Training, education, and networking in transdisciplinary disparities research topics. Health Disparities Research Training and Events
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Past Events

Connect @ Cocktail Hour: Health Disparities Research Networking Reception

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Thursday, October 6, 2016
4:00pm-6:00pm
Waterhouse Room, Gordon Hall

Join us for our third annual health disparities research networking event, designed to bring together students, fellows, and faculty from across the university who are interested in health disparities research. Connect @ Cocktail Hour will be informal and festive, with wine, beer, and appetizers served. We'll spotlight research themes, and engage with respective faculty representatives.

Themes selected for this year's event include: Child & Adolescent Health, Community-Partnered Research; Gene-Environment & Personalized Medicine; Global Health & Immigrant Health; LGBTQ Health; Social Determinants of Health & Health Behaviors; Trauma & Violence. Experience working in any of these areas is not required to attend.

Event will also feature live music and raffle prizes for attendees.

Bringing people together is the first step towards strengthening the disparities research community at Harvard. Enjoy conversation, food and drink, meet new people, and learn about the Harvard Catalyst Health Disparities Research Program. We hope you can join us!


Natural Language Processing (NLP) Workshop

Read more for details, including the workshop agenda and video archives.

June 2, 2016
8:00am-1:00pm; lunch will be served
The Fenway Room, The Inn at Longwood Medical

NLP is an informatics tool that can be applied to text reports in electronic health records to abstract standard, coded data elements for analysis. While electronic health records contain a wealth of data about patients and their care, these data are often available only as free text that must be coded for quantitative analysis. This is particularly relevant to data elements that are central to disparities research, like socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and gender identity. This half-day workshop will provide an overview of NLP methods and present several case examples focused on extracting data relevant to health disparities. We are pleased to welcome Jesse Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH, as the keynote speaker. This workshop is intended for researchers who plan to use NLP to answer disparities-related research questions.

Workshop Agenda

Videos of the Symposium

Introduction and Welcome
Jennifer Haas, MD, MSc


Using Natural Language Processing to Advance Our Understanding of LGBT Health Disparities
Jesse Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH


Natural Language Processing Overview
Adam Wright, PhD


Using the MTERMS NLP System to Idenfity Patients with Socio-behavioral Characterisics from Clinical Notes
Li Zhou, MD, PhD


NLP to Examine Patient's Sociodemographic Characteristics from Clinical Text: A Challenge Opportunity
Li Zhou, MD, PhD


The Social Complexity of Patients: How Might NLP Help?
Alyna Chien, MD, MS


Panel 1 Discussion - Q&A
Moderator: Susanne Churchill, PhD


Using NLP to Predict Adverse Outcomes Among Safety Net Populations
Benjamin Cook, PhD


Apache cTAKES and Applications Focused on Autism, Suicidality, and Other Neurodevelopmental Conditions
Guergana Savova, PhD


Panel 2 Discussion - Q&A
Moderator: Margarita Alegria, PhD


LGBTQ Bullying: Translating Research to Action to Improve the Health of All Youth

Read more for details, including symposium agenda, speaker bios, and video archives.

May 10, 2016
8:00am-4:30pm
Joseph B. Martin Conference Center
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA

Overview
This symposium will bring together researchers, clinicians, community members, city and state representatives, and school leaders to discuss how to advance current research and intervention approaches with the goal of improving understanding of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) bullying and its effects on child and adolescent health. This dynamic program will enhance dissemination of new information, foster new cross-disciplinary collaborations, and catalyze development of innovative, evidence-based interventions and policies to decrease bullying, increase resilience, and improve health for all youth. Join the dialogue to address health disparities in sexual and gender minority youth!

Agenda
8:00am-8:30am Registration and Breakfast
8:30am-8:40am Welcome
Mark Schuster, MD, PhD, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School
8:40am-8:50am Introduction
Wayne Maines, EdD, Father to Nicole Maines
8:50am-9:30am Keynote Address
Nicole Maines of Becoming Nicole by Amy Ellis Nutt
9:30am-11:00am Stigma-based Bullying
Jaana Juvonen, PhD, University of California Los Angeles
Wayne Maines, EdD, Father to Nicole Maines
Rebecca Puhl, PhD, University of Connecticut, Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity
David Williams, PhD, MPH, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University
Michelle Williams, ScD, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (moderator)

Stigma-Based Bullying, Overview

Stigma-Based Bullying, Panel Discussion
11:00am-11:15am Coffee Break
11:15am-12:45pm LGBT Bullying & Discrimination
S. Bryn Austin, ScD, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (moderator)
Cameron Hardie, Boston Latin Academy
Mark Hatzenbuehler, PhD, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
Ilan Meyer, PhD, University of California Los Angeles
Sari Reisner, ScD, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
ViQuan Smith, True Colors

LGBTQ Bullying & Discrimination, Overview

LGBTQ Bullying & Discrimination, Panel Discussion
12:45pm-2:00pm Lunch and Breakout Sessions
2:00pm-2:30pm Report Back from Breakout Sessions
Jeff Perrotti, MA, CAS, Massachusetts Safe Schools Program for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning (LGBTQ) Students (moderator)
2:30pm-4:00pm Interventions
Gary Bailey, DHL, MSW, ACSW, Simmons College Graduate School of Social Work, Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences (moderator)
Valerie Earnshaw, PhD, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Dorothy Espelage, PhD, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Sara Forman, MD, Boston Children's Hospital
Polly Gipson, PhD, University of Michigan
Amalio Nieves, MS, Boston Public Schools
Paul Poteat, PhD, Boston College

Interventions, Overview

Interventions, Panel Discussion
4:00pm-4:30pm Closing Remarks
Eliza Byard, PhD, GLSEN

Presenter Biographies

S. Bryn Austin, ScD

S. Bryn Austin, ScD, is an award-winning researcher, teacher, and mentor. She is director of Fellowship Research Training in the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at Boston Children's Hospital, professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and professor in the Department of Pediatrics at HMS. She leads two research training teams as director of the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Expression Research Working Group and director of the Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders: A Public Health Incubator. Austin's primary research is in the behavioral sciences and social epidemiology, addressing distribution and determinants of health disparities adversely affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth.

In addition, her research interests include policy, social, and physical environmental influences on eating disorders risk, nutritional patterns, and physical activity in school and community settings. She has received numerous NIH- and foundation-funded grants to examine sexual orientation disparities in a range of health domains, including disordered weight-related behaviors, overweight, substance use, violence victimization, and other health risk indicators. She is a senior researcher with the Growing Up Today Study, a national prospective cohort of over 27,000 youth living throughout the U.S., helping to lead development and direction of the study's focus on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and health.

Gary Bailey, DHL, MSW, ACSW

Gary Bailey, DHL, MSW, ACSW, is a professor of practice at Simmons College Graduate School of Social Work, and at the Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences. At the School of Social Work, he is the director of the Urban Leadership Program and coordinates the Dynamics of Racism and Oppression Sequence. He chairs the School of Social Work Awards Committee and is a member of the School of Social Works' Curriculum Committee. Bailey was the inaugural chair of the Health and Aging sequence; he is Chair of the Simmons College Black Administrators, Faculty and Staff Council (BAFAS). He is a member of the Dotson Bridge and Mentoring program advisory board; the Center for Excellence and Teaching Advisory Committee; the Simmons Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council (DIAC); and the Simmons College Leadership Council. Bailey served on the Simmons College Faculty Senate and co-Chaired the Simmons College Initiative on Human Rights and Social Justice. In June 2010, he was elected President of the International Federation of Social Workers. He is the first person of color to hold this post. He is a past president of the Massachusetts Chapter of NASW and of NASW National-Washington DC; and was the chairperson of the National Social Work Public Education Campaign. Bailey is a member of the Council on Social Work Educations Commission on Global Social Work Education and also sits on its Committee on Human Rights.

Eliza Byard, PhD

Eliza Byard, PhD, is the executive director of GLSEN, an organization recognized worldwide as an innovative leader in the education, youth development, and civil rights sectors fighting to end bias-based bullying, violence, and discrimination in primary and secondary schools, and promote a culture of true respect for all. Byard joined GLSEN in 2001, and has shepherded the growth of GLSEN's public education and advocacy efforts; student organizing and youth leadership development programs; professional development training for educators and school staff; research and program evaluation capacity; and in-school programming.

During her tenure at GLSEN, Byard has crafted and implemented advocacy and legislative strategies that have won bipartisan support and widespread acceptance of the urgency and importance of LGBT issues in education. The White House has honored GLSEN as a "Champion of Change" and the organization was named a Top 3 National Non-Profit for its impact on LGBT equality. As GLSEN's primary spokesperson, Byard has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor, AC360, CNN, ABC World News, MSNBC, CBS This Morning, ABC 20/20, and National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation, among other programs. She has served on numerous boards and commissions, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Task Force on Homeless LGBT Youth, and is currently a trustee of the America's Promise Alliance.

Valerie Earnshaw, PhD

Valerie Earnshaw, PhD, is an associate scientific researcher in the Division of General Pediatrics at Boston Children's Hospital and an instructor in Pediatrics at HMS. She earned her PhD in social psychology in 2011 from the University of Connecticut, where she pursued additional training in social processes of HIV/AIDS, health psychology, and quantitative research methods. Earnshaw completed post-doctoral training via the NIMH Interdisciplinary HIV Prevention Training Program at Yale University before joining Boston Children's Hospital in 2014. Earnshaw's work contributes to understanding how stigma relates to health outcomes and inequities across the lifespan, and explores what moderates these associations in protective ways. Within the context of this work, she applies an advanced quantitative skillset including structural equation modeling, multilevel modeling, and psychometric evaluation techniques.

Dorothy Espelage, PhD

Dorothy L. Espelage, PhD, is an Edward William Gutgsell & Jane Marr Gutgsell Endowed Professor and Hardie Scholar of Education, in the department of educational psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is the recipient of the APA Lifetime Achievement Award in Prevention Science and the 2016 APA Award for Distinguished Contributions to Research in Public Policy, and is a fellow of APS, APA, and AERA. She earned her PhD in counseling psychology from Indiana University in 1997. Over the last 20 years, she has authored over 140 peer reviewed articles, five edited books, and 30 chapters on bullying, homophobic teasing, sexual harassment, dating violence, and violence against teachers.

Espelage is associate editor of the Journal of Counseling Psychology. She authored a 2011 White House brief on bullying among sexual minority youth and attended the White House conference in 2011. Her research focuses on translating empirical findings into prevention and intervention programming. Her scholarship has been funded by Centers for Disease Control, National Institute of Justice, National Science Foundation, and National Institute of Drug Abuse. Espelage has appeared on many television news and talk shows, including The Today Show, CNN, CBS Evening News, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Anderson, Anderson 360.

Sara Forman, MD

Sara Forman, MD, is a senior associate physician in the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Boston Children's Hospital, where she serves as clinical chief and director of the Adolescent Outpatient Eating Disorders Program. She is also an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. As part of her clinical and administrative roles at Children's Hospital, Forman teaches medical students and residents, and coordinates clinical care services for the busy adolescent/young adult medical practice in Boston. Forman sees primary care adolescent patients in the Adolescent Clinic at BCH, at Bentley University, and at the Germaine Lawrence School, a residential school/treatment center for teenage girls. Forman has presented at many conferences about providing primary care to teens. She has taken a major role in the adolescent learning communities in the Pediatric Physician's Organization of Children's Hospital which have sought to improve care provided to adolescent and young adult patients seen throughout the BCH network. Her research interests include primary care interviewing skills with adolescent patients, and the variability of care in treatment for patients with eating disorders. Forman is a member of the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. She graduated from Barnard College and Harvard Medical School. She completed her residency in Pediatrics at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and a fellowship in Adolescent Medicine at Boston Children's Hospital.

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Polly Gipson, PhD

Polly Gipson, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and clinical assistant professor in the department of psychiatry, child/adolescent section, at the University of Michigan. She serves as the director of the Trauma and Grief Clinic and director of the Frankel Integrated Behavioral Health Program. She is a member of the Youth and Young Adult Depression and Suicide Prevention Research Program. Gipson's expertise is in evidence-based clinical practices, trauma- and bereavement-informed assessment and intervention, suicide risk assessment and intervention, and community-based participatory research.

Gipson is a co-investigator and project coordinator for a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded randomized controlled community-based effectiveness trial, LET's CONNECT. This trial is designed to prevent the initial occurrence of suicidal behavior in youth at elevated risk due to bullying victimization and/or perpetration and/or social disconnectedness. A mentoring program is employed as a suicide prevention strategy. She is the principal investigator for a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant to further investigate the association between mentoring relationship qualities and youth mental health/adaptive outcomes. Gipson's line of research will continue to focus on community-based positive youth development strategies for underserved youth at elevated risk for suicidal and other adverse psychological outcomes.

Cameron Hardie

Cameron Hardie is a non-binary queer senior at Boston Latin Academy who has been involved in their school's Rainbow Alliance and social justice work for the past four years. They work with the Massachusetts State GSA Leadership Council as an avidly involved Boston Regional member. For the last few years Hardie has been working with several community health organizations in an effort to promote education for youth on topics like health and LGBTQ+ history that many don't get in school. In addition, Hardie has spoken to Boston Public Schools educators as part of the GLSEN Massachusetts Professional Development Series within the Empowering Teens Through Health Project. In the Fall, Hardie will be attending UMass Lowell to continue an education that will lead to a meaningful path of helping others and making change.

