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Kathleen Mullan Harris, Ph.D., James Haar Distinguished Professor, Sociology

Adjunct Professor, Public Policy

Kathleen Mullan Harris studies social inequality and health seeking to understand how disadvantaged environments and social experiences influence physical well-being across the life course. Her research focuses on the biosocial processes that increase health risks early in life before disease is manifest to inform policies that reduce health disparities and improve population health.

Kathleen Mullan Harris is the James E. Haar Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Adjunct Professor of Public Policy. Her research focuses on social inequality and health with particular interests in health disparities, biodemography, social science genomics, and life course processes. Harris is Principal Investigators and Director of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), a longitudinal study of more than 20 thousand teens who are being followed into adulthood. Under Harris' leadership, the study has pioneered innovative study designs and integrative multidisciplinary research to understand social, environmental, behavioral, biological and genetic linkages in developmental and health trajectories across the early life course. She has been an advocate within the social science and population disciplines for bridging social and biomedical sciences to advance knowledge on the development of health disparities from both an inter- and intra-generational perspective to inform public health and social policy. Her publications appear in a wide range of disciplinary journals including demography, genetics, family, epidemiology, biology, public policy, survey methodology, medicine, and social and health behavior. Dr. Harris was awarded the Golden Goose Award from the US Congress for federally funded research that leads to major breakthroughs in medicine, social behavior, and technological research and the Irene Taeuber Award from the Population Association of America in recognition of original and important contributions to the scientific study of population. She is Chair of the Committee on Population at the National Academies of Sciences and Chair of the Social Science and Population Study Section. Dr. Harris is past president of the Population Association of America and an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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Last Updated: 2019-09-13