Potential Collaborators      and Advisors
Advisory Committee
    RWJF National      Program Office


   Core Seminar      Schedule
    Colloquium on Social      Science and Health
    Key Program Dates for      Scholars, Faculty and      Directors

Related Links & FAQs  

Cohorts XV & XVI

Front Row: Patty Strach, Matthew Levy, Anna Levine, Colin Jerolmack
Back Row: Sharon Bzostek, Hahrie Han, Hilary Levey, Christine Percheski

Cohort XV (2008 - 2010)

Colin Jerolmack received a Ph.D. in sociology from the City University of New York in 2008. His primary fields of research are urban communities and environmental sociology. His dissertation is a comparative ethnography that examines the ways that relations with animals structure urban life.  He is currently completing a book based on the dissertation, to be published by the University of Chicago Press.  As an RWJF Scholar, he is interested in studying the relationship between animal control policies and the perceived threat of zoonotic diseases.  He is also researching how people who are socially isolated make decisions about their health, and if they suffer health disparities independent of poverty.  After completing the Program, he will assume a position as Assistant Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies at New York University.

To My Website


Patricia Strach received a Ph.D. in political science from University of Wisconsin at Madison in 2004 and is currently on leave from the University at Albany, State University of New York, where she is an assistant professor in the Departments of Political Science, and Public Administration and Policy.  Her research examines the relationship between social and political institutions in American public policy.  Previously, she mapped the role of family in the policy process and the consequences for policy when social practices changed over time.  Currently, she is working on a project that looks at when and why advocacy groups that wish to solve a social problem choose to turn to government (hence making public policy) and when and why they take alternative strategies (e.g. fundraising, marketing).



Christine Percheski received her Ph.D. in sociology from Princeton University in 2008. Her primary research interests are in women's employment, family demography, and social inequality. Dr. Percheski's recent work has considered questions of how family characteristics correlate with employment including whether becoming a father affects employment differently for married and unmarried men, how the child penalty on women's employment has changed across birth cohorts of college-educated women in professional occupations,and how the employment patterns of new mothers vary by whether they are married, cohabiting or lone mothers. In future research projects, she will consider the effects of employment policies (including parental leave and paid sick days) on maternal and child health, as well as how increasing instabilities in employment and family life place low-income families and racial/ethnic minorities at risk of health insurance coverage losses. After completing the program, she will assume a position as assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at Northwestern University.



Anna Levine received a Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University in 2008. Her research interests include industrial organization economics and health economics. Her dissertation examines the impact of market structure on the returns to innovation in the biotechnology pharmaceutical industry. As a Scholar, she is interested in continuing to explore how market structure and competition impact the effects of regulation and the direction of innovation in the health care industry. Following the program, she will join the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis as an Assistant Professor.


To My Website

Cohorts XIII & XIV

2008 photo

L to R: Front Row: Laura Evans, Gopi Shah Goda; Middle Row: Damon Centola, Susan Moffitt, Wesley Yin, Nicole Esparza; Back Row: Radha Iyengar, Avi Ebenstein, Rodney Andrews

Cohort XIII

Damon Centola received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 2006, where he was an IGERT fellow in non-linear dynamics and chaos. His research interests include the diffusion of innovations and cultural traits, the mobilization of social movements, and the segregation and stratification of social groups. His dissertation research, which has been published in Physica A and the American Journal of Sociology , uses techniques from statistical physics, agent-based modeling, and network theory to study the dynamics of collective action. As a scholar, he will work on the policy implications of diffusion dynamics in health care.


Radha Iyengar received her Ph.D. in economics from the Princeton University in 2006. Her primary fields of interest are labor economic and public finance. In her dissertation she analyzed attorney performance in the Federal indigent defense system. In her previous work she studied the effect of Three-Strikes law in California on the propensity to commit violent crime and the effect of mandatory arrest law for intimate partner abuse on domestic violence. She has also worked extensively with the National Network to End Domestic Violence to help develop and provide empirical support for federal domestic violence policy. As a scholar, Dr. Iyengar is interested in studying the effect of criminal justice policy and drug and gun markets and the effectiveness of these laws on improving mortality and morbidity in disadvantaged populations. She is also interested in studying the relationship between labor market structures and insurance coverage and the role this relationship has in generating and preserving the health gradient in the United States.