Mark Hatzenbuehler, PhD

Mark L. Hatzenbuehler, PhD, is associate professor of sociomedical sciences and co-director of the Center for the Study of Social Inequalities and Health at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Hatzenbuehler's research examines how structural forms of stigma, including social policies, increase risk for adverse health outcomes among members of socially disadvantaged populations, with a focus on lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals. He has published 90 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and his research has been published in several leading journals, including the American Journal of Public Health, Social Science & Medicine, Psychological Bulletin, and JAMA Pediatrics.

Hatzenbuehler has received several awards for his work, including the 2015 Louise Kidder Early Career Award from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, the 2016 Early Career Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest from the American Psychological Association, and the 2016 Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformational Early Career Contributions from the Association for Psychological Science. His work has been cited in numerous amicus curiae briefs for cases on status-based discrimination. Hatzenbuehler currently serves as a member of a consensus committee on peer victimization and bullying at the Institute of Medicine.

Jaana Juvonen, PhD

Jaana Juvonen, PhD, is a professor in the Developmental Psychology Program at UCLA. Her area of expertise is in young adolescent peer relationships, specifically bullying, and adjustment. She publishes mainly in developmental journals. Her current work, funded by the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health examines psychosocial benefits and challenges of ethnically diverse middle schools. She is a former recipient of a National Academy of Education Spencer Fellowship, Senior Fellowship of the Academy of Finland, the UCLA Psychology Department Distinguished Adjunct Faculty Teaching Award, and a Graduate Mentoring Award. Her research on bullying and middle schools has been cited in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Atlantic Monthly, Christian Science Monitor, and Time. She was interviewed regarding bullying in a PBS series called This Emotional Life, and appeared more recently on CCTV Full Frame on Cyberbullying.

Nicole Maines

Nicole Maines has proudly told her friends, community, state, and the nation who she is since the early days of elementary school. She has faced a great deal of hardship and loss for doing so, but she has never stopped working to promote social change in her school or her community. Nicole continues to inspire other young people, motivating them to become active in supporting long lasting LGBT change in Maine and beyond. When she was 13, Maines spoke on Maine Public Radio to shine light on what it means to be transgender in Maine. She has also appeared before the Maine Legislature speaking to legislators about transgender children and has lobbied for equal rights at our nation's capital. In 2014, Nicole and her family won a long-standing lawsuit against her school after she'd been forced to use a staff bathroom instead of the girls' bathroom. Maine's Supreme Court ruled that Nicole Maines' rights had been violated under the state's Human Rights Act, marking a historic and landmark victory for transgender rights in the U.S.

Maines attends the University of Maine, majoring in art and theater. She recently made her small-screen debut on USA's Royal Pains, playing a young transgender choreographer named Anna. She joins a growing list of trans actors being cast in trans roles and she hope to do more of this work. Activism and education are core principles that Nicole will continue to promote through public speaking and now in a new best-selling book, "Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family" by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Amy Ellis Nutt.

Wayne Maines, EdD

Wayne Maines, EdD, is first and foremost the proud father of identical twins, his son Jonas Maines and daughter Nicole Maines. Maines and his amazing wife Kelly have worked extremely hard to raise their children in an environment that was not ready for a new generation of transgender children. Wayne is the executive director of Safety, Health Service, Transportation, and Security for the University of Maine System.

Maines is an Air Force veteran, an outdoorsman, and basket maker who has a bachelor's degree from Cornell University and doctor of education degree from West Virginia University. He has been teaching state and national workshops and lectures on such topics as emergency management and safety management, as well as leadership, for the past 20 years. His entire career has focused on motivating people to be safe and to accept change in corporate America and higher education. His goal has been to improve quality of life for everyone by developing and implementing management systems that have a positive impact for people and the bottom-line of their organizations. Now he has turned his attention to using those same skills to introduce the world to transgender children and transgender rights. During the early years, Maines feared things he didn't understand; he hopes that sharing his family's story can help people understand the things they fear more quickly than he did, so that they don't have to make the same mistakes he made.

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Ilan Meyer, PhD

Ilan Meyer, PhD, is the Williams Distinguished Senior Scholar for Public Policy at the Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA's School of Law. Meyer studies public health issues related to minority health. His areas of research include stress and illness in minority populations, and in particular, the relationship among minority status, minority identity, prejudice and discrimination, mental health outcomes in sexual minorities, and the intersection of minority stressors related to sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, and gender. In several highly cited papers, he has developed a model of minority stress that describes the relationship of social stressors and mental disorders, and helps to explain LGBT health disparities.

The model has guided his and other investigators' population research on LGBT health disparities by identifying the mechanisms by which social stressors impact health and describing the harm to LGBT people from prejudice and stigma. Meyer is principal investigator of two important studies, the Generations Study, a study of stress, identity, health, and healthcare utilization across three cohorts of lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals in the U.S., and the TransPop study, the first national probability sample of transgender individuals in the U.S. These study results will provide a more accurate and detailed picture of the issues faced by transgender people than has been available to researchers and policy makers to date.

Amalio Nieves, MS

Amalio Nieves, MS, is the Assistant Superintendent of Social Emotional Learning and Wellness for Boston Public Schools (BPS). This newly created position is believed to be the first such cabinet-level post in a public school district in the nation. In this role, Nieves helps BPS focus its resources on students who need social emotional instruction or assistance—ranging from early-age lessons on interpersonal interaction to assisting students and families who have gone through a traumatic event. He has spent more than 30 years in the field of education. Prior to his current position, Nieves served as Director of the Diversity, Prevention, and Intervention Department in Broward County, the sixth-largest U.S. school district. He led Broward's efforts to adopt the first anti-bullying policy in Florida, which led to lower rates of bullying—with Broward students reporting 3% less bullying incidents compared to other students in Florida, and 7% fewer incidents compared to students nationwide. He spearheaded efforts to eliminate the "school-to-prison pipeline" by signing a historic collaborative agreement on school discipline and helped to develop the nationally recognized PROMISE initiative. Nieves has championed policies and led initiatives on topics including multi-tiered systems of support, positive behavior intervention supports, racial equity, human relations, violence prevention, peer counseling, substance abuse prevention, LGBTQ inclusion, character education, and sexual health.

Jeff Perrotti, MA, CAS

Jeff Perrotti, MA, CAS is the Director of the Massachusetts Safe Schools Program for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning (LGBTQ) Students, an anti-bullying initiative of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) and the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth. He is the co-author with Kim Westheimer of the book, When the Drama Club is Not Enough. Perrotti has conducted numerous workshops on gender, sexual orientation, and school climate for school administrators, counselors, nurses, coaches, teachers, parents, and students. Perrotti facilitated the development of ESE's pioneering Guidance on Gender Identity and has assisted many schools and families in orchestrating a thoughtful, comprehensive, and successful process where students have transitioned their gender. Perrotti also teaches and advises students at Harvard University, where he has received several awards for excellence in teaching.

V. Paul Poteat, PhD

V. Paul Poteat, PhD, is associate professor in the department of Counseling, Developmental, and Educational Psychology at Boston College. His research on homophobic bullying uses an ecological framework to consider individual and peer factors that contribute to such behavior and that buffer against its effects. His work has also examined factors associated with supportive attitudes and behaviors toward LGBT youth. Recently, Poteat has focused on how gay-straight alliances (GSAs) promote resilience. This work has identified specific components of GSAs related to positive health outcomes. He is now collaborating with Drs. Jerel Calzo and Hiro Yoshikawa on an NIH-funded grant to examine specific mechanisms by which GSAs promote health among youth, with a particular focus on youth of color.

Poteat is an editorial board member for the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, Journal of Research on Adolescence, and Journal of Counseling Psychology. He is also an associate editor for The Counseling Psychologist (APA Division 17), and is a guest co-editor with Drs. Nicholas Heck and Carol Goodenow for an upcoming special section on Advances in Research with LGBTQ Youth in Schools in Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity (APA Division 44).

Rebecca Puhl, PhD

Rebecca Puhl, PhD, is professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Connecticut, and deputy director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. She leads research and policy efforts aimed at reducing weight-based stigma and victimization, and improving the quality of life of children and adults affected by obesity. Puhl received her PhD in clinical psychology from Yale University. She has conducted research on weight stigma for over 15 years, resulting in over 100 publications on topics including weight-based bullying in youth, weight stigma in healthcare and the media, the impact of weight-based victimization on emotional and physical health, and interventions and policy strategies to reduce weight-based bullying and discrimination.

As a leading national expert, Puhl has testified in state legislative hearings on weight discrimination and routinely provides expertise to state departments of health and national health organizations. She regularly presents at regional, national, and international meetings, and has appeared numerous times in the national and international media. She has also developed evidence-based trainings to reduce weight stigma in healthcare that have been implemented in medical facilities across the country.

Sari Reisner, ScD

Sari Reisner, ScD, is an assistant professor of pediatrics at HMS, associate scientific researcher in the Division of General Pediatrics at Boston Children's Hospital, fellow in the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and an affiliated research scientist at The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health. Trained as a social and psychiatric epidemiologist, his global health research portfolio has three primary areas of focus: (1) health disparities and inequities in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) populations, with specialization in local, national, and global transgender and gender nonconforming health; (2) HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in marginalized, underserved populations, including biobehavioral intervention design and development; and (3) mental health and substance use/abuse risks and resiliencies in adolescents and young adults. Reisner is PI or co-PI of seven funded studies in transgender health with funding from sources including NIH, PCORI, and amFAR. He has published more than 90 peer-reviewed journal articles, and utilizes a participatory population perspective, working "with," not "on" communities in the design and conduct of epidemiologic research, programming and evaluation, education and training, and policy and advocacy efforts.

Mark Schuster, MD, PhD

Mark Schuster, MD, PhD, is the William Berenberg Professor of Pediatrics at HMS, and the chief of general pediatrics and vice chair for Health Policy in the Department of Medicine at Boston Children's Hospital. He conducts research on child, adolescent, and family health, including quality of care, health disparities, adolescent sexual health, obesity prevention, and family leave. His recent study on the bullying of sexual minority youth was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, and the published version of his speech, "On Being Gay in Medicine," has been widely circulated and used as a teaching tool at medical schools. He coauthored the book, Everything You Never Wanted Your Kids to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid They'd Ask), and has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, ESPN, and NPR.

Schuster served as president of the Academic Pediatric Association for 2014-2015, and serves as co-chair of the HMS LGBT Advisory Committee. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine), where he served on the committee that drafted the report, "The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding." He is a recipient of the Society for Pediatric Research Richardson Award for lifetime achievement, and the HMS Barger Excellence in Mentoring Award. He received his BA summa cum laude from Yale, his MD from HMS, his MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and his PhD from the Pardee RAND Graduate School.

ViQuan Smith

ViQuan Smith was born in Rochester NY and at a young age, moved to Boston to live with his aunt. At the age of 10 Smith was placed in foster care and due to that, has lived all over the state of Massachusetts. His interest in theater began in the 4th grade and continued throughout grade school with participation in plays, musicals, and show choir. Smith was introduced to The Theater Offensive & True Colors Out Youth Theater in 2010 and has been working with them since then. While working with True Colors Out Youth Theater, he has helped write original plays on bullying, abuse, acceptance, dreams, and many other topics. Smith has presented workshops about using theater as a tool for social justice, HIV prevention and transmission, and hip-hop and queer performance at national and local conferences, as well as participated in a national survey on youth leadership in queer youth theater. He still works with The Theater Offensive and True Colors Out Youth Theater as a coordinator of their Leadership and Inclusion Council and is a current member and peer leader of the youth theater ensemble. By using theater and performance as a tool for activism, Smith hopes to educate the world one performance at a time.

David Williams, PhD, MPH

David Williams, PhD, MPH, is the Florence and Laura Norman Professor of Public Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. His prior academic appointments were at Yale University and the University of Michigan. The author of more than 385 scientific papers, his research has enhanced our understanding of the ways in which social factors, including socioeconomic status, race, stress, racism, health behaviors, and religious involvement can affect health. He developed the Everyday Discrimination Scale - a widely used measure of discrimination in health studies. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was ranked as one of the top 10 Most Cited Social Scientists in the world in 2005, as the Most Cited Black Scholar in the Social Sciences in 2008, and as one of the World's Most Influential Scientific Minds in 2014. He or his research has been featured by some of the nation's top news organizations and he was a key scientific advisor to the award-winning PBS film series, Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick? He holds an MPH from Loma Linda University and a PhD in sociology from the University of Michigan.

Michelle Williams, ScD

Michelle A. Williams, ScD, is the dean designate, Stephen B. Kay Family Professor of Public Health, and chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Previously a Professor of Epidemiology and Global Health at the University of Washington School of Public Health, Williams has a longstanding relationship with the HSPH Department of Epidemiology from which she received her doctorate in 1991. She has published over 415 scientific articles and has received numerous research and teaching awards, including the American Public Health Association's Abraham Lilienfeld Award. In 2011, President Barack Obama presented Williams with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring. Williams' major research interests lie in the areas of women's reproductive health and child health. Her work focuses on integrating genomic sciences and epidemiological research methods to identify risk factors, diagnostic markers, treatments, and prevention targets for disorders that contribute to maternal and infant mortality. Her current activities include research and teaching collaborations with clinicians, researchers, and public health administrators in Peru, Chile, Thailand, and Ethiopia.

Sponsored by the Harvard Catalyst Health Disparities Research Program, the Williams Institute at UCLA Law, Harvard Medical School Office for Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership LGBT Office, and Boston Children's Hospital.

