Connecting the social and built environment to health and health inequalities

Kimberly Rollings

Research Investigator, Social Environment and Health Program

Trained in environmental psychology and architecture, Dr. Rollings’ research examines effects of built, natural, and social environments on physical and mental health within residential settings and among vulnerable populations (low-income, children, seniors, unstably housed). Current work focuses on affordable and permanent supportive housing, and developing metrics with the National Neighborhood Data Archive (NaNDA). She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Human Behavior and Design from Cornell University’s Department of Design and Environmental Analysis (now Human-Centered Design) and B. Architecture from the University of Notre Dame.

Research Projects

A National Neighborhood Data Resource to Understand Inequities in the Health and Socioeconomic Impacts of COVID-19 in the United States

(NIH/NINR; U01NR020556)

The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have been unequally felt by individuals and communities across the United States. To understand these patterns, we will create, integrate, and share data on neighborhood characteristics, both before and since the pandemic, that can be readily linked to existing survey or cohort studies at various levels of geography. This national neighborhood data (NANDA) resource will support the scientific community in understanding the mechanisms that may convey risk and resilience, particularly in underserved and vulnerable populations, and will allow us to more effectively prepare for the next public health emergency.


  • Rollings KA, Dannenberg AL, Frumkin H, Jackson RJ. Built environment and public health: more than 20 years of progress. Am J Public Health. 2024;114(1):27-33. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2023.307451
  • Rollings KA, Noppert GA, Griggs JJ, Melendez RA, Clarke PJ. Comparison of two area-level socioeconomic deprivation indices: implications for public health research, practice, and policy. PLoS One. 2023;18(10):e0292281. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0292281
  • Ryus CR, Janke AT, Kunnath N, Ibrahim AM, Rollings KA. Association of hospital discharge against medical advice and coded housing instability in the US. J Gen Intern Med. 2023;38(13):3082-3085. doi:10.1007/s11606-023-08240-1
  • Rollings KA, Kayongo J. Assessing the use of spaces renovated to support group work in an academic library. J Learning Spaces. 2022;11(2):72-88.
  • Rollings KA, Kunnath N, Ryus CR, Janke AT, Ibrahim AM. Association of coded housing instability and hospitalization in the US. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(11):e2241951. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.41951
  • Rollings KA. Engaging U.S. Adults with serious mental illness in participatory design research exercises. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022;19(11):6743. Published 2022 May 31. doi:10.3390/ijerph19116743
  • Rollings KA, Bollo CS. Permanent supportive housing design characteristics associated with the mental health of formerly homeless adults in the U.S. and Canada: an integrative review. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021;18(18):9588. Published 2021 Sep 12. doi:10.3390/ijerph18189588
  • Wells NM, Rollings KA, Ong AD, Reid MC. Nearby nature buffers the pain catastrophizing – pain intensity relation among urban residents with chronic pain. Front Built Environ. 2019;5:142. doi:10.3389/fbuil.2019.00142
  • Rollings KA, Wells NM. Cafeteria assessment for elementary schools (CAFES): development, reliability testing, and predictive validity analysis. BMC Public Health. 2018;18(1):1154. doi:10.1186/s12889-018-6032-2
  • Rollings KA, Wells NM, Evans GW, Bednarz A, Yang Y. Housing and neighborhood physical quality: children’s mental health and motivation. J Environ Psychol. 2017;50:17-23. doi:10.1016/j.jenvp.2017.01.004
Jessica Finlay