Sara Adar is an Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Sara has nearly 20 years of experience researching the human health effects of environmental exposures, especially air pollution and noise. She has an active research portfolio within the United States, Asia, Europe, and South America that is supported by funding by the NIEHS, NIA, CDC, and Health Effects Institute. Sara is the Director of the PhD program, an Associate Editor at the Environmental Health Perspectives, a member of the Review Committee for the Health Effects Institute, and the former Secretary/Treasurer of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology. When not at work, Sara enjoys hiking, puzzles, and spending time with her kids.
Amy Kate Bailey
Amy Kate Bailey’s main area of research focuses on historical racist violence in the United States. This scholarship has focused on factors that predict the intensity of mob violence, the characteristics of its victims, and contemporary consequences. Her current project examines the link between communities’ past experiences with collective violence and rates of infant mortality and other adverse pregnancy outcomes today.
Amy is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Institute for Health Research and Policy fellow at the University of Illinois Chicago, and a research affiliate at the University of Washington’s Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology. She was previously on faculty at Utah State University, and completed a postdoc at Princeton University’s Office of Population Research. Prof. Bailey earned her PhD and MA in Sociology from the University of Washington. Her work has been published in the American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, and Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, among other outlets.
Kelly Bakulski, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and the Data Management and Statistical Core Leader for the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. She is a molecular epidemiologist and an environmental health scientist.
Dr. Bakulski’s research team goal is to understand the environmental chemical and genetic etiologies of neurological disorders. She has particular expertise in life course heavy metals exposure testing with dementia and in analyses across multiple levels of the genome, including the epigenome and the transcriptome. Dr. Bakulski’s research incorporates population approaches and laboratory experiments to develop biomarker and cell type tools informing molecular epidemiology inferences.
Philippa Clarke received her Ph.D. in Epidemiology/Social Science and Health from the University of Toronto in 2000. Her research interests are in social epidemiology, social gerontology, life course perspectives, models of disability, and population health. She is primarily interested in the social determinants of health at both the micro and macro levels of social reality and at the intersection of these levels as well.
Her current work examines the role of the built environment on mobility disability, cognitive function, and social participation (with data from the Chicago Community Adult Health Survey); the effect of the urban environment on disability trajectories over time (with national data from the Americans’ Changing Lives Study); the health and social factors influencing the use of assistive devices (with data from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging); and cross-national disparities in disability and psychosocial resources (comparing data from the US Health and Retirement Study and the English Longitudinal Study on Ageing). She is currently funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through a career development (K01) award to use geographic information systems (GIS) to examine the relationship between the built environment and disability progression, and to identify whether older adults living in less accessible neighborhoods are more likely to be admitted to a nursing home over time.
Jennifer D’Souza has been working as a data manager and research analyst with the Adar research group since 2012. She grew up in the Northeast and came to Ann Arbor for college, where she’s remained ever since – earning a BA, MPH and PhD all from the University of Michigan. She started out interested in medicine, but realized that her true calling was public health. Following graduate school, she worked in aging research before moving to her current position with the Adar group, where she feels lucky to be able to do data analysis to address important public health issues. Outside of “work”, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their 3 sons, staying active, and checking out the downtown Ann Arbor scene!
Mike Esposito’s research focuses on understanding the production of racialized disparities in population health.
Dr. Esposito investigates how broad, racialized social systems – and their constituent institutions – are configured in ways that layer privileges on white populations and hazards on BIPOC populations. His research ultimately seeks to understand how these systematically-distributed privileges and penalties arrive on population health.
This work includes studies that examine how the actions of race-cognizant institutions (e.g., law enforcement agencies) contribute to health disparities; research that considers how multiple racialized systems overlap to gate access to generative health contexts; and, projects which demonstrate how structural racism enters and distorts social processes that are foundational to well-being (e.g., the association among education and health).
Dr. Esposito uses contemporary statistical methods – Bayesian and counterfactual-based mediation approaches at the moment – across his work. Esposito’s research has appeared in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; American Journal of Sociology; American Journal of Public Health and more.
Kayla Fike received her Ph.D. in Psychology and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Michigan and is an incoming Assistant Professor in Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt University. She examines how young Black and Brown people navigate and respond to legacies of racialized and classed inequity in urban communities, such as community violence, racial discrimination, and public disinvestment in neighborhoods. Her research program highlights ways that young people of color navigate interpersonal and systemic manifestations of discrimination and rely on their resources and skills to come to thrive. In her newest line of research, she examines potential contributing factors to urban-residing young Black adults’ ratings of the quality of their neighborhoods with specific attention to the role of gender. She is committed to breaking down the divide between academia and minoritized communities by developing community-university partnerships and using participatory action methodology in the future. Last but certainly not least, she is a proud Michigan native, born and raised in Detroit and Pontiac, Michigan.