Harvard Catalyst Williams Institute
Harvard Medical School Office for Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership LGBT Office Boston Children's Hospital

Telomere Length & Stress Workshop: Incorporating Novel Methods into Disparities Research

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April 27, 2016
1:30pm-3:30pm
Ware Room, 5th Floor Countway Library
10 Shattuck St, Boston

Recent studies have shown that changes in diet, exercise, stress, and social support may result in longer telomeres, the ends of chromosomes that affect longevity. Telomeres maintain genomic stability by protecting against nucleolytic decay, end-to-end chromosomal fusion, and subsequent atypical recombination. Telomere length is determined by genetics and environment. Evidence that telomeres measure the accumulation of environmental and biochemical trauma to the genome has piqued recent interests. This workshop will provide a small group of early-career investigators an introduction to environmental and lifestyle correlates of telomere length and educate on the design of human studies featuring telomeres. Participants will receive individualized help in assessing how this methodology might be incorporated into their proposal under development, with a critical look at how their proposal might advance disparities research.

This workshop is tailored to junior faculty in the process of developing a K, R23, or R01 proposal that either: (1) is disparities-focused, but could benefit from the addition of cutting edge methods such as telomere analyses to strengthen the proposal; OR (2) already includes telomeres as a methodology, but would be strengthened by the addition of a disparities-focused aim. Participants will receive help identifying resources and collaborators, as well as additional expertise, as needed, including targeted grant development consulting support post-workshop.

This training opportunity is part of the Gene-Environment and Disparities Grant Development Workshop Series offered by the Harvard Catalyst Health Disparities Research Program in partnership with the Harvard/MGH Center on Genomics, Vulnerable Populations, and Health Disparities.


Boston Children's Hospital Informatics Clinic for Disparities Research: Introduction to i2b2 and Childrens 360

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Date: Thursday, September 17, 2015
Time: 11:00am-1:00pm
Location: Board Room, Wolbach Bldg, Boston Children's Hospital

For investigators interested in using i2b2 and Childrens 360 for research on health disparities, this clinic will provide an overview of these systems, a tutorial on how to conduct queries, and a case example of how these data have been used in research related to health disparities.

Participants will receive personalized feedback and assistance specific to their population and research question of interest. Class size will be limited to approximately 10 individuals in order to allow for individual attention and support. Participants will be selected by faculty of the Harvard Catalyst Health Disparities Research Program, based on query feasibility and disparities-relevance of project, as described in a brief application form.

Eligibility: Clinic participants must be BCH affiliates and have a BCH username and password, or have a collaborator who is a BCH affiliate with a BCH username and password.

Childrens 360 is the web-based enterprise data warehouse (EDW) drawing from the multiple information streams used at the organization (e.g. Cerner for clinical information, Epic for registration, Finance for billing, etc). Users can search the EDW based on variables from any of these sources for operational reports. The system can be used for research purposes with the Business Intelligence team.


Connect @ Cocktail Hour: Disparities Research Networking Reception

Read more for details.

Monday, September 28, 2015
4:00pm-6:00pm
Waterhouse Room, Gordon Hall

Join us for our second annual health disparities research networking event, designed to bring together students, fellows, and faculty from across the university who are interested in health disparities research. Connect @ Cocktail Hour will be informal and festive, with wine, beer, and appetizers served. We'll spotlight research themes, and engage with respective faculty representatives.

Themes selected for this year's event include: Child & Adolescent Health; Data Science & Bioinformatics; Epigenetics; Immigrant Health; LGBT Health; Health Policy, Health Economics, & Health Services Research; Population & Community Health; Spirituality & Palliative Care; Social Determinants of Health. No experience working in any of these areas is required to attend.

Event will also feature:

  • A cappella performance by the Harvard Callbacks
  • Raffle to win prizes

Bringing people together is the first step towards strengthening the disparities research community at Harvard. Enjoy conversation, food and drink, meet new people, and learn about the Harvard Catalyst Health Disparities Research Program. We hope you can join us!


Disparities in Outcomes after Trauma: Why They Exist and How We Can Eliminate Them

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Trauma Surgery had long been thought to be one of the few areas in healthcare that would be immune to healthcare disparities due to perceived universal access to emergency care. Therefore, nearly a decade ago when inequities in trauma outcomes based on race and socioeconomic disparities were first described they were met with great skepticism. Presented by Adil Haider, MD, MPH, this lecture will describe the development of the field of trauma disparities research and then present work conducted to understand the mechanisms that lead to these unequal outcomes, including provider factors such as physicians' unconscious biases and systemic factors such as poor performance of minority serving hospitals. He will then discuss proposed solutions and ongoing projects aimed at mitigating disparities in trauma and surgery. Finally he will seek audience input on these programs and guidance on how they can be improved.

Adil Haider, MD, MPH, is an active trauma and critical care surgeon, prolific researcher, and the recently appointed Kessler Director for the Center for Surgery and Public Health (CSPH), a joint initiative of BWH, HMS, and the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. Haider is credited with uncovering racial disparities after traumatic injury in the US and establishing the field of trauma disparities research. He is regarded as one of the foremost experts on healthcare inequities in America, with projects focused on exploring and mitigating unequal outcomes based on sex, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, and socioeconomic status. In addition, he is regarded as an international expert in long-term clinical and functional outcomes after trauma and emergency general surgery, optimal treatment of trauma/critically ill patients in resource-poor settings, and advanced analytic techniques for surgical health services research.

Haider has formally mentored more than 80 research trainees and published over 140 peer-reviewed manuscripts. He currently serves as a PI on grants worth more than seven million dollars, including the EQUALITY study, which is focused on developing patient-centered approaches for collecting sexual orientation and gender identity information from patients in the emergency department. His accomplishments have been recognized with a K23 grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, the highly coveted American College of Surgeons' Jacobson Award, and more than twenty other foundation and intramural awards. Haider believes that equality is the cornerstone of medicine, and his professional goal is to eradicate disparities in healthcare in the US.


Cutting-Edge Methods for Exploring the Connection between Air Pollution and Health Disparities

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Friday, April 17, 2015

This workshop by Francine Laden, ScD, and Gary Adamkiewicz, PhD, MPH, will provide a small group of early-career investigators an introduction to measuring outdoor and indoor air pollution exposures and to incorporating these measures into epidemiologic studies. Participants will receive personalized training and ongoing support as they work to incorporate these methodologies into their proposal under development, with a critical look at how their proposal might advance disparities research.

Disparities in health and healthcare are pervasive and persistent. Differences in environmental exposures in general, and air pollution in particular, have been suggested as a source of such disparities in the U.S. and elsewhere. We will discuss different methodologies, provide an overview of sources of information about air pollution exposures, and provide some key examples, focusing specifically on sources of health disparities. We will speak briefly about measurement error and biases that need to be considered in the design and analysis of epidemiologic studies of outdoor air pollution. We will also talk about how housing factors can both shape indoor exposures and modify outdoor exposures.

Eligibility: This workshop is tailored to junior faculty in the process of developing a K, R23, or R01 proposal that either: (1) is disparities-focused, but could benefit from the addition of cutting-edge air pollution measurement methods to strengthen the proposal; OR (2) already includes air pollution measurement, but would be strengthened by the addition of a disparities-focused aim. Participants will receive help identifying resources and collaborators, as well as additional expertise, as needed, including targeted grant development consultation post-workshop.

This training opportunity is offered by the Harvard Catalyst Health Disparities Research Program in partnership with the Harvard/MGH Center on Genomics, Vulnerable Populations, and Health Disparities.


Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Informatics Clinic for Disparities Research: Introduction to Clinical Query 2 (CQ2) and the InSIGHT Core

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Monday, January 12, 2015

For investigators interested in using the BIDMC clinical data repository for research on health disparities, this clinic will provide an overview of Clinical Query 2 (CQ2) and the InSIGHT Core, a tutorial on how to conduct queries, and a case example of how CQ2 and InSIGHT has been used in research related to health disparities.

Participants will receive personalized feedback and assistance specific to their population and research question of interest. Class size will be limited to approximately 10 individuals in order to allow for individual attention and support. Participants will be selected by a faculty committee of the Harvard Catalyst Health Disparities Research and Biomedical Informatics Programs, based on query feasibility and disparities-relevance of project, as described in a brief application form.

Clinical Query 2: Clinical Query 2 (CQ2) provides investigators with a web-based interface to BIDMC's clinical data repository. Users can run aggregate count queries to determine the number of patients who match a set of inclusion or exclusion criteria. CQ2 contains demographics, diagnoses, medications, laboratory test results, procedures, vital signs, and visit details on more than two million patients going back to 1997.

To access CQ2, login to the BIDMC site, click Applications, and then click the Clinical Query 2 link in the Research section.

InSIGHT Core: The InSIGHT Core helps researchers and quality improvement teams use the vast array of data available in today's healthcare world. As a part of operations, BIDMC collects and stores large amounts of electronic data. High-quality analysis of this data requires iterative refinement of queries and cohort building by experts familiar with both the data and with working with investigators and improvers. The InSIGHT Core provides a translation layer, helping our researchers and QI teams get access to reliable, high-quality data in a way they can use it.


Telomere Length & Stress Workshop:
Incorporating Novel Methods into Disparities Research

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

This workshop will provide a small group of early-career investigators an introduction to environmental and lifestyle correlates of telomere length and educate on the design of human studies featuring telomeres. Participants will receive individualized help in assessing how this methodology might be incorporated into their proposal under development, with a critical look at how their proposal might advance disparities research.

Recent studies have shown that changes in diet, exercise, stress, and social support may result in longer telomeres, the ends of chromosomes that affect longevity. Telomeres maintain genomic stability by protecting against nucleolytic decay, end-to-end chromosomal fusion, and subsequent atypical recombination. Telomere length is determined by genetics and environment. Evidence that telomeres measure the accumulation of environmental and biochemical trauma to the genome has piqued recent interests.

Eligibility:
This workshop is tailored to junior faculty in the process of developing a K, R23, or R01 proposal that either: (1) is disparities-focused, but could benefit from the addition of cutting-edge methods such as telomere analyses to strengthen the proposal; OR (2) already includes telomeres as a methodology, but would be strengthened by the addition of a disparities-focused aim. Participants will receive help identifying resources and collaborators, as well as additional expertise, -as needed, including targeted grant development consultation post-workshop.

Application:
Interested participants must apply by 5pm Thursday, November 13. You will be notified by email on November 17 whether or not you have been accepted into the workshop. The number of participants will be limited to ensure individualized attention. Participants will be selected based on judgment by a faculty committee of the Harvard Gene, Environment, and Disparities Research Initiative (a project of the Harvard/MGH Center on Genomics, Vulnerable Populations, and Health Disparities) regarding the potential success of the proposal in development. We are specifically looking for proposals developed to the extent that a little help will make a big difference.

This training opportunity is offered by the Harvard Catalyst Health Disparities Research Program in partnership with the Harvard/MGH Center on Genomics, Vulnerable Populations, and Health Disparities.


Spirituality, Health, and Health Disparities Symposium:
Challenges and Opportunities for the Field

Read more for the full agenda, video archives, and presenter biographies.

December 4, 2014

This transdisciplinary symposium engaged post-docs and faculty from diverse disciplines to address the role of spirituality and religion in health and health disparities. Panels addressed challenges in measuring spirituality; biological pathways through which spirituality may operate to affect the etiology of disease; and the effect of spirituality across diverse communities on patients' healthcare decision-making, treatment, and outcomes. This symposium laid the groundwork for future research collaborations across Harvard Catalyst institutions and across disciplines.

View the symposium program

Sponsored by:
The Harvard Catalyst Health Disparities Research Program
The Harvard/MGH Center on Genomics, Vulnerable Populations, and Health Disparities
The John Templeton Foundation

Videos of the Symposium

Welcome and Opening Remarks
Alexandra E. Shields. PhD


Panel 1 Introduction: Defining Spiritual Experience: What is the Transformative Experience we are Trying to Measure?
Diana Eck, PhD, MA


A Presence that Disturbs
Sr. Marie Chin, RSM


From a Career in Medicine to a Ministry of Healing: Lessons Learned Along the Way
Rev. Gloria E. White-Hammond, MD


Healing & Wellbeing: A Buddhist Perspective
Ven. Tenzin Priyadarshi, PhD

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Panel 2 Introduction: What are the Greatest Challenges in Trying to Capture that Transformative Experience in Self-Reported Survey Questions?
Kenneth I. Pargament, PhD


Measuring Spiritual Constructs in Studies of Health: Exploring the Role of God-Mediated Control
Neal Krause, PhD


Measuring Religiosity
Harold G. Koenig, MD, MHSc


Measuring Ordinary Spiritual Experience in Diverse Populations using the Daily Spiritual Experience Scale (DSES)
Lynn Underwood, PhD


Spiritual Struggle
Kenneth I. Pargament, PhD

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Discussion between Panel 1 and 2 Participants
Alexandra E. Shields, PhD; Diana Eck, PhD, MA; Sr. Marie Chin, RSM; Rev. Gloria E. White-Hammond, MD; Ven. Tenzin Priyadarshi, PhD; Kenneth I. Pargament, PhD; Neal Krause, PhD; Harold G. Koenig, MD, MHSc; Lynn Underwood, PhD


Panel 3

Spirituality in the Age of Epigenomics
Andrea Baccarelli, MD, PhD, MPH


Gene Expression in the Inflammatory Pathway Elicited by Mindfulness Interventions
Towia A. Libermann, PhD


Spiritual Well-being, Religious Activity, and Cardiometabolic Risk: Results from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos Sociocultural Ancillary Study
Carrie E. Brintz, MS


Mechanisms Linking Religion and Health: Exploring the Social Side of Religious Life
Neal Krause, PhD

