Professor at Columbia University Medical Center of Epidemiology
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.