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Kathleen Mullan Harris
Ph.D., James Haar Distinguished Professor, Sociology
Adjunct Professor, Public Policy
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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 and aging processes. Harris served as Director and Principal Investigator of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) from 2004-2021 (deputy director 1999-2004). She transformed Add Health into a landmark study, funded by 23 NIH institutes and agencies, in which she integrated biological and genomic data with social and behavioral data for the scientific study of developmental and health trajectories across the early life course. Harris works with an interdisciplinary set of scholars from sociology, epidemiology, nutrition, economics, cardiology, genetics, and survey methods to publish research on such topics as the health effects of despair, isolation and stress; social genetic effects; health costs of upward mobility; early life origins of biological aging; and the obesity epidemic and young adult health. She was awarded the Golden Goose Award from the US Congress for 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. Dr. Harris is past president of the Population Association of America, past president of the Interdisciplinary Association of Population Health Science, and an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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