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Panel 3 Discussion: Spirituality and Measurable Disease Risk
Neal Krause, PhD; Andrea Baccarelli, MD, PhD, MPH; Towia A. Libermann, PhD; Carrie E. Brintz, MS


Panel 4 Introduction: Judging the Value of Spirituality Measures: Principal Investigators' Perspectives
Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, PhD


Southern Community Cohort Study (SCCS)
Lisa B. Signorello, ScD


Black Women's Health Study (BWHS)
Lynn Rosenberg, ScD


Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL)
Frank J. Penedo, PhD

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Jackson Heart Study (JHS)
Herman Taylor, MD, MPH


Panel 5 Introduction: Religion, Spirituality, and Patients' Healthcare Decision-Making
David R. Williams, PhD, MPH


Adolescent Substance Use: Equal Opportunity Disorders with Spiritual Solutions
John R. Knight, MD


Narratives of Spirituality among African American Smokers: Implications for Pharmacotherapy Use
Alexandra E. Shields, PhD


Religious Beliefs and Stage at Presentation in a Bi-Racial Sample of Patients Newly Diagnosed with Colon Cancer
George Fitchett, DMin, PhD

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Spirituality and Disparities in End of Life Medical Decision-Making and Care
Tracy Balboni, MD, MPH


Panel 5 Discussion: Religion, Spirituality, and Patients' Healthcare Decision-Making
David R. Williams, PhD, MPH; John R. Knight, MD; Alexandra E. Shields, PhD; George Fitchett, DMin, PhD; Tracy Balboni, MD, MPH

Speaker Biographies

Andrea Baccarelli, MD, PhD, MPH, is the Mark and Catherine Winkler Associate Professor of Environmental Epigenetics in the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard School of Public Health. His past positions include Assistant Professor of Environmental Health in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health in the University of Milan School of Medicine (Italy), as well as Director of the Center of Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology in the Maggiore Hospital Research Foundation (Milan, Italy). Dr. Baccarelli's research focuses on epigenomics as a unique molecular substrate reflecting the impact of environmental exposures on human health. Epigenetic marks, including DNA methylation, histone modifications, and non-coding RNAs, modify chromatin structure and gene expression without changing the underlying DNA sequence. Dr. Baccarelli's laboratory is dedicated to the investigation of environmental epigenetics at different life-stages. His ongoing projects range from the investigation of the effects of in-utero exposures to toxic metals, second-hand smoking, and psychosocial stress on the methylome of human fetal tissues to the study of the influences of air pollution on non-coding miRNA in adult and elderly individuals. Epigenetic mechanisms are investigated in relation to fetal growth and perinatal outcomes, cardiovascular function, obesity, and neuro-cognition. Since 2010, Dr. Baccarelli's laboratory has produced approximately 130 publications in epigenetics, environmental health, and epidemiology. In addition to his research, Dr. Baccarelli is a Fellow and Member of the Council of Functional Genomics and Translational Biology for the American Heart Association. He also is a member of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Working Group on the Role of Epigenetics in Blood Pressure Regulation and Development of Hypertension. Dr. Baccarelli earned his MD from the University of Perugia, Italy, his PhD from the University of Milan, Italy, and his MPH from the University of Turin, Italy. He completed his residency (Endocrinology) at the University of Milan, and a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institute's Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics.

Tracy Balboni, MD, MPH, currently serves as an Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology at Harvard Medical School, and acts as Director of the Supportive and Palliative Radiation Oncology Service at the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center - a service dedicated to the palliative radiation therapy needs of cancer patients. She is also a physician in the Departments of Radiation Oncology and Palliative Care. Inspired to study the spiritual needs of dying patients because of her work as an oncologist, her research has received national attention. Her primary research interests are located at the intersection of oncology, palliative care, and the role of religion and spirituality in the experience of life-threatening illness. Her research endeavors have included examining religion and spirituality in the experience of advanced cancer as part of the ongoing NIH-funded Coping with Cancer study. Dr. Balboni's research work at the intersection of spirituality and cancer care has received awards from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the National Palliative Care Research Center, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Her work also includes forging improved dialogue between academic theology, religious communities, and the field of medicine.

Carrie E. Brintz, MS, is a fifth-year doctoral student of Clinical Health Psychology at the University of Miami. She is training under the research mentorship of Drs. Maria Llabre, Neil Schneiderman, and Frank Penedo. Her research interests include the relationship between psychosocial constructs and cardiometabolic health, quality of life, and coping in people with chronic illness, and health behavior promotion. She is currently analyzing data from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos, a multi-center epidemiologic study of disease prevalence and risk and protective factors in Hispanic/Latino populations. She is examining how spirituality, religiosity, and other psychological and cultural constructs relate to cardiometabolic health in Hispanics/Latinos. Her doctoral dissertation is examining sedentary behavior and cardiometabolic risk in the Community Approach to Lifestyle Modification for Diabetes, a randomized controlled trial examining the effects of a multicomponent lifestyle intervention for overweight/obese diabetic patients with depressive symptoms. She holds a BA in Psychology and in Health: Science, Society, and Policy from Brandeis University and an MS in Clinical Psychology from the University of Miami.

Sr. Marie Chin, RSM, is Coordinator/Administrator of the Jamaica Region of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas and has been a Sister of Mercy since 1961. She is also the Director of Formation for the Jamaica Region of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas and the Vicar for Religious at the Archdiocese of Kingston, Jamaica. Sister Marie is actively involved in the ministry of spiritual direction, retreats, and facilitating reflection groups on various topics, especially in the areas of spirituality, religious life, and multiculturality, in the Caribbean, the Pacific, Asia, the United States, and Ireland. She has travelled extensively, crossing many cultural and national boundaries. Born and schooled in Jamaica, West Indies, she has ministered in her homeland for all but 14 of her 70 years. From 1991-2005, she served on the Institute Leadership Team of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas with their central office in Silver Spring, MD. Sister Marie received her BA (History and English) from the University of the West Indies, Jamaica, West Indies; MA (Formative Spirituality) from Duquesne University; and Diploma in Theological Studies from Regis College.

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Diana Eck, PhD, MA, is Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies at Harvard University and the Frederic Wertham Professor of Law and Psychiatry in Society. She teaches in both the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and in the Divinity School. She is also Master of Lowell House, one of Harvard's twelve undergraduate residences. Dr. Eck has worked closely with both the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches in interfaith relations. Her work focuses on the challenges of religious pluralism in multi-religious societies in India and America. In 1991, she launched the Pluralism Project, which now includes a network of affiliates exploring the religious dimensions of America's new immigration and the issues of religious diversity in American society. Dr. Eck has published numerous books, including India: A Sacred Geography (2013), A New Religious America: How A "Christian Country" Has Become the World's Most Religiously Diverse Nation (2001), and Encountering God: A Spiritual Journey From Bozeman to Banaras, which won the Grawemeyer Book Award (1995). Dr. Eck received the National Humanities Medal from President Clinton and the National Endowment for the Humanities (1998), the Montana Governor's Humanities Award (2003), and the American Academy of Religion award for the Public Understanding of Religion (2002). In 2012, she was named to a Harvard College Professorship. She received her BA (Religious Studies) from Smith College; her MA (South Asian History) from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London; and her PhD (Comparative Study of Religion) from Harvard University.

George Fitchett, DMin, PhD, is Professor and the Director of Research in the Department of Religion, Health, and Human Values, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois. He also holds an appointment in Rush's Department of Preventive Medicine. He is a certified chaplain and pastoral supervisor. In addition to his training in spiritual care, Dr. Fitchett is trained in epidemiology. In 1990, he developed his department's research program, one of the first such programs in any chaplaincy department. This program is now seen as a model for the transformation of chaplaincy into a research-informed profession. Dr. Fitchett's research has examined the relationship between religion and health in a variety of community and clinical populations. It has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in chaplaincy, medical, and psychological journals. His contributions to chaplaincy and spiritual care have been recognized with awards from the Association of Professional Chaplains (the 2006 Anton Boisen Professional Service Award) and the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (the 2014 Helen Flanders Dunbar Award). Dr. Fitchett is an expert on spiritual assessment. His book on spiritual assessment, Assessing Spiritual Needs (Academic Renewal Press, 2002), is widely used in academic and clinical training programs in the USA and around the world. He is also the editor, with Steve Nolan, of a book of chaplain case studies, Spiritual Care in Practice: Case Studies in Healthcare Chaplaincy (Jessica Kingsley Publishers), to be published in March 2015.

John R. Knight, MD, is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and the Associate Director for Medical Education at the HMS Division on Addiction. He is the founder and director of the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research at Boston Children's Hospital. Dr. Knight's research aims to develop and test a complete set of medical practice guidelines for adolescent substance use screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment. He has served as Principal Investigator of studies on primary care office management of adolescent substance abuse funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the National Institute on Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Fetzer Institute. He was one of eleven recipients nationwide of research support under the Alcohol and Spirituality RFA from NIAAA and Fetzer. His study assessed the relationship of religiousness, spirituality, and adolescent decisions to drink. Dr. Knight has served three terms on the American Academy of Pediatrics' national Committee on Substance Abuse. He has published more than one hundred original scientific articles, clinical reviews, book chapters, and curricula. He is a chapter author in the Harvard Medical school textbook Soul of Medicine. Dr. Knight has served on expert panels for NIAAA, NIDA, NIDCR, SAMSHA, the President's Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the office of the U.S. Surgeon General. In 2004, he received a K07 Academic Career Award from NIAAA. Dr. Knight received his MD degree from University of Vermont College of Medicine. He served as an intern and resident at Albany Medical Center Hospital and completed a postgraduate fellowship at Boston Children's Hospital. In 2008, he was the first incumbent of the Children's Hospital Endowed Chair in Developmental Medicine.

Harold G. Koenig, MD, MHSc, is Director of the Center for Spirituality, Theology, and Health, Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, and Associate Professor of Medicine at the Duke University Medical Center; and is an Adjunct Professor in the department of medicine at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and in the school of public health, Ningxia Medical University, Yinchuan, People's Republic of China. Dr. Koenig has published extensively in the fields of mental health, geriatrics, and religion, with nearly 450 scientific peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and over 40 books, and is considered one of the world's top experts on religion and health. He is the former editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, and is on the editorial boards of many professional journals. He has given invited testimony to both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives on the role of religion in public health, and is the recipient of the 2012 Oskar Pfister Award from the American Psychiatric Association. He has been nominated twice for the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. His latest books include The Handbook of Religion and Health, 2nd edition (Oxford University Press, 2012); Spirituality in Patient Care, 3rd edition (2013); and Health and Well-being in Islamic Societies (Springer, 2014). Dr. Koenig completed his BS at Stanford University, his MD at the University of California at San Francisco, and his geriatric medicine, psychiatry, and biostatistics training at Duke University Medical Center.

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Neal Krause, PhD, is the Marshall H. Becker Collegiate Professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, University of Michigan. Dr. Krause has conducted extensive research on the development of measures to assess many different aspects of religiousness. His work focuses on social relationships in the church, virtues, and health. Dr. Krause has conducted three major nationwide surveys on religion and health. The first contrasted older Whites and older Blacks, the second focused on older Mexican Americans, and the third (and most recent) involves a large number of aduts of all ages and all racial/ethnic groups. So far, five waves of interviews have been conducted for the study on older Whites and older Blacks. The nationwide surveys of older Whites, older Blacks, and older Mexican Americans were the first to be devoted solely to the study of religion and health among older people in these racial/ethnic groups. He has received numerous awards, including the 2010 Richard Kalish Innovative Publication Award from the Gerontological Society of America, the 2013 Distinguished Career Contribution Award from the Gerontological Society of America, and the 2015 William C. Bier Award from Division 36 of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Krause holds a PhD in sociology from Akron University-Kent State University, an MA in sociology/psychology from Sam Houston State University, and a BA from the University of Oklahoma.

Towia A. Libermann, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Libermann is also the Director of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Genomics, Proteomics, Bioinformatics, and Systems Biology Center and Director of the Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center Cancer Proteomics Core. Dr. Libermann has a strong track record in oncology, immunological and inflammatory diseases, signal transduction, bioinformatics, proteomics, and genomics. He is integrating comprehensive functional genomics strategies with systems biology to define disease mechanisms at a molecular level and identify novel biomarkers, drug targets, and therapeutics for human disease. Dr. Libermann is an expert in translational research and precision medicine, and has applied various approaches to identify proteins that may be exploited as biomarkers or targets for therapeutic intervention, starting with his seminal discovery of EGF receptor gene amplifications in glioblastomas. His genomics explorations of mind-body interventions have provided novel insights into the genomic determinants elicited by the Relaxation Response. Dr. Libermann has published more than 180 scientific papers, and has four issued and five pending patents. Dr. Libermann routinely participates as a reviewer for various National Institutes of Health study sections, National Cancer Institute Cancer Centers, and various national and international research foundations and institutions. Dr. Libermann is a Founder of biomaRx Therapeutics, anXome, Karyon Therapeutics, BananaLogix, and Tolerance Pharmaceuticals, which merged into Cardion. Dr. Libermann completed his post-doctoral training at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research after receiving his PhD in Immunology from the Weizmann Institute of Science and Technology, Rehovot, Israel.

