Public Release: 

Dr. Constance Nathanson awarded Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship

Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health

April 11, 2019 --Constance A. Nathanson, professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health has been named a 2019 Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Nathanson was one of 168 honorees, from more than 3,000 applicants, for the annual award that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship in the arts and sciences or exceptional creative ability.

The award funds Nathanson's project, "Blood, Politics, and Death: Reflections on the Social Production of Crisis," which will explore health crises and institutional and ideological change in public health in France, a country which has been a continuing geographical focus of her recent work. Her current research compares how the tragedy of HIV contamination of the blood supply played out in France as compared with the United States.

"Dr. Nathanson's work on behalf of vulnerable populations has been groundbreaking, and this distinguished honor is a well-deserved tribute," said Dean Linda P. Fried. "We are thrilled that Connie has received this highly prestigious and competitive award from the Guggenheim Foundation."

Nathanson has more than 40 years of experience conducting research on the sociological dimensions of health and health policy, focusing on the history, politics, and sociology of public health policy and change in the United States and in its peer developed countries. Her work spans such domains as tobacco and gun control policy, the role of social movements in policy change, and health inequalities.

In addition to her research activities, Nathanson served as a founding co-director of the Columbia Population Research Center, from 2006-2015, and is the director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development-funded training grant in gender, sexuality, and health, in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences.

"Connie's research in the field of gender, sexuality, and health inequity is world-renowned. I know I speak for all of Connie's colleagues in the Department in expressing how deeply proud we are of her accomplishments and for this recognition," said James Colgrove, professor and interim chair of Sociomedical Sciences. "

Nathanson is the author of Disease Prevention as Social Change (2007), which describes and interprets public health policy shifts across time in the United States, France, Great Britain, and Canada. Using these four countries as comparative case studies she analyzed the social, political, and ideological forces that drive public health policymaking. She has been supported by the National Library of Medicine for her book project on health crises and institutional and ideological change in public health in France and is supported for her current comparative project by the Columbia Alliance Program.

An earlier book, Dangerous Passage: The Social Control of Sexuality in Women's Adolescence, received an Outstanding Book Award from the American Sociological Association. She also received a Fulbright New Century Scholar Award in 2001, and was given a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Investigator Award earlier in her career. Nathanson was also a Visiting Scholar at Russell Sage Foundation from 1998-99.

"The collegial environment of the Sociomedical Sciences Department at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health has made a huge difference in how I think about health inequalities and health policy change," said Nathanson. "The intellectual support I have received over the years has been tremendously important in my research and thinking, and I am extremely grateful to the Guggenheim Foundation and for this generous award that will allow me to broaden the scope of my work and take me in new directions."

Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

Founded in 1922, the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health pursues an agenda of research, education, and service to address the critical and complex public health issues affecting New Yorkers, the nation and the world. The Columbia Mailman School is the third largest recipient of NIH grants among schools of public health. Its over 450 multi-disciplinary faculty members work in more than 100 countries around the world, addressing such issues as preventing infectious and chronic diseases, environmental health, maternal and child health, health policy, climate change & health, and public health preparedness. It is a leader in public health education with over 1,300 graduate students from more than 40 nations pursuing a variety of master's and doctoral degree programs. The Columbia Mailman School is also home to numerous world-renowned research centers, including ICAP and the Center for Infection and Immunity. For more information, please visit


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