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 an Associate Professor of Sociology at Johns Hopkins University. 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.

  Eliza Kinsey
Links:  Faculty Page, Google Scholar Profile, ResearcherID
Eliza W. Kinsey is an Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.  Dr. Kinsey’s research examines the relationships between the built environment, food insecurity and urban health disparities. She uses a mixed-methods approach to explore spatiotemporal dynamics of food policy and health across the urban planning, public health and social welfare disciplines. Dr. Kinsey earned her PhD in City and Regional Planning, as well as a Master of Public Health, from the University of Pennsylvania. She also received an MA in Urban Planning and an MS in Nutrition Policy from Tufts University. Prior to her doctoral studies, Dr. Kinsey worked on city food policy issues at the Baltimore Food Policy Initiative and for the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Stephanie Levinsky-Desir
Links:  Faculty page
Stephanie Lovinsky-Desir, MD, MS is Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and the Chief of Pediatric Pulmonology in the Department of Pediatrics at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center.   Pediatric Pulmonary division. Her research focuses on childhood asthma in urban communities and the influence of environmental factors including air pollution and physical activity. Her interests also focus on addressing health disparities. Her work with the BEH includes evaluating air pollution exposure using GPS and GIS based measures.

Lovasi   Gina Lovasi
Links:  Faculty page
Gina S. Lovasi is the Dornsife Associate Professor of Urban Health, Co-Director of the Urban Health Collaborative and Associate Dean for Education at the Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health.  Her research examines how local policies and initiatives influence cardiovascular and respiratory health, seeking to understand whether the anticipated health benefits have been realized and to explore any unanticipated health effects.  Key aspects of the local environment measured in her research have included walkable urban form, sources of healthy and unhealthy foods, tree canopy coverage and other aesthetic amenities, and pedestrian safety hazards related to crime and traffic. Health outcomes recently studies include cognitive development, asthma, allergic sensitization, physical activity, obesity, myocardial infarction, and sudden cardiac arrest. She has taught a doctoral course on advanced techniques for epidemiologic research for the last 5 years (, and serves on the editorial board for both the Journal of Urban Health and the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

   Stephen Mooney
Links:  Google Scholar Profile, @ University of Washington
Steve is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Washington School of Public Health and the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center.  He is interested, broadly, in how cities affect health, and how we can know whether they do. Which means, more narrowly, his substantive research focuses on built environment influences on pedestrian injury and physical activity, augmented with a stable of side projects digging into epidemiologic methodology. He applies skills acquired in an former career programming computers to public health research.  He received his PhD in Epidemiology from the Mailman School of Public Health.

   Kathryn Neckerman
Links:  Faculty page
Kathryn Neckerman is a Senior Research Scholar at the Columbia University Population Research Center. 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 in the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania. 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. She also leads work on the history and evolution of neighborhood access to social service agencies.

   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 a 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 also the PI of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health’s childhood obesity project.


   Shiva Kooragayala

  Ofira Schwartz-Soicher
   James Stark

   Daniel Wasserman
TanyaKaufman-1   Tanya Kaufman

   Christopher Weiss

Jen_Tsui_sm   Jennifer Tsui

   Catherine Richards

   Dan Sheehan

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