Kenneth I. Pargament, PhD, is a Professor of Psychology at Bowling Green State University, and Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Baylor College of Medicine. He has published over 250 articles on religion and health, including well-known research on religious coping and development of the widely used RCOPE questionnaire. He has designed and tested a number of spiritually integrated treatments for victims of child sexual abuse, women infected with HIV, people with serious mental illness, and patients with heart disease and cancer, culminating in his 2007 book, Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapy: Understanding and Addressing the Sacred. Dr. Pargament has also authored The Psychology of Religion and Coping: Theory, Research, Practice and is Editor-in-Chief of the new two-volume APA Handbook of Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality, highlighting the growing recognition that religion and spirituality are central to our efforts to understand health and human behavior. He has won several awards, including the William James Award for excellence in research from Division 36 (Psychology of Religion) of the American Psychological Association; the Oskar Pfitzer Award from the American Psychiatric Association; and the National Samaritan Award, presented by the Samaritan Institute (2012). He received an honorary doctor of humane letters from Pepperdine University in 2013. Dr. Pargament received his PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Maryland and interned in clinical psychology at Rutgers Medical School. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship in psychiatric epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

Frank J. Penedo, PhD, is the Roswell Park Professor of Medical Social Sciences, Psychology, and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University. He is also a Psychosocial Investigator for Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL) and MPI for the HCHS/SOL Sociocultural Ancillary Study. He is the Leader of Cancer Control and Survivorship Research Program and Director of the Cancer Survivorship Institute of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Penedo also directs the Biopsychosocial Mechanisms and Health Outcomes Program within the Department of Medical Social Sciences. Dr. Penedo is a scholar in chronic disease management and health disparities and outcomes in ethnically diverse populations. Some of his work evaluates the most effective ways to promote health-related quality of life and reduce symptom burden in cancer survivors in local, national, and international communities. His current research is focused on several questions, including the extent to which ethnic and sociocultural factors may relate to chronic disease adjustment and health outcomes, whether sociocultural and psychosocial factors impact neuroimmune parameters in chronically ill populations, and the extent to which psychosocial interventions can improve quality of life and reduce symptom burden via behavioral and physiological adaptation pathways in chronically ill individuals. Dr. Penedo has been honored with numerous awards over the past decade, including the Society of Behavioral Medicine Early Career Award (2005) and its Distinguished Service Award (2008). He holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Miami and is President-elect of the International Society of Behavioral Medicine.

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Ven. Tenzin Priyadarshi, PhD, is an innovative thinker, philosopher, educator, philanthropist, and polymath monk. He is the Founding Director of The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a center dedicated to inquiry, dialogue, and education on the ethical and humane dimensions of life. As a collaborative and nonpartisan think tank, its programs emphasize responsibility and examine meaningfulness and moral purpose between individuals, organizations, and societies. The Center at MIT has six Nobel Peace Laureates as its founding members and its programs run in eight countries and expanding. Venerable Tenzin's unusual background encompasses entering a Buddhist monastery at the age of 10 years to receiving graduate education at Harvard with degrees ranging from Philosophy to Physics to International Relations. Following the catastrophic disaster caused by Tsunami in 2005, Venerable Tenzin founded the Prajnopaya Foundation to develop innovative and sustainable ways to alleviate suffering in developing countries. He convened and advised a team of designers and architects from MIT, the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and Cambridge University to develop the Tsunami Safe(r) Houses, low-cost high-resistant homes, for families in Sri Lanka. The foundation has been active in health care and education endeavors in India, including systematic methods to curtail tuberculosis and bring health care to rural areas. Venerable Tenzin has been interviewed by National Public Radio, and articles on him and his work have appeared in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and La Republica. He also speaks at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, various institutes of learning, and Fortune 500 companies on topics ranging from leadership to enlightened organizations. Venerable Tenzin serves on the Board of several academic, humanitarian, and religious organizations. He is the recipient of several recognitions, most recent of which is a 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award from Harvard for his visionary contributions to humanity.

Lynn Rosenberg, ScD, MS, is a Professor of Epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public Health and Associate Director of the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University. Her research for the last two decades has focused on the health of African American women. She is Principal Investigator of the Black Women's Health Study, the largest cohort study of the health of African-American women. In progress since 1995, the study has followed 59,000 black women from across the U.S. to assess risk factors for outcomes that disproportionately affect African American women. These outcomes include breast cancer, other cancers, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, uterine fibroids, systemic lupus erythematosus, sarcoidosis, and preterm birth. Risk factors assessed include behaviors and lifestyle factors, medical and reproductive history, psychosocial stressors, socioeconomic status, environmental factors such as urban form and air pollution, and genetic factors. Dr. Rosenberg has also carried out multiple other studies of risk factors for cancers, including breast, cervix, and colon, and for myocardial infarction. Particular interests have been the health effects of common exposures, such as use of oral and injectable contraceptives, menopausal female hormone supplements, and over-the-counter medications. Several important hypotheses have been raised by her studies: that alcohol consumption increases the incidence of breast cancer and that use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs decreases the incidence of large bowel cancer. Both hypotheses were subsequently confirmed in numerous studies. Dr. Rosenberg is the author of over 350 scientific papers. She holds an ScD in Epidemiology from Harvard University and Master's degrees from Boston University (Chemistry) and Harvard University (Biostatistics).

Alexandra E. Shields, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, is Director of the Harvard/MGH Center on Genomics, Vulnerable Populations, and Health Disparities; Senior Scientist at the MGH Mongan Institute for Health Policy; Associate Member of the Broad Institute; and Co-Director of the Harvard Catalyst Health Disparities Research Program. Dr. Shields' research addresses the intersection of genomics and the interests of minority and other underserved communities throughout the research trajectory, from ethical issues in genomics research design and practice to patient access to novel therapeutics. In the arena of research practice, she has led national initiatives addressing the use of race concepts in genomics research and the conceptualization of the environment in gene-environment studies. With respect to translating emerging research into clinical practice, Dr. Shields has conducted national studies of challenges associated with integrating genetically tailored smoking cessation into clinical practice from both physicians' and patients' perspectives; addressed community health centers' capacity to deliver genomic medicine to their patients; investigated lay attitudes and beliefs regarding the role of genetics and other factors in addiction; and assessed adoption of health information technology among safety net providers. More recently, Dr. Shields has studied smokers' willingness to undergo genetic assessment in order to be matched to optimal therapy and the role of spirituality in smokers' willingness to use medication in a quit attempt. She is currently Principal Invetogator of a transdisciplinary national study investigating the role of spirituality in the etiology of disease and disparities in the burden of illness via epigenetic analyses of genes in the stress pathway. She holds a PhD in Health Policy from Brandeis University, where she was a Pew Health Policy Scholar, as well as a BA (Sociology and Theology) and an MA (Systematic Theology) from Boston College.

Lisa B. Signorello, ScD, ScM, is the Deputy Director of the Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program (CPFP) Branch within the National Cancer Institute's Division of Cancer Prevention. Dr. Signorello joined the CPFP in 2014 after having held academic positions at the Harvard School of Public Health (where she remains Adjunct Associate Professor of Epidemiology), Harvard Medical School, and Vanderbilt University, as well as having had significant private sector research experience. She is a founding investigator and former Principal Investigator of the Southern Community Cohort Study, a large, NCI-funded prospective cohort study focused on cancer disparities that includes over 85,000 residents of the southeastern U.S. Her research is broadly focused on issues related to macro- and individual-level factors that may give rise to racial disparities in cancer incidence and survival, including vitamin D, nutrition, obesity, chronic infections, socioeconomic deprivation, the built environment, and genetics. Her current work has progressed to involve the examination of psychosocial stress and early life adversity on cancer disparities. She has specific interests in engaging underserved populations in research and has worked extensively in the community health center setting. She has authored or co-authored more than 140 articles in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, as well as two textbook chapters on prostate cancer epidemiology. She received her undergraduate degree in engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, and her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health.

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Herman Taylor, MD, MPH, is the Director and Endowed Professor of the Cardiovascular Research Institute, as well as a Professor of Medicine, at Morehouse School of Medicine. Dr. Taylor is a nationally-recognized cardiologist leader with broad experience and success in key areas including invasive practice/research. Over the last decade, he has focused predominantly on preventive cardiology and leadership of the landmark Jackson Heart Study and ancillary observational research projects. Dr. Taylor was appointed in 1999 as the Principal Investigator and Director of the Jackson Heart Study, the largest epidemiological study of African Americans and cardiovascular disease of its kind ever undertaken. Since assuming that role, he has held three simultaneous positions with the institutions funded by the National Institutes of Health to administer the Study: Professor of Medicine and an attending cardiologist (and the inaugural holder of the Aaron Shirley Endowed Chair for the Study of Health Disparities) at University of Mississippi Medical Center; Visiting Professor of Biology in the Division of Natural Sciences at Tougaloo College; and, Clinical Professor of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at Jackson State University. Dr. Taylor has received numerous awards and honors, including the Physician of the Year award from the American Heart Association and the 2013 Award of Service from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. He was also a 2013 Nominee for the White House Champion of Change for Prevention and Public Health. Dr. Taylor received his MD from Harvard Medical School and his MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Lynn G. Underwood, PhD, is President of Research Integration, a research, evaluation, and consulting organization; Honorary Fellow at the University of Liverpool; and former Vice President of the Fetzer Institute, where she initiated and developed a research program over 13 years to support research on the psychosocial and spiritual aspects of health. She led projects such as a joint project with the National Institute on Aging on measurement of spirituality and religion in studies on aging, a joint Request for Proposals with the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism on the role of spirituality and religiousness in alcoholism, and a project with the World Health Organization on psychosocial and spiritual variables in quality of life in HIV-AIDS in multicultural populations. Dr. Underwood is Elected Fellow of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, and was a member of advisory boards of the National Institutes of Health, as well as the Templeton Advisory Board. She was awarded a Library of Congress Kluge Fellowship. She has co-edited books, including Measuring Stress: A Guide for Health and Social Scientists (Oxford University Press, 1997), Social Support Measurement and Intervention: A Guide for Health and Social Scientists (Oxford, 2000), and The Science of Compassionate Love: Theory, Research and Applications (Wiley-Blackwell 2009). Dr. Underwood developed the Daily Spiritual Experience Scale (DSES) that is being widely used in studies worldwide and was placed on the U.S. General Social Survey. The DSES has been translated into over 40 languages and has been used in over 200 published studies to date, with hundreds of studies ongoing (www.dsescale.org). Dr. Underwood received her PhD in Epidemiology from Queens University School of Medicine in the United Kingdom following medical studies at the University of Iowa School of Medicine.

Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, PhD, is Distinguished University Professor Emerita, Department of Epidemiology & Population Health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University; the Dorothy and William Manealoff Foundation and Molly Rosen Chair in Social Medicine Emerita; Co-Principal Investigator, Hispanic Community Cohort Study/Study of Latinos; and Principal Investigator, Women's Health Initiative. An authority in epidemiology, Dr. Smoller has made important research contributions in several areas including hormone therapy and cardiovascular disease, depression and antidepressant use as risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke, and biomarkers and prediction models of stroke risk. She has had a major role in studies that have helped to change medical practice in the U.S., including the National Institutes of Health's Women's Health Initiative, a long-term study of postmenopausal women, for which she is Einstein's Principal Investigator. Dr. Smoller is also the Founding Principal Investigator and now Co-Principal Investigator of the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos, the largest-ever study of Hispanic health in the U.S. She was a founding member of the Task Force on Women's Health in the American Heart Association and has published more than 225 scientific papers and book chapters, as well as a textbook: Biostatistics and Epidemiology: A Primer for Biomedical and Health Professionals. Dr. Smoller holds a PhD in Operations Research/Statistics from New York University.

Rev. Gloria E. White-Hammond, MD, is the Co-Pastor of Bethel AME Church, Boston, MA; Executive Director of My Sister's Keeper; and a retired pediatrician from the South End Community Health Center (SECHC). Dr. White-Hammond's community service spans three decades and two continents. In 1994, she founded the church-based creative writing/mentoring ministry, Do The Write Thing for high-risk adolescent females. The project has served over 200 young women from Boston public schools and juvenile detention facilities. In 2008, Dr. White-Hammond retired from SECHC after nearly three decades of serving families from some of Boston's most challenged communities. Since 2001, Dr. White-Hammond has made numerous trips into war-torn southern Sudan, Darfur, and Chad. In 2002, she co-founded My Sister's Keeper, a women-led humanitarian and human rights initiative that partners with diverse Sudanese women in their efforts toward reconciliation and reconstruction of their communities. The group is deeply committed to three pathways to sustainable peace: (1) The Sisterhood for Peace initiative, which supports a growing network of diverse Sudanese women in Sudan and the Diaspora who collaborate across traditional boundaries of race, religion, ethnicity, and geography to promote peace throughout Sudan; (2) The Kunyuk School for Girls, a primary school serving over 500 girls in South Sudan; and (3) The Women's Peace School, an adult literacy project. Dr. White-Hammond is a graduate of the Tufts University School of Medicine (MD) and Harvard Divinity School (MDiv) and a board member at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Save Darfur Coalition, and Tufts University.

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David R. Williams, PhD, MPH, is the Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health, Professor of African and African American Studies and of Sociology, and Director of the Lung Cancer Disparities Center at Harvard University. His previous academic appointments were at the University of Michigan and Yale University. The author of more than 350 scientific papers, he has studied the ways in which religious involvement can reduce the negative effects of stress on mental health, the appropriate measurement of the religious variable in epidemiological studies, and the ways in which the clergy relate to the formal mental health system and provide supportive health services to their congregations and community. He was a member of both the National Institute of Aging/Fetzer Institute Measurement Working Group on Religiousness/Spirituality and Health, and the National Institute for Healthcare Research/Templeton Foundation Scientific Progress in Spiritual Research Initiative. He directed a national study of forgiveness and health and is co-editing (with Loren Toussaint and Everett Worthington) a forthcoming book on Forgiveness and Health. He was ranked as the Most Cited Black Scholar in the Social Sciences in 2008. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Williams earned his PhD (Sociology) from the University of Michigan and an MPH from Loma Linda University.


