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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Committee on Population
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
Rising Midlife Mortality Rates and Socioeconomic Disparities

Committee Biosketches

 (Chair) (NAS) is the James E. Haar distinguished professor of sociology, adjunct professor of public policy, and faculty fellow at the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on social inequality and health with particular interests in health disparities, biodemography, sociogenomics, and life course processes. Professor Harris is director and principal investigator of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), a longitudinal study of more than 20,000 teens who are being followed into adulthood. Under her leadership, the study has pioneered innovative study designs and integrative multidisciplinary research to understand social, environmental, behavioral, biological and genetic linkages in developmental and health trajectories from adolescence into adulthood. Her work has appeared in a wide range of disciplinary journals including demography, genetics, family, epidemiology, biology, public policy, survey methodology, medicine, and social and health behavior. She was awarded the Clifford Clogg Award for Early Career Achievement by the Population Association of America in 2004 and the Golden Goose Award from the US Congress in 2016 for major breakthroughs in medicine, social behavior, and technological research through the Add Health Study. She serves on the National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations of the Census Bureau. Professor Harris is past president of the Population Association of America and an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences. She is the chair of the Committee on Population at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. She has a Ph.D. in demography from the University of Pennsylvania.

MICHAEL E. CHERNEW (NAM) is Leonard D. Schaeffer professor of health care policy and director of the Healthcare Markets and Regulation (HMR) Lab in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School. His research interests focus on innovations in payment reform and benefit design. Professor Chernew is a member of the Congressional Budget Office’s Panel of Health Advisors and a member of the Committee on National Statistics at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. He also serves as vice chair of the Massachusetts Health Connector Board of Directors, research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, co-editor of the American Journal of Managed Care, and editor of the Journal of Health Economics. In 2010, he was elected to the National Academy of Medicine. Professor Chernew has a Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University.

DAVID M. CUTLER (NAM) is Otto Eckstein professor of applied economics in the faculty of arts and sciences at the Harvard Kennedy School. He has examined how population health is changing over time, the importance of medical and non-medical factors in improved health; and its value of increased medical spending. Professor Cutler has written extensively arguing that medical care is more productive than current statistics indicate, and that the medical care cost problem is overstated. He is also interested in the economics of health insurance, and the impact of managed care on the medical system. In 2001, he was elected a member of the National Academy of Medicine. He serves as research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and fellow of the Employee Benefit Research Institute. He has authored two books, several chapters in edited books, and many published papers on the topics of health care and other public policy topics. Professor Cutler has a Ph.D. in economics from MIT.

ANA V. DIEZ ROUX (NAM) is dean and distinguished university professor of epidemiology in the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University. She is internationally known for her research on the social determinants of population health and the study of how neighborhoods, particularly urban neighborhoods, affect health. Professor Roux’s work on neighborhood health effects has been highly influential in the policy debate on population health and its determinants. She has led large NIH and foundation funded research and training programs in the United States and in collaboration with international partners. Most recently, she convened the Network for Urban Health in Latin America and the Caribbean which focuses on promoting research, training, and policies to promote urban health throughout the region. Professor Roux was awarded the Wade Hampton Frost Award for her contributions to public health by the American Public Health Association. She is an elected member of the American Epidemiological Society, the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, and the National Academy of Medicine. She has an M.D. from the University of Buenos Aires, an M.P.H. from the Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health.

IRMA T. ELO is director of the Population Aging Research Center (PARC), and associate chair of the Sociology Department at the University of Pennsylvania. She has served as a member and/or chair of several national and international committees, including: Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS); Census Bureau’s Scientific Advisory Committee (CSAC); sociology section of population for the American Sociological Association; Population Association of America’s (PAA’s) board of directors; PAA’s Committee on Population Statistics; and, International Advisory Board of the Swedish Initiative for Research on Microdata in the Social and Medical Sciences. Professor Elo’s main research interests focus on socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities in health and mortality across the life course and demographic estimation of mortality—she has extended this focus to include health and mortality among racial/ethnic immigrant subgroups. Professor Elo is currently PI of the NIA-funded study, Causes of Geographic Divergence in American Mortality Between 1990 and 2015: Health Behaviors, Health Care Access and Migration. She has a Ph.D. in public affairs and demography from Princeton University.

DARRELL J. GASKIN is William C. and Nancy F. Richardson professor in health policy and director of the Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is a health services researcher and health economist and an internationally recognized expert in health and healthcare disparities. Professor Gaskin has published in the leading health services and public health research journals, including American Journal of Public Health, HSR, Health Affairs, Inquiry, Medical Care, Medical Care Research and Review, and Social Science and Medicine. He serves on the editorial boards of HSR, Medical Care, and Medical Care Research and Review. Professor Gaskin serves on the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He chairs the National Advisory Committee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s System for Action program. Also, he serves on the Board of Directors of AcademyHealth. He has an M.A. degree in economics from MIT, and a Ph.D. in health economics from the Johns Hopkins University.

