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Pamela Surkan, PhD, ScD, MS, is a social epidemiologist working in the areas of mental health, child health, and development and testing of interventions to reduce health disparities.

Contact Info

615 N. Wolfe Street, Room E5523

Research Interests

Social epidemiology; social conditions; social support; social justice; mental health; maternal health; reproductive health; child growth and development; child cognition; behavioral interventions, international health

Experiences & Accomplishments
Karolinska Institute
Harvard School of Public Health
Harvard School of Public Health
Reed College

My main research objective is to study how social determinants influence health. My interests are largely cross-disciplinary. They focus on examining interactions between social conditions and other factors that impact health, such as dietary behaviors and environmental exposures. To date, much of my work has been about the role of maternal mental health, social support and familial environment on early growth and childhood development. International collaborations have included work in Brazil, Sweden, Haiti, Nepal, and Pakistan.

Honors & Awards

Fulbright Grant to Colombia, US State Department - Institute of International Education (1994-1995)

David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Term-time Research Grant to Brazil (1999)

Frederick Sheldon Fellowship to Brazil, Harvard University (2000-2001)

Thord-Gray Memorial Fellowship to Sweden, American Scandinavian Foundation (2002-2003)

“Best Paper of the Year”, Editorial Board of the Journal of Nutrition, Education, and Behavior (2017)

Global Research Fellow, University of Fortaleza Brazil/Institute of International Education (2019-2021)

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship, Institute of Advanced Studies- Paris (2021–2022)

Select Publications

Selected publications.

  • Surkan PJ, Malik A§, Perin J, Atif N, Zaidi A, Rowther A, Rahman A. Anxiety-focused cognitive behavioral therapy delivered by non-specialists to prevent postnatal depression: a randomized, phase 3 trial. Nature Medicine 2024; 30(3):675-682.§Co-first authors

  • Surkan PJ, Dong L, Ji Y; Hong X, Kimmel M, Tang W, Ji H, Wang X. Paternal involvement and support and risk of preterm birth: Findings from the Boston Birth Cohort. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology 2017; 16:1-9.

  • Surkan PJ, Tabrizi MJ, Lee RM, Palmer AM, Frick KD. 'Eat Right - Live Well!' supermarket intervention impact on sales of healthy foods in a low-income neighborhood. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 2016;48(2):112-121.

  • Surkan PJ, Ettinger AK, Ahmed S, Minkovitz CS, Strobino D. Impact of maternal depressive symptoms on growth of preschool- and school-aged children. Pediatrics 130(4):e847-55, 2012.

  • Surkan PJ, Mukherjee JS, Williams DR, Eustache E, Louis E, Jean-Paul T, Lambert W, Scanlan FC, Oswald CM, Smith Fawzi MC. Perceived discrimination and stigma towards children affected by HIV/AIDS and their HIV-positive caregivers in central Haiti. AIDS Care 22 (7):803-15, 2010.

Human rights violations affecting Nepali widows and their children
Mental health trajectories and mental healthcare from childhood through adulthood
Youth and adult microfinance to improve resilience outcomes in DRC
Novel approaches to characterize depressive symptoms and cognitive outcomes
Trauma, Mental Health and Early Childhood Development
A Diabetes Networking Tool to Enhance Self-management through Social Networks
Southwest Baltimore Supermarket Intervention
Prenatal Multi-Level Stressors and Alterations in Maternal and Fetal Epigenomes
Maternal Stress and Preterm Birth: Role of Genome and Epigenome
An anxiety-focused early prenatal intervention for the prevention of common mental disorders in Pakistan