Connect @ Cocktail Hour: Disparities Research Networking Reception

Read more for details.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Join us for our first ever health disparities research networking event, designed to bring together students, fellows, and faculty from across the university who are interested in health disparities research. Connect @ Cocktail Hour will be informal and festive, with wine, beer, and appetizers served. We'll spotlight research themes, and engage with respective faculty representatives.

Themes selected for this year's event include: Cancer Disparities; Child & Adolescent Health; Epigenetics; Global Health; Immigrant Health & Cultural Competency; Informatics & Health Information Technology; LGBT Health; PCOR & CBPR; Public Health Leadership & Policy; Racism & Social Inequality; Stress, Sleep, & Mental Health. No experience working in any of these areas is required to attend.

Event will also feature:

  • A cappella performance by The Harvard Callbacks
  • Raffle to win Amazon gift cards

Bringing people together is the first step towards strengthening the disparities research community at Harvard. Enjoy conversation, food, and drink, meet new people, and learn about the Harvard Catalyst Health Disparities Research Program. We hope you can join us!


Research Patient Data Registry (RPDR) Clinic for Disparities Research

Read more for details.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

For investigators interested in using the Research Patient Data Registry (RPDR) for research on health disparities, this clinic will provide an overview of RPDR and a tutorial on how to conduct queries. Participants will receive personalized feedback and assistance on submitting queries specific to their population and research question of interest. Class size will be limited to approximately 10 individuals in order to allow for individual attention and support. Participants will be selected by a faculty committee of the Harvard Catalyst Health Disparities Research and Biomedical Informatics Programs, based on query feasibility and disparities-relevance of project, as described in a brief application form.

Eligibility criteria:

  1. Faculty appointment at Harvard Medical School as lecturer or above, or as fellow. NOTE: If you are a fellow, you must be associated with a faculty member's RPDR workgroup.
  2. Primary appointment at an affiliated Partners institution (i.e. receive your primary paycheck from this institution), or have a collaborator with a primary appointment at an affiliated Partners institution. For those collaborating with a Partners affiliate, you must have a Partners login ID in order to access RPDR.

RPDR Overview: The Research Patient Data Registry (RPDR) is a centralized clinical data registry, or data warehouse. The RPDR gathers data from various hospital legacy systems and stores it in one place. Researchers access this data using the RPDR online query tool with user-defined queries of RPDR data for aggregate patient totals and, with proper IRB approval, obtain detailed clinical data.


Stress and Health Disparities Symposium:
Bridging Laboratory, Clinical, and Population Scientific Approaches

Read more for the full agenda, video archives, and presenter biographies.

October 17-18, 2013
Sponsored by the Harvard Catalyst Health Disparities Research Program

This two-day transdisciplinary symposium highlighted the complex ways in which stressful exposures contribute to disparities in disease and premature mortality. Lectures, discussions, and breakout sessions addressed cutting edge research on the role of psychosocial stress in human physiology and behavior, with a focus on how stress influences cancer and cardiovascular disease risk. The goal of this conference was to engage the Harvard community in innovative research approaches to better understand the role of stress in the etiology of disease, and to facilitate new collaborations among researchers from diverse fields committed to fostering a deeper understanding of the roles of stress response in human health and health disparities.

Introduction and Welcome

Michelle Williams, ScD
Stephen B. Kay Family Professor of Public Health & Chair, Department of Epidemiology
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Director, Harvard Catalyst Health Disparities Research Program

Julio Frenk, MD, MPH, PhD
Dean of the Faculty, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
T & G Angelopoulos Professor of Public Health and International Development
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Kennedy School

End to End: Telomere Maintenance Mechanisms in Humans

Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD
Morris Herzstein Endowed Chair in Biology and Physiology
Professor, Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics
University of California, San Francisco

With introduction by Michelle Williams, ScD

Panel I: Stress and Health Disparities

Lisa Signorello, ScD, ScM (Moderator)
Associate Professor of Epidemiology
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Work-Related Stress, Social Networks, and Health Outcomes
Lisa Berkman, PhD, MS
Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and of Epidemiology
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Racial Inequalities in Health: Potential Role of Discrimination and Other Stressors
David R. Williams, PhD, MPH
Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Socioeconomic Status, Relative Deprivation, and Stress
Ichiro Kawachi, MD, PhD
Professor of Social Epidemiology
Chair, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

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The Speedometer of Life: The Health Effects of Exposure and Reactivity to Daily Stressors

David Almeida, PhD, MA
Professor of Human Development, Department of Human Development and Family Studies
Pennsylvania State University

With introduction by Elizabeth Goodman, MD
Associate Chief for Community-Based Research, MassGeneral Hospital for Children
Director, MGH Center for Child & Adolescent Health Research and Policy
Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

The Impact of Psychosocial Stressors
Lisa Moris, MSW, LICSW
Director of Resident Social Services, Trinity Management LLC
Psychiatric Clinician, Boston Medical Center
Resident Service Coordinator, Bradley Properties & Ruggles Shawmut Housing

Panel II: Stress Biology and Disease Pathways

Lisa Signorello, ScD, ScM (Moderator)
Associate Professor of Epidemiology
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Environmental Epigenomics: Epigenetics as a Tool to Capture Biological Marks of Stressors Contributing to Health Outcomes
Andrea Baccarelli, MD, PhD, MPH
Mark and Catherine Winkler Associate Professor of Environmental Epigenetics
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Psychoneuroimmunology of Stress
Michael R. Irwin, MD
Director of the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology
UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience
Norman Cousins Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

The Influence of Stress on Telomere Length
Immaculata De Vivo, PhD, MPH
Associate Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Associate Epidemiologist
Brigham and Women's Hospital

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Panel III: Measuring Stress

Alexandra E. Shields, PhD (Moderator)
Director, Harvard/MGH Center on Genomics, Vulnerable Populations, and Health Disparities
Associate Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Co-Director, Harvard Catalyst Health Disparities Research Program

Measuring Stress Biomarkers in Large Populations
Clemens Kirschbaum, PhD
Professor, Technishe Universität, Dresden, Germany

The Impact of Prenatal Stress Models of Sex Differences in the Brain: Bridging Laboratory, Clinical, and Population-Level Data
Jill M. Goldstein, PhD
Professor of Psychiatry and Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Director of Research, Connors Center for Women's Health and Gender Biology
Brigham and Women's Hospital

Panel IV: Stress, Perinatal, and Life Course Risks

Janet Rich-Edwards, ScD (Moderator)
Associate Professor of Epidemiology
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Associate Professor of Medicine
Brigham and Women's Hospital

The Intergenerational Burden of Traumatic Stress
Karestan Koenen, PhD, MA
Associate Professor of Epidemiology
Columbia University

A Developmental Pathological Stress Response Model of Depression
Stephen E. Gilman, ScD
Associate Professor, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences & Department of Epidemiology
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Neurodevelopmental Consequences of Early Adversity in Childhood

Charles A. Nelson III, PhD
Professor of Pediatrics
Harvard Medical School
Director of Research, Division of Developmental Medicine
Richard David Scott Chair in Pediatric Developmental Medicine Research
Boston Children's Hospital

With introduction by Michelle Williams, ScD
Stephen B. Kay Family Professor of Public Health & Chair
Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Director, Harvard Catalyst Health Disparities Research Program

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Panel V: Stress and Cancer

Unnur Valdimarsdóttir, PhD (Moderator)
Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Associate Professor of Epidemiology
University of Iceland

Most Recent Evidence on Stress and Stress Pathways on Tumor Progression:
A Transdisciplinary Research Model

Susan Lutgendorf, PhD
Professor, Departments of Psychology, Urology, and Obstetrics and Gynecology
Starch Faculty Fellow, University of Iowa

Stress, Support, and Cancer: Evidence Regarding Intervention Effects on Survival
David Spiegel, MD
Jack, Lulu & Sam Willson Professor
Associate Chair, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Stanford University School of Medicine

Panel VI: Stress and Cardiovascular Disease

Matthew W. Gillman, MD, SM (Moderator)
Director, Obesity Prevention Program
Professor, Department of Population Medicine
Harvard Medical School/Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute
Professor, Department of Nutrition
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Acute Stress and Cardiovascular Disease: Folklore or Science?
Ilan Wittstein, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Johns Hopkins Hospital

Childhood Origins of Cardiovascular Disease: Trajectories of Risk and Resilience
Laura Kubzansky, PhD, MPH
Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

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Biographies

David Almeida, PhD, MA, is Professor of Human Development in College of Health and Human Development at Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Almeida has been at Penn State since 2004; prior to this he was a faculty member at the University of Arizona and a research scientist at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. Dr. Almeida's research examines effects of biological and self-reported indicators of stress on health. Well known in the scientific community for his work in adult development, Dr. Almeida has also made his mark in researching specific contexts and populations, such as the workplace and family interactions and parents of children with developmental disabilities. His research has shown that minor yet frequent daily stressors are often better predictors of important health outcomes than major life events, which have been the focus of research for decades. To further his research in this area, Dr. Almeida developed an instrument, the Daily Inventory of Stressful Experiences, which has been used in large scale epidemiologic and intervention studies on health and wellbeing. Dr. Almeida has received continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health since 1996, and has received funding from many other agencies, including the German Research Council, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the W.T. Grant Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. He received his BA (Psychology) from the California State University and his PhD (Life Span Developmental Psychology) from the University of Victoria.

Andrea Baccarelli, MD, PhD, MPH, is the Mark and Catherine Winkler Associate Professor of Environmental Epigenetics in the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. His past positions include Assistant Professor of Environmental Health in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health in the University of Milan School of Medicine (Italy) as well as Director of the Center of Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology in the Maggiore Hospital Research Foundation (Milan, Italy). Dr. Baccarelli's research focuses on epigenomics as a unique molecular substrate reflecting the impact of environmental exposures on human health. Epigenetic marks, including DNA methylation, histone modifications, and non-coding RNAs, modify chromatin structure and gene expression without changing the underlying DNA sequence. Dr. Baccarelli's laboratory is dedicated to the investigation of environmental epigenetics at different life-stages. His ongoing projects range from the investigation of the effects of in-utero exposures to toxic metals, second-hand smoking, and psychosocial stress on the methylome of human fetal tissues to the study of the influences of air pollution on non-coding miRNA in adult and elderly individuals. Epigenetic mechanisms are investigated in relation to fetal growth and perinatal outcomes, cardiovascular function, obesity, and neuro-cognition. Since 2010, Dr. Baccarelli's laboratory has produced more than 100 publications in epigenetics, environmental health, and epidemiology. In addition to his research, Dr. Baccarelli is a Fellow and a Member of the Council of Functional Genomics and Translational Biology for the American Heart Association. He is also a member of the NHLBI Working Group on Role of Epigenetics in Blood Pressure Regulation and Development of Hypertension. Dr. Baccarelli earned his MD from the University of Perugia, Italy, his PhD from the University of Milan, Italy, and his MPH from the University of Turin, Italy. He completed his residency (Endocrinology) at the University of Milan, and his postdoctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institute's Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics.

Lisa Berkman, PhD, MS, is the Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and of Epidemiology and Director of the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She held previous positions as the Chair of the Department of Society, Human Development and Health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and as the Head of the Division of Chronic Disease Epidemiology at Yale University. As an internationally-recognized social epidemiologist, her research focuses extensively on social and policy influences on health outcomes. Furthermore, her interests are directed towards understanding inequalities in health related to socioeconomic status, different racial and ethnic groups, and social networks, support and isolation. Her research investigations engage in identifying the role of social networks and support in predicting declines in physical and cognitive functioning, onset of disease and mortality, especially related to cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease. She devotes additional research efforts towards understanding determinants of population health by comparing the U.S. with European countries. She is a member of several professional institutions, including the Institute of Medicine, the American Epidemiological Society, the Macarthur Foundation Aging Society Network, and the Conseil Scientifique de l'Institut de Recherche en Sante Publique (IReSP) in France. She is the author of over 200 publications and several books, as well as Co-Editor with Dr. Ichiro Kawachi of the first textbook on Social Epidemiology. Dr. Berkman earned her MS and PhD (Epidemiology) from the University of California, Berkeley, and her BA (Sociology) from Northwestern University.

Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD, is the Morris Herzstein Professor in Biology and Physiology in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She discovered the molecular nature of telomeres - the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes that serve as protective caps essential for preserving the genetic information - and the ribonucleoprotein enzyme, telomerase. Currently Dr. Blackburn and her research team at UCSF do research on telomerase and telomere biology in various cells including human cells, and collaborate in clinical and human health studies with the goal of understanding the roles of telomere biology in human health and in diseases of aging. Throughout her career, Dr. Blackburn has been honored as the recipient of many prestigious awards. These include the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009 and the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award in Basic Medical Research in 2006. She is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of London, the American Academy of Microbiology, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a non-resident fellow of the Salk Institute, a Member of the Institute of Medicine, and a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences. She has served as President of the American Society for Cell Biology (1998) and of the American Association for Cancer Research (2011). Dr. Blackburn earned her MSc and BSc (Biochemistry) from the University of Melbourne, Australia, and her PhD (Molecular Biology) from the University of Cambridge, England. She was a postdoctoral fellow (Molecular and Cellular Biology) at Yale University and in 1978 joined the faculty at the University of California at Berkeley in the Department of Molecular Biology. In 1990, she joined the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UCSF, serving as Department Chair from 1993 to 1999.

