Upon completing my Ph.D. in Sociomedical Sciences (a combined degree program in Sociology and Public Health) from Columbia University in 2004, I was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 2004-2006.
As a medical sociologist and public and population health scientist, I study how social factors, such as education, income, race-ethnicity, and social connections impact the physical and mental health of adults, children, and the communities in which they live.
My research focuses on an extensive range of health issues and populations, spanning the life course and domestic and international contexts (primarily the US and Canada, but other international locations as well). Some examples from my past and current projects include early child development, child undernutrition in India, childhood asthma, adolescent HPV vaccination, smoking and alcohol use among adults, body mass index among adult Danish women, substance use and sexual risk among gay men in the city of New York, suicide ideation among Canadian immigrants, fruit and vegetable intake among older adults, and life expectancy/mortality risk among high status individuals (Emmy-nominated actors, Major League Baseball Hall of Fame-nominated players, and US Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates). Most recently, I have developed a related arm of my research program that investigates social, behavioral, and attitudinal factors underlying child vaccination uptake and coverage (and refusal or delay) in the US and Canada.
I have received several awards for my research. Two of these were investigator awards that have supported my program of research: a six year Career Investigator Award from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (2007-2013) and a five year New Investigator Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (2010-2015). In 2014, I was awarded UBC’s Killam Research Prize for contributions to scholarship and in 2015, was selected for a UBC Killam Research Fellowship.
I believe strongly in the importance of sharing my findings and expertise beyond the university campus. I engage frequently with journalists, community and government stakeholders, and the general public about my research and other topics related to population health, community issues, and the importance of research for informing policy (e.g., data access, evaluating evidence).
My comments to the media on these topics have been featured in local, national, and international outlets (for example, Los Angeles Times, Vancouver Sun, CBC, Associated Press, and the Chicago Tribune).
My solo and co-authored publications have been featured in many national and international radio, TV, newspaper, and magazine forums (including Sirius XM “Dr. Radio” channel 81, CBC Radio International, CTV News, Vancouver Sun, Globe and Mail, Macleans, BC Business, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, and Times of India).
The links above provide more details about me and my work.