Since its inception in the early 1960s, the Social Environment and Health Program (SEH) has been a leader in the development of theory and research on the major role of psychosocial factors in the etiology and course of both mental and physical health and illness.

Founded as a cross-disciplinary program, SEH was first led by psychologists John R. P. French, Jr., Robert Kahn, and Floyd Mann in the 1960s and 1970s, and joined by physician epidemiologist Sidney Cobb and several junior colleagues (especially Stanislav Kasl and Robert Caplan). One member of this founding group, Robert Kahn, remains an active and valued member of SEH, working on problems of productive activities and successful aging (Rowe and Kahn, 1998), as he continues to age successfully beyond his 90th birthday in 2008.

We continue to expand this area of research, focusing on the importance of social context for health and well-being across the life course. Our work examines social disparities in health, including the role of racism, toxic and built environments, and the molecular pathways linking neighborhoods to health inequalities.


Research Associate Professor, Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan

I'm interested in understanding how the design of our outdoor built environments (e.g., sidewalk quality, curb cuts, and pedestrian crossings) promotes or hinders mobility, particularly among older adults or those with physical/cognitive impairments, who may find urban environments more challenging to navigate. Using wearable technology, we collect hundreds of thousands of data points (e.g. step length, stride time, and other step-based metrics) in real time from individuals walking in real-world outdoor environments.

I work with a highly interdisciplinary team of colleagues from social science, architecture and urban planning (Robert Adams), nursing (Nancy Ambrose Gallagher), geriatrics (Neil Alexander), and industrial engineering (Clive DíSouza), who are all interested in understanding inclusive design for successful aging, optimal mobility and physical activity.

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Research Assistant Professor, Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan

I am currently a Research Assistant Professor at the Survey Research Center of the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, with an additional appointment in the Division of Nephrology in the Department of Internal Medicine. Both my pre- and post-doctoral training has emphasized interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches to the study of health inequities, first at the Population Studies Center and then as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar, both at the University of Michigan.

Broadly speaking, I examine the ways in which social forces link racial group membership to the risk of poor health, particularly those conditions related to cardiovascular and renal diseases. In the US, despite tremendous resources devoted to the elimination of health inequalities, evidence suggests that they are growing. I would argue that our inability to eliminate (or even reduce) these inequalities is due to a lack of truly interdisciplinary approaches. Throughout my research program, I ground my approach to the study of race in the social sciences while integrating the biological sciences to ensure that the mechanisms I examine are both socially- and biologically-plausible.

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Angus Campbell Distinguished University Professor of Sociology, Survey Research & Public Policy, Professor of Sociology, College of LSA, & Professor of Public Policy, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan

James S. House, Ph.D. is Angus Campbell Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Survey Research, Public Policy, and Sociology, and an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Academy of Sciences.

His research career has focused on the role of social and psychological factors in the etiology and course of health and illness, initially on occupational stress and health, then social relationships and support in relation to health, and currently on the role of psychosocial factors in understanding and alleviating social disparities in health and the way health changes with age. He has also made theoretical and empirical contributions to interdisciplinary social psychology, particularly from a sociological perspective, and taught courses in social psychology, social determinants and disparities in health, and applications of these to social policy.

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Research Investigator, Social Environment & Health Program, Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan

Dr. Kabo's research focuses on how physical and social contexts shape outcomes related to aging, cognitive function and dementia, and health disparities. He also uses sociospatial network science to enhance our understanding of physical activity, team science and collaboration, and entrepreneurship and innovation.

His interests include sociospatial network analysis and models for multiple levels of analysis - cellular, individual, and organizational; spatiotemporal data and spatial location intelligence; collection and analysis of 'big' heterogeneous datasets.

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Director and Research Professor, Population Studies Center. Professor, Department of Sociology. Research Professor, Survey Research Center. University of Michigan

I have a broad background in sociology, with specific training and expertise in demography, criminology, urban sociology, and quantitative methods. My areas of research include neighborhoods and spatial inequality, crime and the criminal justice system, and population health. My current research projects include work on prisoner reintegration, communities, and families; the effects of incarceration on labor market outcomes, recidivism, and health; the population dynamics of neighborhood change; and how local community context shapes perceptions of inequality, perceptions of place, and residential mobility. I have been PI or co-Investigator on grants funded by NIH, NSF, private foundations, and sources within the University of Michigan. I successfully administered the projects (e.g. staffing, research protections, budget), collaborated with other researchers, and produced several peer-reviewed publications from each project. In addition to serving as Director of the Population Studies Center, my administrative experience includes stints as Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholars Program at the University of Michigan, Associate Chair in the Department of Sociology, and Associate Director of the Population Studies Center.

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Stanley E. Seashore Collegiate Professor of Psychology and Organizational Studies. Research Professor, Institute for Social Research. University of Michigan

Dr. Price's current research focuses on leadership and organizational innovation. He is conducting field studies in Ireland, Finland, the Netherlands, Korea, China and the United States to understand how leaders use their political intuition and social networks to create innovative organizations.

As Director of the Michigan Prevention Research Center at the Institute for Social Research, he and his colleagues conduct surveys and field experiments on organizational innovations aimed at improving the conditions of working life. The Center has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Joyce Foundation, and the California Wellness Foundation.

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Research Themes



Racism, Stress, & Health

Resilience in Aging

Social Networks & Health

Disability Dynamics

Gene-Environment Interaction