David R. Williams, PhD, MPH

Florence & Laura Norman Professor of Public Health

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Cambridge, MA

Professor Williams, is the Florence and Laura Norman Professor of Public Health and Chair, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He is also a Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University.

An internationally recognized authority on social influences on health, Professor Williams was previously at the University of Michigan where he was the Harold Cruse Collegiate Professor of Sociology, a Senior Research Scientist at the Institute of Social Research and a Professor of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health. His first 6 years as a faculty member were at Yale University where he held appointments inSociology and Public Health.
Professor Williams has served as the staff director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Commission to Build a Healthier America. He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2001, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007 and the National Academy of Sciences in 2019. In 2014, Thomson Reuters ranked him as one of the World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds.

Professor Williams earned an MPH at Loma Linda University and a PhD in sociology at the University of Michigan. The author of more than 475 scientific papers, his research has enhanced our understanding of the ways in which race, socioeconomic status, stress, racism, health behavior and religious involvement can affect physical and mental health. The Everyday Discrimination scale that he developed is the most widely used measure of discrimination in health studies.

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