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Sharon Schwartz

Professor of Epidemiology at the Columbia University Medical Center

Sharon Schwartz, PhD, currently focuses her work on the relationship between potential outcomes approaches to causality and systems dynamics. Dr. Schwartz is particularly interested in how methodological tools, the assumptions on which they are based and the language in which they are discussed, frame the interpretation of data. In the course of studying the effect of social factors on psychiatric disorders, Dr. Schwartz became intrigued by the diametrically opposed conclusions that scientists from different disciplines often draw from the same data. This current interest resulted in a research program that encompasses a wide range of specific methodological issues, such as heritability estimates, well controls, diagnostic validity, the definition of "disorder," as well as more general problems of causal inference, including the implications of Rubin's causal model and other counterfactual approaches, and the relationship between the Cook and Campbell tradition in social psychology and epidemiologic traditions. She also does research on the effects of prejudice and discrimination on the mental health of disadvantaged groups. Dr. Schwartz is the training coordinator for the Psychiatric Epidemiology Training Program and teaches epidemiologic methods. She participates in the Teagle Colleguim on Psychological Science and Student Learning to integrate evidenced based teaching and mentoring practices into epidemiology.
Areas of Expertise
Education & Training:

    MS, 1988, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

    PhD, 1985, Columbia University, GSAS

Selected Publications:
  • Susser, E., Schwartz, S et al. Psychiatric Epidemiology: Searching for the Causes of Mental Disorders Oxford univeristy press new york 2006
  • Campbell, U, Gatto N, Schwartz, S Distributional Interaction: Interpretational problems when using incidence odds ratios to assess interaction Epidemiologic Perspectives and Innovations 2 na 2005
  • Schwartz, S and Diez-Roux A. Causes of Incidence and Causes of Cases: A Durkheimian Perspective on Rose International Journal of Epidemiology 30 435-439 2001
  • Schwartz, S Outcomes for the Sociology of Mental Health: Are We Meeting Our Goals? Journal of Health and Social Behavior 43 223-235 2002
  • Schwartz, S and Carpenter K. The Right Answer for the Wrong QUestion: The Consequences of Type III Error for Public Health Research American Journal of Public Health 89 1175-1180 1999
  • Schwartz, S. The Fallacy of the Ecologic Fallacy: Potential Misuse of a Concept and Its Consequences American Journal of Public Health 84 819-824 1994
  • Allan Horwitz and Theresa Scheid The Sociology of Mental Health and Illness Cambridge Cambridge 79-103 1999
  • Schwartz S. Women and Depression: A Durkheimian Perspective Social Science and Medicine 2 127-140 1991
  • Schwartz S, Levav I and Dohrenwend B. Non-Genetic Familial Transmisson of Psychiatric Disorders? Journal of Health and Social Behavior 35 385-402 1994
  • Dohrenwend BP, Levav I., Shrout P, Schwartz S, Naveh G, Link B, Skodol A and Stueve A. Socioeconomic Status and Psychiatric Disorders Science 946-952 1992

Contact Information


722 West 168th Street, room 720b

New York, NY 10032