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Social Disparities and Health

A pressing policy problem in the United States and other countries is the extraordinary pattern of inequality in the health of children and adults. These health disparities are widespread and not easily explained. Faculty in IPR’s Cells to Society (C2S): The Center on Social Disparities and Health are forging new paths to create better understanding of, and improvement in, human health and social outcomes. They recognize that such an effort requires complex modeling of the interplay between biological processes and environmental influences. To this end, they coalesce around the Center’s mission to:

  • bring together the social, life, and biomedical sciences to understand the origins, consequences, and policy solutions for contemporary health inequalities in the United States; and 
  • examine how broad social, race/ethnic, and economic disparities "get under the skin" and affect human development and physical health.

A Message from Thomas McDade, Program Chair and C2S Director

Thomas McDade headshot
The Center on Social Disparities and Health continues to expand its scope of activities to understand how social, economic, and cultural contexts affect physical and mental health, as well as cognitive achievement, at the population level. Faculty research overlaps with other IPR program areas including Child, Adolescent, and Family Studies; Policy, Race, and Inequality; and Education Policy.

Working Papers

Recently published articles and working papers in this program area include:

Alfredo Burlando, Pradeep Chintagunta, Jessica Goldberg, Melissa Graboyes, Peter Hangoma, Dean Karlan, Mario Macis, and Silvia Prina. 2022. Replication and Adaptation of Incentivized Peer Outreach: From Tuberculosis in India to COVID-19 in Zambia (WP-22-39).

Jessica Polos, Stephanie Koning, Taylor Hargrove, Kiarri Kershaw, and Thomas McDade. 2022. Structural Racism in School Contexts and Adolescent Depression: Development of New Indices for the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health and Beyond (WP-22-26).

Jon Green, James Druckman, Matthew Baum, David Lazer, Katherine Ognyanova, and Roy Perlis. 2022. Depressive Symptoms and Conspiracy Beliefs (WP-22-22).

All Papers

Faculty Experts

Faculty come from the fields of anthropology, sociology, psychology, biomedical sciences, pediatrics, and preventive medicine, in addition to other social science and medical fields.

View all experts


How Has COVID-19 Impacted Children and Adolescents and How Are They Recovering?

  • Emma Adam, Edwina S. Tarry Professor of Human Development and Social Policy, and Director of the COAST (Contexts of Adolescent Stress and Thriving) Lab
  • Jonathan Guryan, Lawyer Taylor Professor of Education and Social Policy, IPR Fellow, and Chair of IPR's Program on Education Policy
  • Terri Sabol, Associate Professor of Human Development and Social Policy and IPR Fellow, and Director of the Development, Early Education, and Policy (DEEP) Lab
  • Moderated by Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, IPR Director and Margaret Walker Alexander Professor of Human Development and Social Policy

Policy Brief: The Hidden Toll of Success for College Grads of Color

College graduates live healthier and longer lives as compared with those who do not go to college. However, Black and Latinx college graduates are more likely to suffer later in life from cardiometabolic diseases than White graduates. IPR health psychologists Edith Chen and Greg Miller investigate the effects of what it means for young Black and Latinx people to achieve success.

Download the brief