Department of Epidemiology

Social Epidemiology Research


Our mission is to train social epidemiologists who can apply principles of social justice, a core set of epidemiologic skills, and substantive knowledge to study the complex relations between the social environment and health. These are our goals.

  • Provide students with the necessary training and support in advanced social epidemiological methods, theory, and research approaches through course work, seminars, and applied research opportunities.
  • Support students in developing research questions, applying methods and communicating social epidemiologic findings.
  • Foster an innovative and interdisciplinary research environment by exposing students to novel or non-traditional approaches (e.g., systems approaches, biopsychosocial framework), and to relevant disciplines (e.g. policy, health behavior, economics, and sociology).
  • Create opportunities for students to connect and collaborate with multidisciplinary researchers, locally and globally

Program Courses

Related Courses

Core Faculty

Dr. Allison Aiello: Socioeconomics and health, Infectious diseases, Minority health, Ecologic stressors, Mental health.

Dr. Gerardo Heiss: Cardiovascular disease, genetics, metabolic syndrome, hemostasis, carotid ultrasound, and lipids.

Dr. Joanna “Asia” Maselko.

Dr. Brian Pence: Mental health, HIV-related behaviors and health outcomes, Southeastern US and in Africa.

Dr. Whitney Robinson: Health disparities by gender and race, Cancer, Obesity, Decomposition. (Not taking students for Fall 2022)

Dr. Audrey Pettifor: Sexually transmitted diseases, Health behavior, Determinants of and novel interventions for HIV, Sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr. Vic Schoenbach: History of epidemiology, HIV/STD/sexual behavior, Cancer control, Contextual factors, Health disparities.

Dr. Anissa Vines: Perceived racial discrimination, Stress and coping, Chronic disparate conditions (e.g. uterine fibroids, obesity and type 2 diabetes)

Selected Research

The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) is a nationally representative study that explores the causes of health-related behaviors of adolescents in grades 7 through 12 and their outcomes in young adulthood.

The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC), is a prospective epidemiologic study conducted in four U.S. communities. ARIC is designed to investigate the etiology and natural history of atherosclerosis, the etiology of clinical atherosclerotic diseases, and variation in cardiovascular risk factors, medical care and disease by race, gender, location, and date.

The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) is a medical research study involving more than 6,000 men and women from six communities in the United States. MESA is sponsored by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. Participants in MESA are seen at clinics in the following universities: Columbia University, New York Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore Northwestern University, Chicago UCLA, Los Angeles University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Wake Forest University, Winston Salem Pitt County Study.

Epidemiology of Functional Status in Elderly Hispanics prospectively follows 2000 community-dwelling Latinos over age 60 living in the Central Valley of California titled Sacramento Area Latino Study of Aging (SALSA).