S. V. Subramanian, Ph.D., M.Phil.

Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Harvard University
Email: svsubram@hsph.harvard.edu Discipline: Social Epidemiology, Geography

Investigator Award
Neighborhood Disadvantage and Health: A Lifecourse Perspective
Award Year: 2009 Although health outcomes vary dramatically across neighborhoods, we lack an in-depth understanding of the inter-relationship between neighborhood environments and the health of their residents. In an effort to grasp this, S. V. Subramanian, Ph.D., M.Phil., a geographer and associate professor in the department of society, human development, and health at Harvard University, will use empirical data from three long-range studies: the Framingham Heart Study, the Health and Retirement Survey, and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. In his project, Neighborhood Disadvantage and Health: a Lifecourse Perspective, Dr. Subramanian will examine the complex interaction between environment and health across an individual's lifespan. The study also will look at the possibility that residents' health status may influence their choice of neighborhood. He will explore whether neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage correlates with the degree of resources such as accessibility to parks and recreational facilities, health care services, public transport, food environment, and educational opportunities. Results should help advance our understanding of the role of neighborhoods in health and of the potential to improve quality of life in disadvantaged neighborhoods through investments in infrastructure and other community resources.


S.V. (Subu) Subramanian is a professor of population health and geography in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health. He is also a faculty associate at The Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University and is a core faculty member of the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. He has a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Portsmouth, UK with specialization in multilevel statistical methods. His undergraduate and master's training was in human geography, with specialization in urban and regional development and planning from the University of Delhi. Subu was a recipient of the 1999-2000 MacArthur Leadership Program in Population and Development Studies based at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. In 2005, he received the National Institutes of Health Career Development Award to pursue research on the social and contextual determinants of asthma. Subu?s research interests focus on two key domains that fall within the field of social epidemiology or social determinants of population health. The first has been to support the development and application of a multilevel approach to the study of population health, with a goal to advancing our understanding of the association between social context and individual health in substantive ways, and the second has been to develop and conduct research on the social determinants of health within a cross-comparative global perspective. Subu has published over 200 original articles and book chapters in the field of social epidemiology, applied multilevel methods, and health inequalities in India. His research has been published in high impact international journals including BMJ, JAMA, PLoS Medicine, Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Pediatrics, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, International Journal of Epidemiology, American Journal of Epidemiology, American Journal of Public Health, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, and Social Science and Medicine. He has co-written a book entitled, Epidemiology: An Introduction (Open University Press, 2000), and co-edited a book on Social Capital and Health. Subu has lectured and conducted workshops on multilevel models in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, U.K., and the U.S. He has also co-developed a training manual to assist researchers in the concept and application of multilevel models using the MLwiN program. He has advised over 75 masters, doctoral and postdoctoral students as mentor, academic advisor or dissertation committee member. Subu is a senior editor of the international journal Social Science & Medicine. Besides being on the editorial board of several journals, he is an editorial consultant to The Lancet, and an editorial board member of the Annals of the Association of American Geographers. Subu is a permanent member of the National Institutes of Health Community Influences on Health Behavior (CIHB) Study Section, and a member of the Institute of Medicine Committee on Readjustment Needs of Military Personnel, Veterans and their Families. He has served as an external reviewer for all the major journals and for several major funding institutions in the U.S. and abroad.