Caislin Firth, PhD, MPH is a Research Scientist at the Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute (ADAI) at the University of Washington (UW).
Caislin is a social epidemiologist interested in unpacking how public policies shape social and built environments and their influence on health inequities. This pursuit requires interdisciplinary research methods that prioritize community engagement and intersectoral collaborations, given that the mechanisms of change (policy, zoning, infrastructure) often lie outside the purview of public health and academia. With a background working in local government in the Pacific Northwest, Caislin’s research goes beyond answering the questions “do population health interventions (e.g. cannabis legalization) improve health?” by also considering what works, for whom, and in which contexts. In practice, Caislin has studied the underlying causes of inequities in substance use, criminal justice, mobility, and transportation outcomes and the relationships between neighborhood environments and health.
Victoria is a master’s student in the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. Pursuing a degree in epidemiology and public health genetics, she is interested in the relationship between the built environment, structural racism, and epigenetics. Victoria is also the communications manager for the Center for Social Solutions, a racial and social justice research center in the University’s College of Literature, Sciences and the Arts. Prior to entering the public health sphere, she studied contact linguistics where she was introduced to the complex overlap between geopolitics, sociolinguistics, and health outcomes. Upon completing her MPH, Victoria hopes to undertake a PhD in medical anthropology or environmental health with a focus on the development of cities, intersecting cultures, and health.
Jiaqi Gao is a first-year Ph.D. student in the department of epidemiology. She received her MPH in epidemiology degree at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health. Her primary research interests lie in exploring the risk factor of environmental air pollution on various outcomes.
Nebiyat Girma is a research analyst in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. She is part of the Bakulski research team, and her work examines chronic conditions, epigenetic aging and DNA methylation. Nebiyat holds an MPH and certificates in Social Epidemiology and Injury Science from the University of Michigan.
Margaret T. Hicken
Cesar Higgins’ research interests vary from mental health research on sexual minorities to intersectional research on disability and health. Methodologically, he is interested in using statistical methods to test epidemiological theories. In addition, he has been interested in the implementation of time series analysis to better understand populations’ health dynamics. More recently, he has expanded his interest into Bayesian modeling and, missing data, and data simulation.
Sharon Kardia’s main research interests are in the genetic epidemiology of common chronic diseases and their risk factors. She is particularly interested in gene-environment and gene-gene interactions and in developing novel analytical strategies to understand the complex relationship between genetic variation, environmental variation, and risk of common chronic diseases. Her research utilizes genomic, epigenomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic measures on large epidemiological cohorts.
Hedwig (Hedy) Lee is broadly interested in the social determinants and consequences of population health and health disparities, with a particular focus on race/ethnicity, poverty, race-related stress, and the family.
Hedy received her PhD in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009. After receiving her PhD, she was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the University of Michigan from 2009 to 2011. She holds a courtesy joint appointment at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at WUSTL and is a Faculty Affiliate in the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She is also an Associate Director of the Center for Race, Ethnicity & Equity. She currently serves on the research advisory board for the Vera Institute of Justice and the board for the Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Science. She is also a member of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, Committee on Population. Her recent work examines the impact of structurally rooted chronic stressors, such as mass incarceration, on health and health disparities.
Ember McCoy is a PhD student in the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) studying the politics of air pollution monitoring and regulation. She is using a mixed-methods approach to study how and why current US standards fall short in protecting human health in communities facing disparate air pollution burdens, particularly communities of color and low-income. Ember comes from a professional background in community organizing, lobbying, and program development around energy and diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. She is particularly passionate about community-engaged research, scholar activism, and inclusive teaching. Outside of academia, she puts her passions & skills to practice through climate, housing, and labor organizing with the University of Michigan’s Graduate Student Union (GEO 3550) and service on the Ann Arbor Energy Commission.
In the Landscapes of Structural Racism and Health lab, Ember is creating and mapping U.S. segregation measures using ArcGIS Pro and R along with other spatial analysis needs.
Helen C. S. Meier
Helen Meier is an Assistant Research Scientist in the Population, Neurodevelopment, and Genetics Program at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. Broadly, her research examines how social vulnerabilities become biological vulnerabilities resulting in health disparities. She is an epidemiologist and uses a life course framework to understand the molecular pathways by which social and environmental exposures occurring throughout life get “under the skin” to affect adult and later life health. Dr. Meier is specifically interested in the biology of immune aging and immunological dysfunction as key factors in the aging process. Dr. Meier investigates health and health inequities using a multi-level biosocial approach ranging from biomarkers to structural drivers.