Immaculata De Vivo, PhD, MPH, is Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School/Brigham and Women's Hospital and Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Her laboratory focuses primarily on the discovery and characterization of genetic biological markers to assess disease susceptibility in human populations. She is also a lead genetic researcher with the Nurses' Health Study research group. Dr. De Vivo's research emphasizes understanding of cancer etiology, specifically understanding the relationship between genetic variation and disease risk for future prevention. Her group analyzes inherited susceptibility to cancer and other chronic diseases using molecular techniques and studying molecular markers of environmental exposures. She has implemented the Q-PCR method to assess telomere lengths in her laboratory and has published extensively on telomere length and chronic disease with national and international collaborators. Dr. De Vivo is leading the efforts on the genome-wide association study of endometrial cancer and telomere length and is involved in several large, collaborative efforts to determine genetic determinants of disease and disease-related traits. She is currently the Director of the DF/HCC High Throughput Polymorphism Core. She earned her MPH and PhD from Columbia University.

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Julio Frenk, MD, MPH, PhD, is the Dean of the Faculty at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the T & G Angelopoulos Professor of Public Health and International Development, a joint appointment with the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. His expertise in global health is world-renowned. As the Minister of Health of Mexico from 2002 to 2006, he focused on redressing social inequality while guiding the national health system's reform. His work towards introducing Seguro Popular, the program of comprehensive national health insurance that expanded healthcare access by the tens of millions, is well recognized. He also served as the Founding Director-General of the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico and the President of the Carso Health Institute in Mexico City. In addition to his professional work in Mexico, he has held additional roles in the landscape of global health, including Executive Director of Evidence and Information for Policy in the World Health Organization and Chair of the Board of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. He is a member of the U.S. Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Medicine of Mexico. Dr. Frenk earned his MD from the National University of Mexico and his MPH and a joint PhD (Medical Care Organization and Sociology) from the University of Michigan.

Matthew W. Gillman, MD, SM, is Professor in the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School/Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, and in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. At the Department of Population Medicine, Dr. Gillman directs the Obesity Prevention Program, whose goal is to lessen obesity-related morbidity and mortality through epidemiologic, health services, and intervention research. His major research interests are in early life prevention of childhood and adult diseases, particularly obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. He is PI of Project Viva, an NIH-funded cohort study of pregnant women and children that has identified and quantified many pre- and peri-natal risk factors for obesity and its consequences, asthma and allergies, and cognition and behavior. He has served as Co-PI of the Coordinating Center of the US National Children's Study, a member of the NHLBI Pediatric Cardiovascular Risk Reduction Initiative Expert Panel, a member of the Institute of Medicine Committee to Reexamine Pregnancy Weight Guidelines, a member of the NIDDK Clinical Obesity Research Panel, and a member of the Council of the Society for Developmental Origins of Health and Disease. He is co-editor of Maternal Obesity, published by Cambridge University Press. Dr. Gillman received the A. Clifford Barger Excellence in Mentoring Award from Harvard Medical School and the Faculty Mentoring Award from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He is also the recipient of the 2012 Greg Alexander Award for Advancing Public Health Knowledge through Epidemiology and Applied Research. Dr. Gillman received his AB (Chemistry) from Harvard College, his SM (Epidemiology) from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and his MD from Duke University School of Medicine.

Stephen E. Gilman, ScD, is a psychiatric epidemiologist focusing on social inequalities in major mental disorders, trying to understand how they emerge and persist over the life course. His research seeks to address the problem of social inequalities by investigating the early childhood determinants of depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders. Dr. Gilman's research demonstrates the importance of the childhood environment for the onset and subsequent recurrence of major depression in adults. His work on the prenatal and developmental origins of social inequalities in major depression is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. Gilman is co-investigator of the New England Family Study, a three-generation cohort study of individuals born in Massachusetts and Rhode Island in the early 1960s, their parents, and their children. Dr. Gilman is also investigating the long-term outcomes of depression, including social inequalities in anti-depressant treatment outcomes, and the physical health consequences of depression including mortality. This work is based on the Stirling County Study, a landmark study in psychiatric epidemiology, and is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Dr. Gilman is an associate professor in the departments of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Epidemiology, at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and is affiliated with the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. He completed his post-doctoral fellowship in the Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine at Brown Medical School, and earned his ScD (Health and Social Behavior) from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Jill M. Goldstein, PhD, is a Professor of Psychiatry and Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of Research at the Connors Center for Women's Health and Gender at Brigham & Women's Hospital. She is a clinical neuroscientist, an internationally recognized expert on sex differences in the brain and implications for understanding sex differences in psychiatric disorders. For over 25 years, she has fostered collaborative efforts to understand mechanisms explaining sex differences across disciplines and methods of study. Her program of research (funded by NIH for ~30 years) is called the Clinical Neuroscience Laboratory of Sex Differences in the Brain (http://cnl-sd.bwh.harvard.edu) consisting of interdisciplinary investigators integrating brain imaging with psychophysiology, neuroendocrinology, genetics, inflammatory factors, and collaborative efforts with preclinical investigators studying genes, hormones, and the brain (http://mddscor.bwh.harvard.edu). One of the major topics of investigation in Dr. Goldstein's lab is prenatal stress models for understanding sex differences in adult psychiatric disorders, a topic of interest for the Harvard Stress Symposium. Dr. Goldstein is also a leader in training the next generation of women and men in women's health and sex differences in medicine, as reflected in being PI of ORWH-NICHD Harvard junior faculty K12 training program on Building Interdisciplinary Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH) called, "Hormones and Genes in Women's Health: From Bench to Bedside." She earned her PhD from Columbia University and completed post-doctoral training in clinical neuroscience and brain imaging at Harvard Medical School.

Elizabeth Goodman, MD, is Associate Chief for Community-Based Research, Mass General Hospital for Children; Director, MGH Center for Child & Adolescent Health Research and Policy; Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School. Dr. Goodman, a pediatrician with sub-specialty training in adolescent medicine, received her MD at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, and her general pediatric and Adolescent Medicine specialty training at Boston Children's Hospital; she was also a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at UCSF, fellow at the Joint Program in Society and Health at New England Medical Center and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and William T. Grant Scholar. Dr. Goodman is a national expert on social stratification and its effect on adolescent health and is well known for her research on social stratification, obesity, insulin resistance, and other cardiometabolic risks. She has published over 100 scientific papers. She belongs to many professional organizations, is an elected member of both the Society for Pediatric Research and American Pediatric Society, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Society for Adolescent Medicine and Health. She is Principal Investigator of the PSD Study, an NIH-funded longitudinal study of social status impact on adolescent health, particularly in relation to obesity and cardiometabolic risk, and is the Co-Director of the Boston Nutrition Obesity Research Center's Clinical and Community Research Core. She also serves as Co-Chair for the National CTSA Consortium's Child Health Oversight Committee's Lifecourse Working Group. Prior to her tenure at MGH, she served on the faculties at Harvard Medical School, Tufts Medical Center, the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and Brandeis University.

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Michael R. Irwin, MD, is the Norman Cousins Chair for Psychoneuroimmunology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and Cousins Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. His additional positions include Director of the UCLA Cousins Center in Psychoneuroimmunology, Director of the Inflammatory Biology Core of the Older Adults for Independence Center, Director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center, Professor of Psychology at the UCLA College of Letters and Sciences, and Director of the Training Program in Psychoneuroimmunology and Mental Health. He participates in collaborative research aimed principally at understanding the mechanisms of neuroimmuneinteractions and the impact of psychoneuroimmunology processes on disease. His recent research has included large-scale longitudinal studies examining associations between depression, insomnia, fatigue, and proinflammatory cytokine activity in older adults and breast cancer survivors; experimental studies examining neural and inflammatory bases of depressive symptoms; role of sleep disturbance in modulating cellular and genomic markers of inflammation; and effects of insomnia treatment on sleep, metabolic, and inflammatory outcomes. Additionally, he has examined efficacy of complementary behavioral interventions (e.g., Tai Chi, meditation) to improve psychological adaptation, health functioning, and vaccine-stimulated varicella zoster specific immunity in aging. He has served as Principal Investigator on 20 projects funded by the National Institute of Aging, National Cancer Institute, National Heart Lung and Blood Disorders Institute, National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Disorders, the National Institute of Drug Abuse, and the National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. Irwin earned his MD from University of California, San Diego.

Ichiro Kawachi, MD, PhD, is a Professor of Social Epidemiology and Chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. His research interests address the economic and social determinants of health, from the macro-level (population) to the individual-level and in a cross-national comparative context. His work on the social determinants of health includes investigations into neighborhood contextual influences on health outcomes (such as obesity), stress, and psychosocial risk factors for cardiovascular disease. He has conducted research on the association between growing income inequality and damaging population health consequences. He has also worked towards defining relationships between social capital and health. He has an extensive catalog of publications on his research, such as co-editing the first textbook on Social Epidemiology with Lisa Berkman in 2000 and serving currently as Co-Editor in Chief of the journal Social Science and Medicine with S.V. Subramanian. He has co-authored The Health of Nations (Bruce Kennedy), Neighborhoods and Health (Lisa Berkman), and Globalization and Health (Sarah Wamala). He has co-edited Is Inequality Bad for Our Health? (Lisa Berkman and Daniel Kim) and Social Capital and Health (S.V. Subramanian and Daniel Kim). Dr. Kawachi is an elected Member of the Institute of Medicine of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He has served as a consultant to the Pan-American Health Organization, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization Commission on Social Determinants of Health. Dr. Kawachi earned his MD and PhD (Epidemiology) from the University of Otago, New Zealand.

Clemens Kirschbaum, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at the Technical University of Dresden. Dr. Kirschbaum's various research projects focus on stress in humans and its impact on health and disease. To meet the multifaceted nature of stress, he uses interdisciplinary research strategies integrating concepts of (neuro)cognitive and clinical psychology, endocrinology, immunology, neurology, genetics, and epigenetics. Specifically, Dr. Kirschbaum's research areas include psychoneuroendocrinology, psychoneuroimmunology, cognitive biopsychology, and new methods of biopsychology. To study and better understand how the human stress response system "works," he continuously aims to further evaluate and more importantly, to generate innovative methods of stress measurements. His lab is specialized in the assay of cortisol from saliva and hair samples. He has worked with several epidemiologic studies such as MIDUS, CARDIA, MESA, and the Whitehall II cohort. In a present prospective longitudinal project, Dr. Kirschbaum is investigating cognitive, neuroendocrine, metabolic, and immunological consequences of chronic partial sleep loss within a naturalistic setting in expectant mothers and fathers. In another study, he is working to apply hair cortisol analysis, which is assumed to assess long-term steroid secretion, in patients with PTSD in comparison to age- and gender-matched healthy controls and patients with Major Depression (MD). Furthermore, he is examining intra-individual changes of cumulative steroid levels in PTSD- and MD-patients before and after a psychotherapeutic treatment. Dr. Kirschbaum earned his PhD (Psychology) from the University of Trier.

Karestan Koenen, PhD, MA, is a licensed clinical psychologist and epidemiologist. She is currently an Associate Professor of Epidemiology at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health where she leads the Psychiatric and Neurological Epidemiology program. Her work uses a developmental approach to examine the interplay of genetic and environmental factors in the etiology of stress-related mental disorders, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. For this work, she was awarded the Chaim Danieli Young Professional Award from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and the Robins-Guze Young Investigator Award from the American Psychopathological Association. She has published over 170 scientific papers and co-authored several books including Treating Survivors of Childhood Abuse: Psychotherapy for the Interrupted Life with Drs. Marylene Cloitre and Lisa Cohen, and The Life Course Epidemiology of Mental Disorders with Drs. Sasha Rudenstein, Ezra Susser, and Sandro Galea. Dr. Koenen is President of the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies and co-leads the PTSD working groups within the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium and the WHO-World Mental Health Surveys. She is also an experienced clinician who specializes in working with women with PTSD. Dr. Koenen earned her PhD (Clinical Psychology) from Boston University, an MA (Developmental Psychology) from Columbia University, and a BA (Economics) from Wellesley College. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship (Pediatric Epidemiology) at Columbia University.

Laura Kubzansky, PhD, MPH, is Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Director of the Society and Health Psychophysiology Laboratory at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Kubzansky has published extensively on the role of psychological and social factors in health, with a particular focus on the effects of stress and emotion on heart disease. Widely recognized for her work demonstrating that emotions play an important role in the development of a number of disease outcomes including cardiovascular disease, lung function decline, and cancer, she is a frequent speaker on the topic. She also conducts research on whether stress, emotion and other psychological factors may help to explain the relationship between social status and health. Other research projects and interests include studying the biological mechanisms linking emotions, social relationships, and health; relationships between early childhood environments, resilience, and healthy aging; how interactions between stress and environmental exposures (e.g., lead, air pollution) may influence health; pathways by which education and cognitive performance may influence adult mental and physical health outcomes over the life course. She was recently elected to Fellow Status in the American Psychological Association. She has served as Senior Advisor to the Robert Wood Johnson funded Positive Health Research program, as a member of the Healthy People 2020 Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being Workgroup, and of the American Heart Association Science of Well-Being Expert Panel. She is PI or Co-I on a wide variety of grants funded through the Veterans Administration, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, EPA, NIH, and others. Dr. Kubzansky earned her MPH from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and PhD from the University of Michigan.

