Katherine Theall


Katherine Theall, PhD
Associate Professor
Cecile Usdin Professorship in Women’s Health
Director, Mary Amelia Women’s Center
Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences
Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
1440 Canal Street, Suite 2300
New Orleans, LA 70112
Phone: (504) 988-4535
Fax: (504) 988-3540
Curriculum Vitae




Research Interests:

Social determinants of health; social epidemiology; structural, interpersonal, and biological stress; women and children's mental and behavioral health inequities.


Professional Achievements:

Memberships: Phi Kappa Phi, American Public Health Association, American College of Epidemiology, Research Society on Alcoholism, Society for Epidemiologic Research, Global Network for Geospatial Health  

  • 2006 – Present Member, LA State Epidemiology Workgroup (SEW) on Substance Abuse
  • 2008 – Present Member, New Orleans Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (NOSAP)
  • 2009 – Present Member, LSUHSC/Xavier Health Care Disparities Research Consortium
  • 2009 – Present Member, Louisiana Childhood Obesity Research Consortium (LACORC)
  • 2010 – Present Member, American College of Epidemiology Communications Committee

Educational Background:

  • Ph.D. in Epidemiology, Tulane University
  • M.P.H. in Epidemiology, Emory University
  • B.S. in Microbiology and Psychology, Louisiana State University

Course(s) Taught:

  • GCHB 7130 Research Methods in Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • GCHB 8751 Social Determinants of Health II:  Measurement and Methods


  • Clark R., Murphy M., Richard-Davis G., Hayes J., Theall KP. (2009) Planning Parenthood: Strategies for Scucess in Fertility Assistance, Adoption, and Surrogacy. Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore, MD.

Book Chapters:

  • Drury SS, Theall K, Gleason MM, Smyke AT, De Vivo I, Wong JY, Fox NA, Zeanah CH, Nelson CA. Telomere length and early severe social deprivation: linking early adversity and cellular aging. Mol Psychiatry. 2012 Jul;17(7):719-27. doi: 10.1038/mp.2011.53. Epub 2011 May 17.

  • Drury SS, Gleason MM, Theall KP, Smyke AT, Nelson CA, Fox NA, Zeanah CH. Genetic sensitivity to the caregiving context: the influence of 5httlpr and BDNF val66met on indiscriminate social behavior. Physiol Behav. 2012 Jul 16;106(5):728-35. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2011.11.014. Epub 2011 Nov 23.

  • Theall KP, Elifson KW, and Sterk CE. Illicit Drug Use and Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health, pp. 129-152. 2002. In Wingood, G. and DiClemente, R. (Eds.) Handbook of Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health. Kluwer Academic / Plenum Publishers: New York, NY. 
  • Sterk C, Theall KP, Elifson KW.  Public health approach to depression and women: The case of the disadvantaged inner-city woman, pp. 382. 2006.  In Keyes, C, Goodman, SH (Eds.) Handbook on Women and Depression. Boston: Cambridge University Press.


Recent Journal Publications:

  • Theall KP, McKasson S, Mabile E, Dunaway LF, Drury SS. Early Hits and Long-Term Consequences: Tracking the Lasting Impact of Prenatal Smoke Exposure on Telomere Length in Children. Am J Public Health. 2013 Aug 8.
  • Holt EW, Theall KP, Rabito FA. Individual, housing, and neighborhood correlates of asthma among young urban children. J Urban Health. 2013 Feb;90(1):116-29.
  • Theall KP, Dunaway LF, Mabile E. Food Security and C-Reactive Protein in Adolescents. Am J Public Health. 2013 Jan 17.
  • Theall KP, Drury SS, Shirtcliff EA. Cumulative neighborhood risk of psychosocial stress and allostatic load in adolescents. Am J Epidemiol. 2012 Oct 1;176 Suppl 7:S164-74.
  • Theall KP, Shirtcliff EA, Drury SS.  Cumulative Neighborhood Risk and Allostatic Load in Adolescents. American Journal of Epidemiology (in press).
  • Holt EW, Theall KP, Felicia A. Rabito.  Individual, housing and neighborhood correlates of asthma among young urban children.  Journal of Urban Health (in press). PMID: 22689297.
  • Y. Xu, Q. Yu, R. Scribner, K. Theall, S. Scribner, and N. Simonsen, 2012, Multilevel Spatiotemporal Change-point Models for Evaluating the Effect of an Alcohol Outlet Control Policy on Changes in Neighborhood Assaultive Violence Rates.   Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology. 2012; 3(2):121-128. PMID: 18686265. 
  • Theall KP, Scribner R, Broyles S, et al. Impact of small group size on neighbourhood influences in multilevel models. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 2011;65:688-695. PMID:  20508007. 
  • Drury S, Theall K, Gleason M, et al. Telomere length and early severe social deprivation: linking early adversity and cellular aging. Molecular Psychiatry 2011;1:9. PMID:  21577215.
  • Theall KP, Lancaster BP, Lynch S, et al. The Neighborhood Alcohol Environment and At-Risk Drinking Among African-Americans. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 2011;35(5):996-1003. PMID:  21323681.
  • Broyles ST, Mowen AJ, Theall KP, Gustat J, Rung AL. Integrating Social Capital Into a Park-Use and Active-Living Framework. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2011;40(5):522-529. PMID:  21496751.
  • Scribner RA, Theall KP, Mason KE, Simonsen NR, Schneider SK, DeJong W. Alcohol Prevention on College Campuses: The Moderating Effect of the Alcohol Environment on the Effectiveness of Social Norms Marketing Campaigns. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. 2011;72(2):232-9. PMID:  21388596.
  • Theall K, Scribner R, Cohen D, Blumenthal R, Lynch, S, Farley T. The Neighborhood Alcohol Environment and Alcohol-Related Morbidity.  Alcohol and Alcoholism. 2009 44(5):491-499. PMID:  19671569.
  • Scribner R, Theall K, Simonsen N. HIV Risk and the Alcohol Environment: Advancing an Ecological Epidemiology for HIV/AIDS.  Alcohol Research World. 2010; 33(3): 179-183.
  • Scribner R, Theall KP, Mason K, Simonsen N.  Misspecification of the Effect of Race in Fixed Effects Models of Health Disparities.  Social Science and Medicine. 2009; 69: 1584–1591.  PMID: 19800158.
  • Theall K, DeJong W, Scribner R, Mason K, Kessel Schneider S, Simonsen N. Social Capital in the College Setting: The Impact of Participation in Campus Activities on Drinking and Alcohol-Related Harms. Journal of American College Health. 2009; 58(1):15-25. PMID:  19592349.
  • Theall KP, Scribner RA, Ghosh-Dastidar B, Cohen D, Mason K, Simonsen N.  Neighborhood Alcohol Availability and Gonorrhea Rates: Impact of Social Capital.  Geospatial Health. 2009; 3(2): 241-255. PMID:  19440966.
  • Theall K, Scribner R, Cohen D, Blumenthal R, Matthias Schonlau, Farley T. Social Capital and the Neighborhood Alcohol Environment.  Health and Place. 2009; 15:323-332. PMID:  18672392.

Personal Statement:

As a social epidemiologist, my research and career objectives center on the etiology and reduction of health inequities among women and children.  In this approach I have adopted a socioecological and life course framework that considers the multiple levels of influence on health outcomes over the lifespan.  In particular, my work aims to: 1) understand the mechanistic behavioral and biological pathways from social determinants of health (namely, distal social contexts) to health outcomes and health inequities, in particular; 2) contribute to the development of tools and methods used to examine social determinants of health; and 3) apply this knowledge to develop and test multi-level interventions designed to reduce inequities in women’s and children’s health.


Level of Instruction:



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