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

Corina Graif, Ph.D.

RWJF Health & Society Scholar:

Sociology, Criminology, Social Demography

Area(s) of Expertise:
Urban Sociology, Crime, Neighborhood Effects, Migration/Immigration, Racial/Ethnic Inequality, Health Disparities


Personal Website:


Corina Graif is an an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at The Pennsylvania State University. She received a PhD in Sociology from Harvard University in 2011 and was a Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor during 2011-2013.  Her work addresses questions at the intersection of  crime and justice, urban inequality, neighborhood effects and mobility, and population health. Her published work focuses among others on the consequences of urban poverty and population diversity on crime and on the dynamics of personal and community social capital. It highlights the role that the severity of crime plays in influencing prossecutorial misconduct, and the relationship between neighborhood violence, immigration, and diversity in multi-ethnic and multi-racial urban US contexts.

In her current research projects, Corina integrates sociological and criminological insights in investigating the effect of spatial inequality on youth delinquency and risky behavior. She examines how the urban geography of inequality shapes the pathways of opportunity for the inner-city poor of different racial/ethnic groups, and how forms of interaction between the immediate and extended neighborhoods affect crime rates, adult obesity, psychological distress, and the risky and delinquent behavior of urban youth.

Corina is interested in conceptual and methodological aspects related to measuring neighborhood effects, spatial contexts, network dynamics, and in survey and experimental design and analysis. Working with studies such as the Moving to Opportunity for Fair Housing Demonstration Program (MTO), the National Neighborhood Crime Study (NNCS), the Census, and the Project for Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN), she predominantly conducts quantitative analyses and uses GIS techniques to create innovative measures of spatial context. Her projects address issues that have strong significance for urban and local policy related to mobility, health, and crime.

Corina's work is published in City and CommunitySocial Psychology Quarterly, American Behavioral Scientist, Homicide Studies, Research in Occupational Stress and Well Being, and by the Russell Sage Foundation. Her projects have been awarded the Howard T. Fischer Prize for Excellence in GIS and recognized by the ASA Sections on Community and Urban Sociology and on Children and Youth. Recently, she received research grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Eliot Fellowship Award from GSAS, and fellowships from the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard and the Alfred Taubman Center for State and Local Government, at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Journal Articles:
Click here for a list of Corina Graif 's available publications in PubMed.