NIH Senior Scientist and Mentor awards. Dr. Hasin's current studies include the relationship of state marijuana laws to marijuana and other substances; time trends in drug and alcohol disorders in the U.S.; the validity of DSM-5 definitions of substance and psychiatric disorders in national and clinical populations; and randomized trials of the efficacy of interactive voice response (IVR) and smartphone enhancements of brief interventions to reduce drinking and drug use. Dr. Hasin has participated in World Health Organization studies, served on the National Advisory Council to NIAAA, and been a member of the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5 Substance Use Disorders Workgroup.

  • Diana Hernandez, PhD

    • Assistant Professor of Sociomedical Sciences

    Diana Hernandez, PhD, focuses her work on the social and environmental determinants of health by querying the impacts of policy and place-based interventions on the health and socioeconomic well-being of vulnerable populations. Her community-oriented research examines the intersections between the built environment (housing and neighborhoods), poverty/equity and health with a particular emphasis on energy insecurity. Much of her research is conducted in her native South Bronx neighborhood, where she also lives and invests in social impact real estate. Dr. Hernandez is currently a Principal or Co-Investigator on several projects related to structural interventions in low-income housing (i.e. energy efficiency upgrades, cleaner burning fuel source conversions, smoke-free housing compliance, new finance and capital improvement models in public housing and post-Sandy resilience among public housing residents) or otherwise related to alleviating the consequences of poverty on health (i.e. attrition study of the Nurse Family Partnership Program and qualitative evaluation of the Medical Legal Partnership model). Her work is currently funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the JPB Foundation, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, among others. Her research has been published in leading journals including the American Journal of Public Health, Energy Policy, Public Health Reports and Energy Research and Social Sciences. Professor Hernandez teaches Qualitative Research Methods at the graduate level and has also taught undergraduate courses on Health Disparities and Cultural Competence. She has advised numerous master's theses and doctoral dissertations. In addition, she actively engages in a variety translational research activities through consulting, board service and social entrepreneurship.

  • Katherine Keyes, PhD, MPH

    • Associate Professor of Epidemiology

    Katherine M. Keyes, PhD, is an associate professor of epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Katherine's research focuses on life course epidemiology with particular attention to psychiatric disorders, including examination of fetal origins of child and adult health, long-term outcomes of adverse childhood environments, and cross-generational cohort effects on substance use, mental health, and chronic disease. She is particularly interested in the development of epidemiological theory to measure and elucidate the drivers of population health. Katherine is an expert in methodological issues in age-period-cohort effect estimation, and her empirical work in age-period-cohort effect has examined a range of outcomes including obesity, perinatal outcomes, substance use disorders, and psychological distress. She is the author of more than 170 peer-reviewed publications as well as two textbooks published by Oxford University Press with co-author Sandro Galea: "Epidemiology Matters: A New Introduction to Methodological Foundation"( is external and opens in a new window)) published in 2014 and "Population Health Science" published in 2016.

  • Guohua Li, MD, DrPH

    • Finster Professor of Epidemiology and Anesthesiology

    Guohua Li, DrPH, MD, is the Finster Professor of Epidemiology and Anesthesiology and the founding director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention. His research focuses on population-based, injury-related, and policy-oriented studies that encompass novel epidemiological designs, innovative statistical techniques, and complex data systems. He has published extensively on the role of alcohol and other drugs in injury causation and trauma outcomes. Currently, Dr. Li is working on projects aimed at understanding and controlling the epidemic of drug overdose and drugged driving, and uncovering the dynamics of injury risk and injury-disease interaction during the process of aging. Dr. Li is the instructor for the course Clinical Epidemiology (P8450). He also directs the clinical research program in perioperative care and critical care at the Department of Anesthesiology, College of Physicians and Surgeons. Areas of interest include developing practical tools for measuring and monitoring the safety and quality of anesthesia care, identifying and intervening on risk factors for major postoperative complications, and evaluating the long-term effects of trauma and critical illnesses on cognitive functions and health outcomes.

  • Christine Mauro, PhD, MS

    • Assistant Professor of Biostatistics

    Dr. Christine Mauro is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biostatistics at Columbia University. Her research focuses on the application of statistics to mental health disorders, psychiatry, substance use, and health policy. Dr. Mauro’s expertise includes the design and analysis of clinical trials and the analysis of data from observational studies. She has extensive experience with longitudinal data analysis (mixed effects modeling and GEE), psychometric analysis (reliability measures, exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses), and inverse probability weighting for handling missing data. She currently serves as the lead Biostatistician on several interdisciplinary research teams including one that is examining the impact of medical marijuana laws on marijuana use and other substance use related outcomes. Dr. Mauro was awarded the Calderone Junior Faculty Prize (2016) to provide pilot funds to support her research. In 2018, she received The College on Problems of Drug Dependence Early Career Investigator Award.  She also serves as a statistical editor for The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

  • Pia Mauro, PhD

    • Assistant Professor of Epidemiology

    Dr. Pia M. Mauro is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at Columbia University. Her research focuses on substance use epidemiology, access to substance use and mental health services, behavioral health treatment integration and co-location, as well as structural and policy impacts on substance use and treatment. She is interested in health equity and working with vulnerable populations (e.g., juveniles in drug court, older adults, racial/ethnic minorities, immigrant populations, people with mental illness, people using substances). She obtained a PhD from the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, both supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. She has a background in psychology from the University of Notre Dame, and professional experience in SUD treatment program evaluations.

