Connecting the social and built environment to health and health inequalities

History

Since its inception in the early 1960s, the Social Environment and Health Program (SEH) has been a leader in theory development and empirical research on the role of psychosocial factors in the etiology and trajectories of mental and physical health and illness. SEH was first led by psychologists John R. P. French, Jr., Robert Kahn, and Floyd Mann. However, it has always been a multi-disciplinary program with collaboration among environmental health scholars, demographers, gerontologists, epidemiologists, and sociologists, notably including James House.

Today, the SEH program has expanded its interdisciplinary lens and includes scholars trained in sociology, geography, demography, architecture, gerontology, human development, epidemiology, health behavior, psychology, environmental engineering, and environmental health. We focus on context and its relation to health and, in particular, health inequalities. For example, one major focus has been on the role of neighborhood resources on social inequalities in aging and health throughout the adult life course. Our research also includes a focus on the intersection of the social with the physical environment, including climate change and environmental hazards, on socioeconomic and racial inequalities in health. In addition to empirical research, the SEH program houses several major data projects, including the Americans’ Changing Lives (ACL) longitudinal cohort study, the National Neighborhood Data Archive (NaNDA), and the Landscapes of Racial Dispossession and Control (Landscapes).

The SEH program is dedicated to training the next generation of interdisciplinary scholars at all educational and career stages from high school students in the University of Michigan Wolverine Pathways Program to SEH post-doctoral fellows. We also house the University of Michigan Transdisciplinary Approaches to Research on Racism (RacismLab) interdisciplinary research collective for the training of doctoral students, post-doctoral fellows, and junior faculty in the study of racism through critical perspectives.

People

SEH people

Core Faculty

Philippa Clarke

Philippa Clarke

Research Professor

Other affiliations:

Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health

Disability Inclusive design Aging in place Social context and cognition Assistive technology Built environment

Margaret Hicken

Margaret Hicken

Research Associate Professor

Other affiliations:

Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, Michigan Medicine;

Population Studies Center, Institute for Social Research

Structural racism Cultural racism Racial segregation Environmental toxicants Social epigenomics Chronic kidney disease

Felix Kabo

Felix Kabo

Assistant Research Scientist

Social Environment & Health Program

Carina Gronlund

Carina Gronlund

Research Assistant Professor

Social Environment & Health Program

Climate change Air pollution Vulnerability Health impact assessment

Grace Noppert

Grace Noppert

Research Assistant Professor

Social Environment & Health Program

Ketlyne Sol

Ketlyne Sol

Research Investigator

Social Environment & Health Program

Jessica Finlay

Jessica Finlay

Research Investigator

Social Environment & Health Program

Research Staff

Iris Gomez-LopezIris Gomez-Lopez, Geospatial Analyst
Iris Gomez-Lopez joined SRC-Social Environment and Health as a Geoinformatics Data Analyst. Iris has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of North Texas. Her work in Computational Epidemiology integrates disciplines such as Geoinformatics, Data Mining, Natural Language Processing, Data Analytics, and Modelling. She completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Michigan SI, with the Neighborhood Effects Project research group. Most recently, she was employed by Miami University for one academic year as a VAP in the Computer Science and Software Engineering department. Iris enjoys spending time with her family, pets, and friends. She is involved in community projects and organizations in A2 to help and support immigrants and other population minorities.

 

Rosalind Perry Martin, Project Coordinator

Rosalind Perry Martin joined the School for Environmental Health as a Project Coordinator supporting Dr. Corina Gronlund and Dr. Grace Noppert. Previously, she worked for the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR) at the University of Michigan Medical School for Research. Rosalind received her Bachelor of Science in Written Communication and Masters of Interdisciplinary Science from Eastern Michigan University. She enjoys reading, walking and spending time with her family.

 


Robert Melendez

Robert Melendez, Geospatial Data Specialist

Robert is a data analyst who has expertise in the data we use in order to understand neighborhood context. For example, he takes all of the data from the US Census to create measures of neighborhood poverty, affluence, and segregation.


 
Mary Wessel Walker, Project Coordinator
Mary Wessel Walker is a Project Coordinator supporting Dr. Margaret Hicken’s Landscapes of Racial Dispossession and Control projects. Mary studied philosophy and mathematics at Bryn Mawr College. In her spare time she enjoys teaching Scottish Country Dancing and sewing her own clothes.

Administrative Staff

Amanda Donovan

Amanda Donovan

Amanda Donovan is a project coordinator for the Social Environment and Health Program, where she assists with post-award project management, financial documentation, social media, and websites. She received her BA in Russian Language and Literature from Michigan State University in 2008.


Michelle DownerMichelle Downer

Michelle Downer is the administrative assistant for the Social and Environmental Health program. She has her Associates in Applied Science and is currently working toward her Bachelors in Psychology through the University of Michigan. Michelle spends most of her time with her husband and son, she enjoys boating in the summer and reading & staying warm in the winter.


Brittni Delmaine

Brittni Delmaine joined SEH as an editor associate and brings with her more than ten years of freelance editing experience. She worked as a high school English teacher in North Carolina for seven years before earning her Master of Arts at the University of Chicago, where she studied post-truth theory and Cormac McCarthy. Most recently she has lived and worked as an academic advisor for first-generation college students at Black Hills State University in South Dakota. Her personal interests are reading, spending time with her one-eyed cat, and traveling.


Nick PrieurNick Prieur

Nicholas Prieur is a Research Process Senior Manager in the Social Environment and Health Program, where he serves as SEHI’s overall research administrator. In his role he manages all pre-award research activities, financials, HR transactions, restricted project data contracts, IRB’s, and other program needs. He also leads the program’s shared administrative team, with specializations in post award, editing, publication production, social media, website maintenance and computing support. He received his BS from Michigan State University in 2002.

Post-doctoral Fellows

Pre-doctoral Fellows

 

Dominique SylversDominique Sylvers

Health Behavior and Health Education

Dominique Sylvers is a doctoral student in the department of Health Behavior and Health Education (HBHE) at the School of Public Health. She received her Master’s of Public Health from HBHE in 2017, after which, she was involved with various aspects of chronic disease intervention research. As a pre-doctoral trainee in Social Environment and Health (SEH), her interest center around cognitive aging in African American adults, specifically the contextual influence of environmental factors such as neighborhood residential segregation and education inequality. Dominique also has an interest in Population Health and is a Population Studies Center Trainee.