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December 16, 2015
David Williams, Ph.D., M.P.H.
David Williams is the Florence and Laura Norman Professor of Public Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Professor of African and African American Studies and of Sociology at Harvard University. Previously, he served 6 years on the faculty of Yale University and 14 at the University of Michigan. He holds an MPH from Loma Linda University and a PhD in Sociology from the University of Michigan.
Dr. Williams is an internationally recognized authority on social influences on health. His research has enhanced our understanding of the complex ways in which socioeconomic status, race, stress, racial discrimination, health behavior and religious involvement can affect health. The Everyday Discrimination scale that he developed is currently one of the most widely used measures to assess perceived discrimination in health studies. He is the author of more than 375 scientific papers and he has served on the editorial board of 12 scientific journals. He was ranked as one of the Top 10 Most Cited Researchers in the Social Sciences in the world in 2005 and as the Most Cited Black Scholar in the Social Sciences in 2008. In 2014, Thomson Reuters ranked him as one of the World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds.
He has received numerous honors and awards. In 2001, he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and in 2007 to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has also received an inaugural Decade of Behavior Research Award, the Leo G. Reeder Award from the American Sociological Association, and the Stephen Smith Award for Distinguished Contributions in Public Health from the New York Academy of Medicine.
Dr. Williams has been involved in the development of health policy at the national level in the U.S. He has served on the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics and on eight committees for the Institute of Medicine including the Committee that prepared the Unequal Treatment report. Dr Williams has also played a visible, national leadership role in raising awareness levels of the problem of health inequalities and identifying interventions to address them. This includes his service as the staff director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Commission to Build a Healthier America and as a key scientific advisor to the award-winning PBS film series, Unnatural Causes: Is inequality Making Us Sick? He has also held elected and appointed positions in professional organizations, such as the American Sociological Association, the American Public Health Association, and Academy Health. He also served as a member of the MacArthur Foundation’s Research Network on Socioeconomic Status and Health.
This page last reviewed on December 16, 2015