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


The final cohort for UCSFB completed the Program in August of 2016

The Health & Society Scholars Program at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) combines the strengths of UCSF, an academic health sciences campus with its Center for Health and Community (CHC), and UCB, a broad, research-oriented arts and sciences campus with its School of Public Health (SPH). The conceptual model for the UCSF-UCB program is a triangle whose vertices are context, behavior, and biology, intersecting over stages of the human life course. The goal of our training is for scholars to develop expertise within the conjunction of two or more of these vertices (e.g. in the interaction of context and behavior, context and biology, and/or behavior and biology) and to appreciate how these relationships may change over the span of developmental change.

Both the UCSF and UCB campuses have outstanding research and training programs. The CHC at UCSF, with more than 300 faculty and outstanding pre- and post-doctoral programs, facilitates interdisciplinary research and training on the social, behavioral and policy determinants of health. The SPH at UCB comprises 50 full-time, ladder-rank faculty and 75 adjunct, clinical and teaching faculty. The school’s mission is to create, integrate, and apply knowledge from multiple disciplines to promote health, with particular sensitivity to the value of multicultural perspectives. Taken together, UCSF and UCB incorporate faculty from public health, epidemiology, sociology, psychology, anthropology, history, biostatistics, health education, moral philosophy, demography, urban planning, economics, public policy, neuroscience, human genetics, molecular and cell biology, medicine, nursing, pharmacy and dentistry. The training environment of UCSF and UCB are further enriched by participation of our partner institutions: San Francisco Department of Public Health (DPH), Kaiser Permanente Division of Research (DOR), Northern California Cancer Center (NCCC), Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI), and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI). They provide internship opportunities for research and the translation of research to policy and practice. Our affiliation with the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy (MCHP) at the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Medicine in Canada provides opportunities for cross-national comparisons in approaches to population health.

The program is structured around seminars and involvement in an interdisciplinary working group.  The Health & Society Scholars research seminar provides an overview of research on determinants of population health, and the scholar’s workshop offers opportunities to present works in progress for faculty and peer feedback. In addition, problem-focused working groups will grapple with specific problems or dilemmas within the field of population health (e.g. social health disparities, work and health, ethnicity and birth outcomes) and will conduct relevant, cross-disciplinary research in which scholars will participate.

Scholars may choose from more than 60 faculty to serve as primary or secondary mentors, and we will encourage the selection of at least one mentor from a discipline different from the scholar’s own. Scholars will develop research plans in consultation with mentors and program faculty, take courses at UCSF and UCB, and have opportunities to participate in relevant seminars of other training programs.

The program directors are Drs. Nancy Adler, Ralph Catalano, Robert A. Hiatt, and Barbara Laraia. Dr. Adler is director of the CHC at UCSF and Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics. Dr. Catalano is the director of the Ph.D. Program in Health Services and Policy Analysis and Professor at the School of Public Health at UCB. Dr. Hiatt is Professor and Co-Chair of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at UCSF and the Director of Population Science and Deputy Director of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Laraia is an Associate Professor at the School of Public Health at UCB.