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

Cynthia Colen, Ph.D., M.P.H.

RWJF Health & Society Scholar:

Sociology, Demography

Area(s) of Expertise:
Health Disparities, Social Demography, Social Stratification & Mobility, Quantitative Methods



Cynthia Colen is a social demographer whose research focuses on the production and intergenerational reproduction of racial and ethnic health disparities, especially as they relate to women’s reproductive wellbeing and perinatal outcomes. She received an M.P.H. (1998) and a Ph.D. (2005) in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of Michigan. She was also a predoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan Population Studies Center. Dr. Colen’s dissertation examined the extent to which upwardly mobile African American and White women in the United States are able to translate their newfound socioeconomic status into beneficial maternal and infant health outcomes. Another area of interest involves exploring patterns of reliance and sources of resiliency within extended kinship networks among members of marginalized populations.  Current research investigates linkages between racial and ethnic inequalities,status attainment processes, and health outcomes; rural/urban patterning of morbidity and mortality; and the role of kinship networks as sources of resiliency among marginalized populations. Most recent work focuses on black/white disparities in mental health outcomes, such as suicide.

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