Gillings School Directory

Joanna "Asia" Maselko, ScD

Dr. Joanna Maselko

Joanna "Asia" Maselko, ScD

Associate Professor
Department of Epidemiology
  • 2105E McGavran-Greenberg Hall
  • CB# 7400
  • Chapel Hill, NC 27599
  • USA

Joanna "Asia" Maselko, ScD, is a social and psychiatric epidemiologist. She studies the mechanisms through which the social environment shapes the risk for common mental disorders.

Anchored in a life-course framework, a large portion of her research focuses on the intergenerational transmission of risk and the role of the environment in altering socioemotional developmental trajectories in children.

Dr. Maselko currently is the PI of the SHARE CHILD study, a cluster RCT set in rural Pakistan, which investigates mechanisms through which maternal depression impacts early child development.

The study also examines the role of social contextual factors such as socioeconomic status, family composition and parenting. In another research project in Sri Lanka, Dr. Maselko studies caregiving provided by grandparents and its impact on the health of both grandparent and grandchild.

Dr. Maselko aims to understand the effects of mental health on the effectiveness of interventions aimed at improving population health and other social outcomes. For example, by how much would we expect the effectiveness of a breastfeeding promotion program to be reduced if 25 percent of the target population is depressed? Empirical evidence about the impact of mental health on program up-take and success can help improve program design and implementation.

In a separate line of research, Dr. Maselko has studied the relationship between religious engagement and health, focusing on how gender, race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status affect this relationship.


How important is therapy for expectant mothers with depression? Researchers found mental and financial benefits seven years later.

Representative Courses

EPID 799b: Social Determinants of Global Health

Research Activities

- Global mental health
- Social determinants of health
- Maternal depression and child socioemotional development


ScD, Social Epidemiology, Harvard University, 2004

SM, Health and Social Behavior, Harvard University, 2000

BS, Biological Sciences, University of Alaska-Anchorage, 1996

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