The RWJF Health & Society Scholars program ended February 2017. The site will no longer be updated. More »


The final cohort for Columbia University completed the Program in August of 2016

The Health & Society Scholars Program at Columbia University is a joint initiative of the Mailman School of Public Health and the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP). The Mailman School is a pre-eminent school of public health at the heart of Columbia’s health sciences campus, adjacent to the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, and Nursing. At Mailman, the Health & Society Scholars Program draws from the departments of Epidemiology, Sociomedical Sciences, Population and Family Health, Environmental Health Sciences, and Health Policy and Management.

Located on the university’s Morningside campus, ISERP is the research arm of the social sciences at Columbia. Through workshops, centers and research projects, this interdisciplinary institute joins faculty from sociology, political science, economics and history with their counterparts from professional schools such as Architecture, Law, Business and Social Work. The Health & Society Scholars Program represents an exciting intellectual fusion between a leading center of social epidemiology and a locus of innovative social science research.

Participation in research is the core of the two-year fellowship experience. Each scholar will be matched with one or more research mentors who will guide individual projects or involve the scholar in larger-scale labs and studies. The Columbia community offers a wide range of research opportunities, including a number based in New York City. Particular areas of strength include social and psychiatric epidemiology, environmental health, network modeling and disease transmission, historical and dynamic analysis, and the study of socioeconomic factors, health behavior, and biologic and genetic factors in health.

To build intellectual community and promote professional training, scholars and faculty participate in a weekly seminar structured each year around a general central theme. Seminars are led by scholars and faculty and give participants the opportunity to discuss their research in this cross-disciplinary setting. The program also sponsors short courses in research methods, such as multi-level modeling and network analysis, and a leadership series that introduces scholars to journalists, policymakers and opinion leaders active in the field of health.

Columbia’s program has three co-directors. Bruce Link is professor of Epidemiology and Director of the Inequalities Center and the Psychiatric Epidemiology Training program. Peter Bearman is Cole Professor of Social Science and Director of the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy. Julien Teitler is associate professor of Social Work and Sociology and directs the Social Indicators Survey Center. The program’s 74 affiliated faculty will connect scholars to the rich resources of the Columbia campuses, including: the Institute for Child and Family Policy, a network of leading scholars in social welfare policy; the Columbia Earth Institute, an unparalleled center for environmental science; and a number of other research centers.