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David Williams, Ph.D.

david_williamsDavid Williams, Ph.D.
Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health,
Professor of African American Studies
Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts

David R. Williams is the Florence and Laura Norman Professor of Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health, professor of African and African American studies and an affiliate of the sociology department at Harvard University. Dr. Williams holds a master’s degree in public health from Loma Linda University and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Michigan.

He is internationally recognized as a leading social scientist focused on social influences on health. His research has enhanced understanding of the complex ways in which race, racial discrimination, socioeconomic status and religious involvement can affect physical and mental 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 has served on the editorial board of twelve scientific journals and as a reviewer for over sixty journals. According to ISI Essential Science Indicators, he was one of the top ten most cited researchers in the social sciences during the decade 1995 to 2005.

Dr. Williams has been involved in the development of health policy at the national level in the U.S. He has served on the Department of Health and Human Services’ National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics and on seven committees for the Institute of Medicine. He also served as a member of the of the MacArthur Foundation’s Research Network on Socioeconomic Status and Health. Dr Williams has also played a visible, national leadership role in raising awareness levels of the problem of health disparities and identifying interventions to address them. From 2007 through October 2009, he served as the staff director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Commission to Build a Healthier America.   With funding from the National Institutes of Health and the sponsorship of the World Health Organization, Dr Williams directed the South African Stress and Health Study, the first nationally representative study of the prevalence and correlates of psychiatric disorders in sub-Sahara Africa.