  • Mark Olfson, MD, MPH

    • Professor of Psychiatry and Epidemiology

    Dr. Mark Olfson currently directs several studies on the delivery of mental health services in community settings with an emphasis on the pharmacoepidemiology of psychotic and mood disorders. His research interests focus on national patterns and trends in the utilization of mental health services and quality of care. He recently led a project on the onset and course of substance use disorders and collaborated in a study of successful treatment initiation, stabilization, and retention in buprenorphine treatment of adults with opioid use disorders. Dr. Olfson serves as Co-Director of the AHRQ Center for Education and Research on Mental Health Therapeutics and the Scientific Director of Columbia University TeenScreen.

  • Seth Prins, PhD

    • Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Sociomedical Sciences

    Dr. Seth Prins' two programs of research concern the collateral consequences of mass incarceration for public health, and the effects of the social division and structure of labor on mental illness. Two questions have motivated his work to date: First, what are the theoretical and methodological assumptions underlying the growing use of psychiatric categories, such as antisocial personality, to explain and assess the risk of exposure to the criminal justice system, particularly in the context of mass incarceration? Second, what can we learn about the distribution and determinants of mental illness by examining social class as a dynamic relational process, rather than an individual attribute? He is also working on a project to study the role of adolescent substance use as determinant and consequence of the school-to-prison pipeline, disentangling individual risk, social determinants, and group disparities. He explores these questions at the intersections of epidemiology, sociology, and criminology, combining theory-driven analysis with advanced quantitative methods. Dr. Prins is a social and psychiatric epidemiologist interested in pushing the boundaries of the discipline to encompass rich social theory.

  • Kara Rudolph, PhD, MHS, MPH

    • Assistant Professor in Epidemiology

    Kara Rudolph is an epidemiologist with research interests in developing and applying causal inference methods to understand social and contextual influences on mental health, substance use, and violence in disadvantaged, urban areas of the United States. Her current work focuses on developing methods for transportability and mediation, and subsequently applying those methods to understand how aspects of the school and peer environments mediate relationships between neighborhood factors and adolescent drug use across populations. More generally, her work on generalizing/ transporting findings from study samples to target populations and identifying subpopulations most likely to benefit from interventions contributes to efforts to optimally target available policy and program resources. She completed a PhD in Epidemiology and an MHS in Biostatistics from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar.

  • Kristen Underhill, D.Phil, JD, MSc

    • Associate Professor of Law

    Kristen Underhill is an Associate Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, and she is jointly appointed at the Mailman School of Public Health (Heilbrunn Deaprtment of Population & Family Health).  Her scholarship focuses on health law, with a particular interest in how the law influences individual decisions about risk and health behavior. She teaches health law and torts. Underhill studies how laws and regulations affect individual choices by arranging incentives, shaping opportunities, influencing underlying preferences, and communicating information about social norms. Recent projects have focused on how financial incentives influence attitudes about organ donation; the influence of implicit racial bias in altruistic decisions; dispute resolution for injuries and complaints related to biomedical research; and relationships between harm reduction and risk behavior.  She is also currently completing a five-year study of access to new HIV prevention technologies, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Underhill received her J.D. from Yale Law School in 2011, serving as editor-in-chief of the Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics. Underhill also holds a D.Phil. in evidence-based social intervention from the University of Oxford, and she completed an NIH-funded postdoctoral research fellowship at Brown University's Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies.

  • Melanie Wall, PhD, MS

    • Professor of Biostatistics in Psychiatry

    Dr. Melanie Wall is the director of Mental Health Data Science in the New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) and Columbia University psychiatry department where she oversees a team of 13 biostatisticians collaborating on predominately NIH funded research projects related to psychiatry. She has worked extensively with modeling complex multilevel and multimodal data on a wide array of psychosocial public health and psychiatric research questions in both clinical studies and large epidemiologic studies (over 260 total journal publications). Her biostatistical expertise includes latent variable modeling (e.g. factor analysis, item response theory, latent class models, structural equation modeling), spatial data modeling (e.g. disease mapping), and longitudinal data analysis including the class of longitudinal models commonly called growth curve mixture models. She received a Ph.D. (1998) from the Department of Statistics at Iowa State University, and a B.S. (1993) in mathematics from Truman State University. Before moving to Columbia University in 2010, she was on the faculty in Biostatistics in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota.

  • Brooke S. West, PhD, MA

    • Assistant Professor of Social Work

    Dr. Brooke S. West is an assistant professor at the Columbia School of Social Work and faculty affiliate of the Social Intervention Group and is on the steering committee for the Columbia Population Research Center (PRA: HIV and Reproductive Health). As a medical sociologist, Dr. West’s research focuses on the social, economic, physical and policy factors underlying inequities in health among marginalized and criminalized populations, both globally and domestically. Drawing on both social science and public health approaches, her work centers primarily on the social and structural determinants of substance use and HIV/STI, with newer work examining violence exposure and reproductive health.

    Dr. West is the principal investigator on a NIDA-funded study that examines the intersection of venue-based risk and networks for substance-using women in Tijuana, Mexico, with the goal of capturing the dynamic and overlapping nature of risk environments and how connections to and movement between places can confer health risks. The integration of place-based and network methods, both of which have wide applicability for addressing health inequities in diverse settings, will inform the development of novel intervention approaches that seek to reshape environments and create safer spaces. Dr. West also works on projects related to overdose among women and the health of women more broadly, including the evaluation and development of sexual and reproductive health programs in Kenya, South Africa, Zambia, and the United States.

    Before joining the School of Social Work, Dr. West was an assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) with a dual appointment in the Department of Sociology. Prior to her appointment at UCSD she was a postdoctoral fellow on a T32 focused on substance use and infectious diseases. Dr. West received her PhD in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and her MA in Sociology from Cornell University.