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Ezra S. Susser

Professor of Epidemiology

Professor of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons

Ezra S. Susser, MD, DrPH, focuses on two main areas. One is examining the role of early life experience in health and disease throughout the life course. He heads the Imprints Center for Genetic and Environmental Lifecourse Studies, which fosters collaborative research and intellectual exchange among investigators studying developmental origins in birth cohorts across the globe. As one example, the findings from a series of studies have suggested that exposure to famine in early gestation is associated with increased schizophrenia among offspring. The other is global mental health. He is a co-founder of the Global Mental Health Program at Columbia University. Much of Dr. Susser's early work focused on the course of schizophrenia and especially on social outcomes. In his early research career he was involved in follow-up studies of psychoses in the United States and across the globe, including the WHO International Study of Schizophrenia. He also conducted studies of homelessness and its prevention among patients with schizophrenia. This work included the development and testing of the initial version of Critical Time Intervention (CTI) for prevention of recurrent homelessness. Currently CTI is being adapted for use in low and middle income countries, and a version is being piloted for a regional trial across three countries in Latin America. Dr. Susser is also involved in work on schizophrenia in other regions, for example, in South Africa he and colleagues are laying the groundwork for the first study of the incidence of psychoses in Africa, and have undertaken the first large study of genetics of schizophrenia in a population of African ancestry. Dr. Susser is editor of the International Journal of Epidemiology, lead author of the main textbook on psychiatric epidemiology, and former chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health (1999-2008).
Education & Training:

    DrPH, 1992, Columbia University

    MPH, 1982, Columbia University

    MD, 1982, Columbia University

    BA, 1974, Columbia University

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Mailman School Affiliations:

University Affiliations:

  • New York State Psychiatric Institute   Professor

Additional Affiliations:

  • Member, American Epidemiological Society
  • Member, American College of Epidemioloy
  • Member, Society for Epidemiologic Research
  • Member, American Psychopathological Association
  • Scientific Advisory Board Member, Autism Speaks
  • Scientific Advisory Board Member, EHESP
Honors and Awards:
  • Annual Winchell Lecturer, Department of Anesthesiology, Columbia University, 2009
  • Cassel Distinguished Lecturer, University of North Carolina School of Public Health, 2004
  • Keynote Speaker, Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australian Epidemiological Association, 2003
  • WG Armstrong Lectureship Award, Univerisity of Sydney, School of Public Health and Australian Health Policy Institute, 2007
  • Fellow, American Psychopathological AssociationRobins/Guze Distinguished Lecturer, Washington University in St. Louis, 2005
  • Selected Editorial Boards

    • International Journal of Epidemiology, Assoc. Editor
    • Public Health Reports
    • Journal of Chronic Illness
New York City
    Critical Time Intervention (CTI)
    Dr. Susser led the initial development and testing in New York City of the Critical Time Intervention (CTI) for prevention of recurrent homelessness among people with schizophrenia. CTI has subsequently been adapted and tested for related purposes in New York City, other areas in the United States, and other countries, under the leadership now of Dan Herman.

    Columbia Center for Homelessness Prevention Studies (CHPS)
    Dr. Susser helped develop and served up to 2009 as co-Director of the Center for Homelessness Prevention Service and Research (Director Carol Caton). This Center helps initiate and support an array of research and services for prevention of homelessness, with Dr. Susser's focus primarily on prevention among people with severe mental illness.

    Dr. Susser play a key role in the current adaptation and testing of the Critical Time Intervention for people with severe mental illness in Rio de Janeiro.
    Countries: Brazil

    Dr. Susser has been an advisor over a 15 year period to the development of treatment and rehabilitation services for people with severe mental illness in Neuquen, Argentina.
    Countries: Argentina

    Dr. Susser has had a long-term connection to Universities (especially UKZN)and other institutions in South Africa. This has included training programs in epidemiology, development of mental health services, and exploring connections between HIV and mental illness. He also played a key role in the establishment of CAPRISA, a major HIV/AIDS collaboration led by Dr. Karim at UKZN, of which Columbia is one of the Centers.
    Countries: South Africa

Selected Publications:
  • Susser E, Lin S, Conover S, Struening E Childhood antecedents of homelessness in psychiatric patients Am J Psychiatry 148 1026-1030 1991
  • Susser M, Susser E Choosing a future for epidemiology part I Am J Public Health 86 668-673 1996
  • Susser E, Valencia E, Conover S, Felix A, Tsai WY, Wyatt RJ Preventing recurrence of homelessness among mentally ill men: a "critical time intervention" after discharge from a shelter Am J Public Health 87 256-262 1997
  • Susser E, Hoek HW, Brown AS Neurodevelopmental disorders after prenatal famine: the story of the Dutch Famine Study Am J of Epidemiology 147(3) 213-216 1998
  • Susser E, Varma VK, Mattoo SK, Finnerty M, Mojtabai R, Tripathi BM, Misra AK, Wig NN Long-term course of acute brief psychosis in a developing country setting British Journal of Psychiatry 173 226-230 1998
  • Susser E, Herman D, Aaron B Combating the terror of terrorism Scientific American 287(2) 54-61 2002
  • Susser E, Terry MB A conception-to-death cohort Lancet 361 797-798 2003
  • Susser E Eco-epidemiology: thinking outside the black box Epidemiology 15 519-520 2004
  • Brown AS, Begg M, Gravenstein S, Schaefer C, Wyatt RJ, Bresnahan M, Babulas V, Susser ES Serologic evidence of prenatal influenza in the etiology of schizophrenia Archives of General Psychiatry 61 774-780 2004
  • Susser E, Schwartz S, Morabia A, Begg M, Bromet E Psychiatric Epidemiology: Searching for Causes of Mental Disorders Oxford University Press 2006

Contact Information


722 West 168th St., Room 1030

New York, NY 10032





For inquiries contact:

Cecilia Vasquez