ROBERT A. HUMMER is Howard W. Odum distinguished professor of sociology and fellow of the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Professor Odum currently serves as vice president of the Population Association of America, deputy editor of Demography, associate editor of Demographic Research, and as a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2010, he was presented with the Clifford Clogg Award for Early Career Achievement by the Population Association of America. His research focuses on the accurate description and more complete understanding of population health and mortality patterns and trends in the United States. Professor Odum has been funded by NICHD and/or NSF throughout most of his career. He is widely published, including journal articles, book chapters, and books. Professor Hummer’s work focuses on the understanding of racial/ethnic, immigrant-native, and socioeconomic differences in population health/mortality, as well as with the effective use of very large data sets to study U.S. health/mortality patterns and trends. He is a member of the Committee on Population at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. He has a Ph.D. in population health from Florida State University.

RYAN K. MASTERS is assistant professor of sociology at the University of Colorado Boulder and faculty associate of the Population Program and Health and Society Program at the University of Colorado Boulder's Institute of Behavioral Science. His interests include the examination of long-term trends in U.S. morbidity, chronic diseases, and mortality rates—his research spans three substantive areas related to these topics. Professor Masters is interested in the health consequences of the U.S. obesity epidemic, especially as it relates to premature mortality among the U.S. adult population. He has been involved in advancing and testing new methodological approaches to studying period-based factors (e.g., health-promoting policies and new medical technologies) and cohort-based factors (e.g., early-life disease exposure) related to adult health. Professor Masters has an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin.

SHANNON M. MONNAT is Lerner chair for public health promotion, associate professor of sociology, and co-director of the Policy, Place, and Population Health Lab in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University (SU). Professor Monnat also serves as senior research associate in the Center for Policy Research at SU and fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. Her research interests broadly fall at the intersection of place, public policy, and health. Her most recent research has focused on opioid abuse and other diseases and deaths of despair, particularly trying to understand why rates of substance abuse and mortality are higher in some places than others. Professor Monnat has published over 50 peer-reviewed academic journal articles, book chapters, research briefs, and reports, and has presented her research to numerous public, academic, and policy audiences. She has a Ph.D. in sociology from the State University of New York at Albany.

BHRAMAR MUKHERJEE is John D. Kalbfleisch collegiate professor of biostatistics, professor and chair of biostatistics, professor of epidemiology, and professor of global public health, at the University of Michigan. She also serves as research professor at the Michigan Institute of Data Science, and associate director of cancer control and population sciences at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center. Professor Mukherjee’s research interests include statistical methods for analysis of electronic health records, studies of gene-environment interaction, Bayesian methods, shrinkage estimation, and analysis of multiple pollutants. She has co-authored more than 200 publications in statistics, biostatistics, medicine, and public health, and is serving as PI on NSF and NIH-funded methodology grants. Professor Mukherjee is founding director of the University of Michigan’s summer institute on Big Data. She serves as fellow of the American Statistical Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is the recipient of many awards for her scholarship, service and teaching at the University of Michigan and beyond. Professor Mukherjee has an M.Stat. in applied statistics and data analysis from the Indian Statistical Institute, an M.S. degree in mathematical statistics from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. in statistics from Purdue University.

ROBERT B. WALLACE (NAM) is Irene Ensminger Stecher professor of epidemiology and internal medicine at the University of Iowa Colleges of Public Health and Medicine. He has conducted many population health studies as well as clinical trials, focusing on the prevention and control of chronic illnesses and other disabling conditions of older persons. He has continuing experience with community interventions related to the prevention of falls and motor vehicle injuries in older persons. Professor Wallace was a member of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, and the National Advisory Council on Aging of the National Institute on Aging. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and has had substantial experience with NAM studies and panels. He is currently involved in several active research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health and is a fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine. Professor Wallace has an M.D. in medicine from Northwestern University, and an M.Sc. in epidemiology from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

(NAM) is director emeritus and senior advisor of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), and professor in the department of family medicine and population health at VCU. At VCU, he also holds the C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright distinguished chair in population health and health equity. Dr. Woolf has edited three books and published more than 200 articles in a career that has focused on raising public awareness about the social, economic, and environmental conditions that shape health and produce inequities. Beyond research, he works to address these issues through outreach to policymakers and the public, including testimony before Congress, consulting, editorials in major newspapers and social media, and speaking engagements. Dr. Woolf served on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2001. He has an M.P.H. in public health from Johns Hopkins University and an M.D. in medicine from Emory University School of Medicine.

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