Susan Moffitt received a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Michigan in 2005. Her research focuses on public bureaucracies and government regulation, with particular emphasis on informational approaches to regulation. She has co-authored work on policy implementation, and she is currently completing two book projects. One book considers government agencies' choices about secrecy and publicity and how those choices bear on agencies' regulatory goals. The second book is a co-authored study of ambitious social policy reform and the learning such reform requires of implementers and regulatory targets. While a scholar at Harvard, her research will examine the choices the Food and Drug Administration makes to promote agency and public learning about approved drugs' safety and efficacy.


Wesley Yin received a Ph.D in economics from Princeton University in 2005. He is currently on leave from the University of Chicago where he is an assistant professor at the Harris School of Public Policy.   Dr. Yin has worked on a wide range of topics in microeconomics. In recent work, he has studied the economics of innovation, the diffusion of medical technology, savings behavior, and information in credit markets.   As a Program scholar at Harvard, Dr. Yin will investigate models of technology adoption for both health care providers and consumers in order to study to study the impact of medical innovations on health behaviors and quality of medical care.


Cohort XIV

Rodney Andrews received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan in 2007. His dissertation evaluated the impact of legal challenges to affirmative action and the resulting policy responses to minority educational outcomes. Dr. Andrews looks at both Texas 's Top Ten Percent rule, the policy response to the Hopwood v. Texas decision, and at the changes in applications and admissions at the University of Michigan due to the changes brought on by the United States Supreme Court decisions in Gratz v. Bollinger and Grutter v. Bollinger . As a Scholar, he plans to examine the impact of early-onset psychiatric disorders on various labor market outcomes of African-Americans and Caribbean-Americans. The research is intended to shed light on yet another aspect of health disparities


Avraham Ebenstein received his Ph.D. in economics from University of California, Berkeley in 2007. His fields of interest include labor economics, economic demography, and family economics. Dr. Ebenstein's past research examined the impact of fertility control policy in China on the sex ratio, and investigated policies that might address the "missing girls" phenomenon in Asia. He also explored linkages between declining fertility and increasing female labor supply in Taiwan and the United States in a comparative study. As a Scholar, he plans to study the health impacts of environmental deterioration, and the appropriate transfer policies to stem the growth of greenhouse gasses.

To My Website

Nicole Esparza received a Ph.D. in sociology from Princeton in 2007. Her research interests include organizational dynamics, urban inequality, and economic sociology. Dr. Esparza's dissertation used a multi-method approach to examine nonprofit organizations in twenty-six U.S. metropolitan areas. This research explored how interorganizational dynamics and social and political context affect the distribution of homeless services. As a Scholar, Dr. Esparza is interested in studying hospital patient "dumping," a practice in which hospitals avoid high-cost patients by refusing to admit, transferring, and/or releasing patients in unstable conditions.


Laura Evans is an Assistant Professor in the Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington. She received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Michigan in 2005. Dr. Evans' research focuses on local politics and intergovernmental relations. She is completing a book manuscript entitled The Fight for Change inside Institutions: American Federalism and Strategies of Tribal Governments. The book examines strategies and institutions that enable American Indian tribes and other politically marginalized groups to win surprising political victories. As a Scholar, Dr. Evans has two projects underway. The first explores when local officials identify health issues as a regional concern and the dynamics behind such discourse. The second addresses the health politics of state earmarks.


Gopi Shah Goda received her Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University in 2007.  Prior to her doctoral studies, she worked as an actuary at a life insurance company and became a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries in 2004.  Her interests span public finance, demography, and labor economics, and her dissertation examined the labor supply incentives embedded in the Social Security program.  As a Scholar, she is expanding her research on the elderly by working on topics related to long-term care, Medicare and Medicaid.

To My Website

Past Harvard Scholars