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Susan Lutgendorf, PhD, is a Professor in the Departments of Psychology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Urology, and a member of the research executive committee of the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa. She is an acknowledged expert in the field of psychoneuroimmunology and cancer, and has been at the forefront of research examining interactions of psychosocial factors and cancer progression. Her research interests include behavioral and integrative medicine interventions for chronic illness. Dr. Lutgendorf's current work, funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), examines how factors such as stress, depression, and social support are linked to biological processes and molecular pathways involved in angiogenesis, inflammation, and recurrence in ovarian cancer patients. Additionally, she is currently funded as part of the NIDDK-funded Multidisciplinary Approach to the Study of Chronic Pelvic Pain (MAPP) to investigate stress, neuroendocrine, and inflammatory factors in interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome (IC/PBS). Dr. Lutgendorf currently serves as the President of the American Psychosomatic Society, and serves on the editorial boards of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, Health Psychology, Psychological Bulletin, and Psychosomatic Medicine and on the Scientific Council of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research. She serves as a core member of the NCI Network on Biobehavioral Pathways in Cancer. Dr. Lutgendorf's work has been recognized by a New Investigator Award from the Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society in 2004, an Early Career Award from the American Psychosomatic Society in 2002 and by an award from the American Psychological Association, Division 38, for Outstanding Contributions to Health Psychology in the year 2000. Her work has also been recognized by a Faculty Scholar Award and the Starch Faculty Fellowship from the University of Iowa. Dr. Lutgendorf earned her PhD (Clinical Health Psychology) from the University of Miami and did her post-doctoral work at the University of Iowa.

Lisa Moris, MSW, LICSW, is the Director of Resident Social Services for Trinity Management LLC, a property management company providing comprehensive property management services to housing communities in the New England area, and a psychiatric clinician at Boston Medical Center's Emergency Department. Ms. Moris serves as a steering committee member of the RoxVote Coalition, supervises counselors at the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, and is President of the Board of Directors at The Network/La Red - a survivor-led organization seeking to end partner abuse, offering comprehensive direct services to survivors and their loved ones, and providing technical assistance to organizations who seek to become LGBTQ inclusive. Prior to these roles, Ms. Moris worked at Casa Myrna Vazquez, DOVE (DOmestic Violence Ended), Family Aid Services, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. As a clinical social worker employed in the housing, psychiatric, domestic and sexual violence, and homelessness fields for more than a decade, Ms. Moris has extensive experience working with trauma survivors, organizing communities, and guiding individuals and families towards better physical, emotional, and mental health. Ms. Moris has presented at local and national conferences on topics including addressing bed bug infestations, civic engagement, community organizing, mood disorders, creating inclusive communities, and working with trauma survivors. Her efforts have been recognized by Boston College, the Boston Police Department, Boston University, New England Resident Service Coordinators Inc., MassHousing Finance Agency, Madison Park Development Corporation, and MassVote. Ms. Moris earned her MSW from Boston College Graduate School of Social Work.

Charles A. Nelson III, PhD, is Professor of Pediatrics and Neuroscience and Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. In addition, he is the Research Director in the Division of Developmental Medicine and holds the Richard David Scott Chair in Pediatric Developmental Medicine Research at Boston Children's Hospital. He also holds faculty appointments in the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and sits on the steering committee for the Harvard Center on the Developing Child and the Harvard interfaculty initiative on Mind, Brain, and Behavior. His research interests center on a variety of problems in developmental cognitive neuroscience, a field in which he is recognized internationally. His laboratory conducts research in typical and atypical memory development, infants' and children's ability to recognize faces and facial emotion, developmental trajectories to autism, and the effects of early psychosocial deprivation on brain and behavioral development. He chaired the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Early Experience and Brain Development, and served on the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) panel that wrote From Neurons to Neighborhoods. He currently serves on another NAS committee concerned with child maltreatment. He is a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychological Society. He has received the Leon Eisenberg award from Harvard Medical School and an honorary Doctorate from Bucharest University (Romania), was a resident fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center (Italy), and has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Nelson earned his PhD (Developmental and Child Psychology) from the University of Kansas, an MS (Psychology) from the University of Wisconsin, and a BA (Psychology) from McGill University, Québec, Canada.

Janet Rich-Edwards, ScD, is the Director of Developmental Epidemiology at the Connors Center for Women's Health and Gender Biology at Brigham and Women's Hospital. She is Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Rich-Edwards' research is focused on the intersection of a woman's health and that of her children, investigating social and biological pathways though which health and disease processes originate early in life. She studies early life determinants of women's reproductive health and risk of chronic disease in adulthood. Dr. Rich-Edwards has examined how domestic violence and childhood physical, sexual, and emotional abuse predict poor pregnancy outcomes and common chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Dr. Rich-Edwards also investigates the ways in which reproductive health factors presage chronic disease in maturity, and whether this information can be used to better prevent chronic disease in women. Dr. Rich-Edwards earned her MPH from the University of North Carolina and an ScD from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Alexandra E. Shields, PhD, is Director of the Harvard/MGH Center on Genomics, Vulnerable Populations, and Health Disparities at the MGH Mongan Institute for Health Policy; Associate Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School; Co-Director of the Harvard Catalyst Health Disparities Research Program; and Associate Member of the Broad Institute. An elected member of the National Academy of Social Insurance, Dr. Shields' work addresses the impact of health system change on minority and other underserved populations. Her recent work addresses challenges associated with translating emerging genomics research into clinical practice, with a particular focus on interests of poor and minority patients and the providers who serve them. She has conducted several national studies addressing the preparedness of primary care physicians to incorporate genomic medicine into practice, patients' attitudes and beliefs about genetics, and access to recommended genetic tests for low-income and minority patients. Dr. Shields also studies important ethical aspects of genomics research design, including the use of race constructs in genomics research and the inclusion of socio-environmental measures that capture the lived experience of poor communities in gene-environment studies. She leads the Harvard-wide Gene-Environment and Disparities Research Initiative, which engages faculty from diverse disciplines in developing research designs that reflect the complex array of social, environmental, and behavioral factors affecting the etiology of health disparities in gene-environment studies. She holds a PhD in Health Policy from Brandeis University, where she was a Pew Health Policy Scholar, as well as a BA (Sociology and Theology) and an MA (Systematic Theology) from Boston College.

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Lisa Signorello, ScD, ScM, is Associate Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Her research focuses primarily on investigating the contributors to racial and socioeconomic disparities in the incidence and mortality of various forms of cancer within the U.S. population. She is a Principal Investigator of the Southern Community Cohort Study (SCCS), a prospective study funded by the National Cancer Institute that involves over 85,000 residents of the southeastern U.S. Her research interests manifest within this study to engage underserved populations in research and to explore the effects of chronic diseases, stress, nutrition, infection, vitamin D, and socioeconomic deprivation on cancer and mortality risk. She is also expanding her interests in infection and cancer to the influence of the entire microbiome on health and disease in various populations. In addition, Dr. Signorello holds strong research interests in reproductive health and has conducted investigations on various types of adverse pregnancy outcomes. She is a member of the Cancer Epidemiology Program and the Cancer Risk and Disparities Program at the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. Dr. Signorello earned her ScM and ScD (Epidemiology) from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a BS (Engineering) from the University of Pennsylvania.

David Spiegel, MD, is the Jack, Lulu & Sam Willson Professor in the Stanford University School of Medicine, Associate Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical Director of the Stanford Center for Integrative Medicine, and Director of the Stanford Center on Stress and Health. Dr. Spiegel's research involves stress and health: cognitive control over somatic functions, including cancer progression; the response to traumatic stress; and the treatment of pain and depression. He is currently conducting a large scale study of the relationships among sleep disturbance, diurnal stress hormone patterns, and breast cancer survival, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. This work is based upon earlier evidence from his laboratory that intensive group psychotherapy results in longer survival with metastatic breast cancer, and that loss of circadian variation in cortisol, indicative of HPA dysfunction, as well as chronic depression, predict early mortality with breast cancer. Dr. Spiegel continues study of the relationship between the acute response to trauma, including dissociative symptoms, and the development of post-traumatic stress disorder. He also evaluates various methods of treating these symptoms. Dr. Spiegel is carrying out studies of the neurophysiological components of hypnosis by studying brain correlates of hypnotic perceptual alteration, using PET and fMRI. His research group has identified specific brain regions associated with hypnotic ability. His program is designed to examine neurophysiological and peripheral mechanisms through which psychological and social support may influence physical health. In 2011, Dr. Spiegel was awarded the Arthur M. Sutherland Award for Lifetime Achievement by the International Psycho-Oncology Society. In 2012, he was made a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Dr. Spiegel earned his BA (Philosophy) at Yale College and his MD at Harvard Medical School. He did his psychiatric residency at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center and the Cambridge Hospital, and completed a fellowship in community psychiatry at Harvard.

Unnur Valdimarsdóttir, PhD, is Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Iceland Medical School. The focus of Dr. Valdimarsdóttir's research is on health consequences of various adversities across the life course, primarily from loss of a family member by death or the diagnosis of a life-threatening illness. Together with an extended network of collaborators from Sweden and the US, her team utilizes the nationwide health registries of the Nordic countries and prospective cohorts to study how such psychological stressors impact disease development and progression, particularly within the area of cancer. This work has led to improved understanding of the risk of suicide and cardiovascular deaths immediately following a cancer diagnosis; modifiable risk factors of long-term psychological and physical morbidity after the loss of a family member to cancer; the role of psychological stressors and stress manifestations (e.g. sleep disruption) in the development of infection-related cancers, as well as in prostate and pancreatic cancers. She has further been involved in work exploring the associations between individual-level stressors (e.g. loss or sexual violence) or larger societal disasters (e.g. natural disasters and national economic recessions) and population health, including risks of psychiatric-, neurodegenerative-, cardiovascular-, and perinatal outcomes. Finally, Dr. Valdimarsdóttir is involved in several studies exploring the influence of psychotropic drug use on health-related endpoints, e.g., academic performance and perinatal outcomes. Dr. Valdimarsdóttir earned her PhD (Clinical Epidemiology) at Karolinska Institutet and BA (Psychology) from the University of Iceland.

David R. Williams, PhD, MPH, is the Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health, and Professor of African and African American Studies and of Sociology and Director of the Lung Cancer Disparities Center at Harvard University. His previous academic appointments were at the University of Michigan and Yale University. His research interests include socioeconomic and racial disparities in health, the effects of racism on health, and the ways in which religious involvement can affect health. The Everyday Discrimination Scale that he developed is one of the most widely used measures of discrimination in health studies. He is the author of more than 300 scientific papers and was ranked as the Most Cited Black Scholar in the Social Sciences in 2008. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has served on the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics and on seven panels for the Institute of Medicine, including the committee that prepared the Unequal Treatment report. Dr. Williams has also played a visible, national leadership role in raising awareness levels of the problem of health disparities and pointing to interventions to address them. This includes his work as the staff director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Commission to Build a Healthier America and as a key scientific advisor to the award-winning PBS film series, Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick? Dr. Williams earned his PhD (Sociology) from the University of Michigan and an MPH from Loma Linda University.

Michelle Williams, ScD, is the Stephen B. Kay Family Professor of Public Health and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Her research interests lie principally in the field of reproductive and perinatal epidemiology. She has spent the last two decades focused on integrating epidemiological, biological, and molecular approaches into rigorously designed clinical epidemiology research projects that have led to greater understandings of the etiology and pathophysiology of placental abruption, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia. Her research programs were developed through: (1) identifying gaps in the literature; (2) constructing methodologically rigorous, versatile and robust epidemiological data capture systems and networks (epidemiology platforms) in North America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and South America; and (3) proactively and strategically integrating biochemical and molecular biomarkers onto that epidemiology platform. She has fully exploited the arsenal of epidemiology study designs to answer important questions concerning the etiology and pathophysiology of a relatively broad spectrum of adverse reproductive and perinatal outcomes. Her overarching goal has been, and continues to be, to use biological and molecular biomarkers as objective measures of exposure (e.g., dietary intake, nutritional status) and/or as validated pre-clinical proximal determinants (e.g., oxidative stress, systemic inflammation, endothelial dysfunction) of discrete outcomes of clinical, public, and global health importance. Dr. Williams earned her ScD (Epidemiology) and SM (Demography, Population Sciences) from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, an MS (Civil Engineering, Public Health) at Tufts University, and an AB (Biology, Developmental Genetics) from Princeton University.

Ilan Wittstein, MD, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the division of cardiology at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He completed his residency in internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and then served as Assistant Chief of Service on the Osler Medical Service. After completing fellowship training in cardiology at Johns Hopkins where he concentrated in heart failure and cardiac transplantation, Dr. Wittstein joined the division of cardiology as full-time faculty in 1998. His clinical focus has been in the areas of critical care and heart failure/transplant, and he spends several months each year attending in the Coronary Care Unit and on the Heart Failure and Transplant Service. His research has included work in basic cell signaling as well as the effect of nitric oxide on cardiac function. More recently, Dr. Wittstein's research has focused on the effects of emotional and physical stress on cardiac contractile function as well as the effects of neurologic injury on myocardial contractility. In February 2005, his manuscript in the New England Journal of Medicine brought international attention to the poorly recognized syndrome of Stress Cardiomyopathy (Broken Heart Syndrome), a syndrome of acute myocardial stunning that is believed to be catecholamine mediated. He is currently involved in both clinical and basic projects that are attempting to define the precise pathogenesis of this syndrome. He is nationally recognized for his work on Stress Cardiomyopathy and is an expert in the field of stress related cardiac disease. He received a BA (Molecular Biology and Biochemistry) from Wesleyan University and an MD from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

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