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 women and children's health
  • Social epidemiology
  • Community, interpersonal, and biological stress
  • Women and children's mental and behavioral health inequities

Educational Background:

  • PhD, Epidemiology - Tulane University
  • MPH, Epidemiology - Emory University
  • BS, Microbiology and Psychology - Louisiana State University

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 and policies designed to reduce inequities in women's and children's health.

Selected Publications:


1. Sterk C, Theall KP, Elifson KW. Public health approach to depression and women: The case of the disadvantaged inner-city woman, pp. 382. In Keyes, C, Goodman, SH (Eds.) Handbook on Women and Depression. Boston: Cambridge University Press.

2. 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.

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


1. Drury, SS, Mabile, E, Brett, ZH, Esteves, K, Jones, E, Shirtcliff, EA, Theall, KP. (2014). The association of telomere length with family violence and disruption. Pediatrics, 134(1), e128-e137.

2. 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. American Journal of Public Health. 2013; 103(S1): S133-S135.

3. Theall KP, Brett ZH, Shirtcliff EA, Dunn EC, Lustig AJ, Drury SS. Neighborhood disorder and telomeres: Connecting children's exposure to community level stress and cellular response. Social Science and Medicine. 2013; 85: 50-58.

4. Theall KP, Mabile E, Dunaway LF. Food security and C-reactive protein in adolescents. American Journal of Public Health. 2013; 103(3):e5-e5.

5. Wallace M, Harville EM, Theall KP, Webber L, Chen W, Berenson G. Neighborhood Poverty, Allostatic Load, and Birth Outcomes in African American and White Women: Findings from the Bogalusa Health Study. Health and Place. 2013; 24:260-6.

6. Theall KP, Shirtcliff EA, Drury SS. Cumulative neighborhood risk and allostatic load in adolescents. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2012; 176:S164-S174.

7. Theall KP, Scribner R, Broyles S, et al. Impact of small group size on neighborhood influences in multilevel models. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 2011; 65: 688-695.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. Theall K, Sterk C, Elifson KW. Neighborhood Fear and Drug Use among Young Adults. American Journal of Health Behavior. 2009; 33(4):353-365.

13. Theall KP, Clark RA, Amedee A, Dumestre J, Kissinger P. Alcohol Consumption and HIV-1 vaginal RNA shedding among women. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. 2008;69:454-458.

14. Theall KP, Sterk CE, Elifson KW, Stewart E. An HIV Intervention's Effect on Criminality among Women. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 2007; 21(12):1-23.

15. Theall KP, Elifson KW, Sterk CE. Past and New Victimization among African American Female Drug Users Who Participated in an HIV-Reduction Intervention. Journal of Sex Research. 2004; 41: 400-407.


Courses Taught:




Professional Achievements:

  • Phi Beta Phi, Phi Beta Kappa, and Golden Key National Honor Societies
  • Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society
  • 2015 New Orleans 50th City Business Women of the Year
  • 2012 101 Most Influential Professors of Public Health, MPH Programs List
  • 2005 NIAAA Postdoctoral Training Fellowship Award, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Comprehensive Alcohol Research Center, New Orleans, LA
  • 2001 Junior Investigator Award, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “MDMA/Ecstasy Research: Advances, Challenges, Future Directions,” Bethesda, MD
  • Member, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Second Panel on Social Sciences and Population Studies (SSPS-B), May 2015 – present


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