Lindsay Stark is an Associate Professor of Population and Family Health at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. She serves as Director of Research for the Program on Forced Migration and Health. She is also the Executive Director of the CPC Learning Network, a consortium of agencies and academic institutions that work together on global learning associated with children and families in humanitarian and development settings. Dr. Stark has more than a decade of experience leading applied research on the protection of women and children in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Her particular area of expertise is measuring sensitive social phenomena, including gender-based violence, child abuse and mental health. Her scholarship focuses on the intersection of human rights, gender, and wellbeing.
Director of Research, Program on Forced Migration and Health
The Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action, co-chair of the Assessment, Evidence and Learning Taskforce
Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing, Inequalities sub-committee
Honors & Awards
Public Voices Fellow, 2017
Award for Excellence in Global Health, 2011
The Social Inequalities and Health Research Award, 2011
Marisa De Castro Benton Dissertation Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Sociomedical Sciences, 2011
Global Health Council New Investigator in Public Health, 2007
Areas of Expertise
Adolescent Health, Child Abuse, Child Health and Development, Disparities / Inequalities in Health, Stigma, Violence, Women's Health, Conflict and War, Global Health, Refugee Health, Mental Health
Select Global Activities
The Impact of Conflict on Mental Health in Yemen, Yemen: A 25-year-old in Yemen today has already lived through 15 major conflicts and wars. The current civil war in Yemen has resulted in more than 10,000 deaths, displaced more than 2.9 million people, and left close to 21 million people in dire need of humanitarian assistance. However, public attention to the ongoing humanitarian crisis is minimal, and there is even less focus on mental health services, conditions, or impacts, despite the extreme suffering that Yemenis experience daily. This project is an interdisciplinary and transnational partnership between Columbia University human rights and public health professors and students, Yemeni civil society and humanitarian organizations, and seeks to fill this evidence gap. It seeks to study mental health in the context of the armed conflict in Yemen, to bring mental health concerns into Yemen peace and reconciliation processes, and to strengthen recognition of the right to mental health in Yemen and internationally.
Protecting and Empowering Adolescent Girls in Humanitarian Contexts, Congo (Kinshasa), Democratic Republic of the, Ethiopia, Pakistan: In humanitarian contexts, adolescent girls face increased violence, with a strong link between displacement, conflict and risks of gender-based violence (GBV). Although we know this violence is a human rights, global health, and security problem causing serious repercussions for women, girls, families, and communities, the humanitarian community is still trying to understand what works to protect adolescent girls from violence and to fill the existing gaps in rigorous evidence. Dr. Stark is working with the International Rescue Committee to generate cross-country learning around what works to prevent and respond to violence against adolescent girls in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Pakistan, and Ethiopia. This study includes a mixed-methods approach to establish a foundation for good programming that supports adolescent girls' safe and healthy transition into adulthood, and generates robust learning on the most effective interventions that address violence against adolescent girls in humanitarian crises.
Transforming Households: Reducing Incidence of Violence in Emergencies (THRIVE), World: There is an urgent need for programs that reduce violence in the home in emergencies, including intimate partner violence, emotional abuse, physical and sexual abuse, and child maltreatment and neglect. While there is a growing body of evidence on children's and women's global exposure to violence in emergency settings, efforts to both measure and prevent violence within the household have lagged behind evidence emerging from development settings. Work on violence against children and violence against women in emergencies has been fragmented across the Gender-based Violence and Child Protection sectors, which has impeded effective learning and action within and across these sectors. The Transforming Households: Reducing Incidence of Violence in Emergencies (THRIVE) project, co-led by UNICEF and the CPC Learning Network at Columbia University, aims to bridge this gap by investigating drivers of household violence during emergencies and identifying innovative interventions to address and mitigate this violence.
Stark, L., Asghar, K., Yu, G., Bakomere, T., Assazenew, A., Falb, K. (2017). Prevalence and associated risk factors of violence against conflict-affected adolescents: A multi country, cross-sectional study. Journal of Global Health, 7(1).
Stark, L., Asghar, K., Meyer, S., Yu, G., Bakemore, T., Poulton, C., Falb, K. (2017). The effect of gender norms on the association between violence and low hope among girls in the DRC. Global Mental Health, 4(e1).
Stark, L., Plotsky, W., Horne, R. and Canavera, M. (2015). He always thinks he is nothing": The impact of discrimination on adolescent refugees in Uganda. Social Science and Medicine, 146, 173-181.
Stark, L, Warner, A., Lehman, H., Boothby, N., Ager, A. (2013). Measuring the incidence and reporting of violence against women and girls in Liberia using the "Neighborhood Method". Conflict and Health, 7(20).
Stark, L. and Wessells, M. (2012). Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War. JAMA, 308(7).
Stark, L. and Ager, A. (2011). A systematic review of prevalence studies of gender based violence in complex emergencies. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 12(3), pp. 127 - 134.
Stark, L. Roberts, L., Acham, A., Boothby, N., Ager, A. (2010). Measuring violence against women amidst war and displacement in northern Uganda. The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 64(12).
Ager, A., Stark, L., Akesson, B., Boothby, N. (2010). Defining best practice in care and protection of children in crisis-affected settings: A delphi study [of expert practitioners]. Child Development, 81(4).
Stark, L., Boothby, N., Ager, A. 2009. Children and fighting forces: Ten years on from Cape Town. Disasters: The Journal of Disaster Studies Policy and Management, 33(4).
Stark, L., Ager, A., Wessells, M. & Boothby, N. 2009. Developing culturally relevant indicators of reintegration for girls formerly associated with armed groups in Sierra Leone using a participative ranking methodology. Intervention: International Journal of Mental Health, Psychosocial Work and Counseling in Areas of Armed Conflict, 7(1) .