Research Team

Who’s Who
Investigators, Staff, and Assistants

The investigators, staff, and assistants actively affiliated with BEH project are listed below in alphabetical order.

   Michael Bader
Links:  Faculty page, Personal page, ResearcherID, Google Scholar Profile
Mike is Assistant Professor of Sociology at American University where he is also affiliated with the Center on Health, Risk and Society. Mike’s research focuses on the forces that create racial and economic segregation in American cities and the consequences of that segregation on health inequality. In addition to this substantive research, he also examines methods of collecting and analyzing spatial data. He received his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Michigan in 2009, writing his dissertation on the spatial and temporal change of neighborhoods in Chicago, after which he was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania.

   Darby Jack
Links:  Faculty page
Darby Jack is an Assistant Professor at the Mailman School of Public Health, in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences. His research centers on empirical analysis of human-environment interactions in developing countries. Current projects focus on vulnerability to climate change, economic approaches to valuing ecosystem services, and the political economy of forest conservation.

Lovasi   Gina Lovasi
Links:  Faculty page
Gina S. Lovasi is an assistant professor in Epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Her research focuses on the effects of local urban infrastructure on health and health behaviors, as well as differences in these effects across population subgroups, such as young children and adults with different racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic backgrounds. Dr. Lovasi received her PhD and MPH in epidemiology from the University of Washington, where her research examined neighborhood walkability and neighborhood socioeconomic characteristics as determinants of physical activity and cardiovascular risk. She is also on the editorial board for the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and co-director of the Epidemiology and Population Health Summer Institute at Columbia University (

   Stephen Mooney
Links:  Google Scholar Profile
Steve is an NIH pre-doctoral Cancer Training Fellow in the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health.  He applies skills acquired in an former career programming computers to public health research.  His research interests include cancer, physical activity and epidemiological methods.

   Kathryn Neckerman
Links:  Faculty page
Kathryn Neckerman is a Senior Research Scholar at ISERP and Associate Director of Columbia’s Health & Society Scholars Program. Neckerman is a sociologist who has conducted research on the role of race and ethnicity in urban labor markets, family structure, and education. She is the author of Schools Betrayed: Roots of Failure in Inner-City Education (Chicago, 2007) and the editor of Social Inequality (Russell Sage, 2004) and (with Peter Bearman and Leslie Wright) After Tobacco (Columbia, 2011). She has written extensively about disparities in neighborhood conditions and their implications for health and wellbeing. Specific foci of current research include the determinants of active travel, the association of neighborhood features and child fitness, and the long-term implications of neighborhood walkability for chronic disease and medical care costs.

   Yoosun Park
Links:  Faculty page
Yoosun Park, Ph.D., is an associate professor of Social Work at Smith College. Dr. Park studies the history of U.S. immigration and immigration/refugee policies, international migration and forced migration studies, and social work practice with immigrant and refugee populations. She heads up BEH’s efforts to understand how interactions between immigrant’s acculturation status and neighborhood social and food environments influence diet and body size.

   James Quinn
Links: ISERP page
James Quinn is a Geographer and Senior Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Analyst based at the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy at Columbia University. He received both his B.A. and M.A. in Geography from the University of Northern Iowa. Quinn conducts medical geography research and works on numerous grant-funded research projects where he is responsible for the acquisition, management, development, and linkage of retrospective and modern spatial databases measuring neighborhood characteristics with individual-level data. Using non-routine spatial modeling techniques, Quinn, makes connections between the changes in the physical, economic, and social environments, and evaluates their affect on the development of changes in physical activity, patterns of obesity, and health risk. Quinn also supports other researchers with health-related projects involving a spatial perspective, and collaborates with other colleagues to enhance and promote the use of spatial analysis in teaching and research at Columbia.

   Andrew Rundle
Links: Faculty page, ResearcherID, Google Scholar Profile
Andrew Rundle, Dr.P.H., is associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health. His research focuses on physical activity and obesity. He is studying the mechanisms through which sedentary lifestyles and obesity cause cancer, as well as the influence of societal factors such as the built environment, neighborhood socio-economic status, and immigration and acculturation on sedentary behavior and overweight/obesity. He is the PI of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health’s childhood obesity project. In addition he is developing a cohort study of neighborhood effects on prostate cancer incidence and severity. In his spare time he is pursuing a side line in surrealist video installation art.

   Daniel M. Sheehan
Links: ISERP page
Daniel M. Sheehan is a Geographer and Geospatial/Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Analyst at the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy. As a member of the Built Environment and Health Project research group he builds, maintains and processes geospatial databases for environmental health-related projects. Danny earned a BA in Geography from Geneseo and completed his MA in Geography/ Specialization in GIS from University at Buffalo. Prior to joining the BEH GIS research team, he worked as a GIS Analyst for engineering firms, managing engineering design data and analyzing impacts on the built social and natural environment as part of the EIS process.


   Shiva Kooragayala

  Ofira Schwartz-Soicher
   James Stark

   Daniel Wasserman
TanyaKaufman-1   Tanya Kaufman

   Christopher Weiss

Jen_Tsui_sm   Jennifer Tsui

   Catherine Richards

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