Lewis Miles is sociology Ph.D. candidate who uses interdisciplinary approaches in the study of Black life from cradle to grave. His general interests attend to the life course and life histories and how both are shaped by inequality, lived experiences, and relationships to social structures.
Colter Mitchell’s research utilizes a range of biological data types such as epigenetics, neuroimaging, and genetics to better understand how social conditions shape population health. In particular his work uses these biomarkers to elucidate pathways by which social inequalities cause health inequalities. This research uses longitudinal population-based studies where biological data are collected at multiple timepoints. His research also includes the development of new methods for integrating the collection and analysis of biological and social data.
Paul Mohai’s teaching and research interests are focused on environmental justice, public opinion and the environment, and influences on environmental policy making. He is a founder of the Environmental Justice Program at the University of Michigan and a major contributor to the growing body of quantitative research examining disproportionate environmental burdens and their impacts on low income and people of color communities. In 1990, he co-organized with Dr. Bunyan Bryant the “Michigan Conference on Race and the Incidence of Environmental Hazards”, which was credited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as one of two events bringing the issue of Environmental Justice to the attention of the Agency. He is author or co-author of numerous articles, books, and reports focused on race and the environment, including “Environmental Racism: Reviewing the Evidence”, “Race and the Incidence of Environmental Hazards”, “Toxic Waste and Race at Twenty”, and “Which Came First, People or Pollution?”. His current research involves national level studies examining the causes of environmental disparities and the role environmental factors play in accounting for racial and socioeconomic disparities in health. Through a grant from the Kresge Foundation, he is also examining pollution burdens around public schools and the links between such burdens and student performance and health.
Haley Mullen is a second-year M.S. student in UM’s School for Environment and Sustainability, where she is pursuing a degree in Environmental Justice and Geospatial Data Sciences. Since joining the Landscapes Lab in April 2021, Haley has worked on creating geospatial measures of city- and neighborhood-level segregation for the HRS project and carried out geocoding for all waves of the ACL survey. Outside of her work with ISR, Haley is also involved as a Graduate Student Instructor for EAS531: Principles of GIS, and part of the leadership team for SEAS’ Decolonizing Initiative. She is also writing a thesis with Dr. Kyle Whyte on the inclusion of Indigenous peoples in environmental justice screening tools. Upon graduating in April 2022, Haley will be pursuing her PhD in Geographical Sciences with a focus in geographic information sciences.
Konstantinos Papaefthymiou joined Social Environment and Health as a data project manager, having worked as a data curator at ICPSR and a research affiliate at USC CREATE prior. He holds a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Southern California and has contributed to research on topics including disaster resilience and environmental economics.
Devon Payne-Sturges is an Associate Professor with the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health at the University of Maryland, School of Public Health. She also holds a joint appointment in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Maryland, Payne-Sturges served as Assistant Commissioner for Environmental Health with the Baltimore City Health Department then later as the Assistant Center Director for Human Health with U.S. EPA’s National Center for Environmental Research where she focused on biomonitoring for policy analysis, cumulative risk assessment, health impact assessment, environmental health indicator development, children’s environmental health and environmental health of minority populations. She has worked with numerous stakeholders, including relevant state and federal agencies and NGOs in the fields of environmental and occupational health. Her research focuses on racial and economic disparities in exposures to environmental contaminants and associated health risks with the aim of improving the science our society uses to make decisions about environmental policies that impact the health of communities and populations, especially vulnerable, low income and minority populations. She is currently conducting research applying systems modeling to better understand the links between structural racism and cumulative environmental exposures under a K01 award from NIEHS. Payne-Sturges earned her MPH and Doctor of Public Health degrees in environmental health sciences from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Mary Wessel Walker
Chris Wildeman is Professor of Sociology in the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences at Duke University, where he is also Director of the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect (NDACAN), hosted by Cornell University and Duke University. Since 2019, he has also been Professor at the ROCKWOOL Foundation Research Unit in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Prior to joining Duke’s faculty in 2020, Wildeman was Professor of Policy Analysis and Management (PAM) and Sociology (by courtesy), Director of the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research (BCTR), and Associate Vice Provost for the Social Sciences at Cornell University. Prior to that, he was Associate Professor of Sociology at Yale University. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology and Demography from Princeton University in 2008 and his postdoctoral training from 2008 to 2010 as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the University of Michigan.