Dr. Branas has conducted research that extends from urban and rural areas in the US to communities across the globe, incorporating place-based interventions and human geography. He has led win-win science that generates new knowledge while simultaneously creating positive, real-world changes and providing health-enhancing resources for local communities. His pioneering work on geographic access to medical care has changed the healthcare landscape, leading to the designation of new hospitals and a series of national scientific replications in the US and other countries for many conditions: trauma, cancer, stroke, etc. His research on the geography and factors underpinning gun violence has been cited by landmark Supreme Court decisions, Congress, and the NIH Director. Dr. Branas has also led large-scale scientific work to transform thousands of vacant lots, abandoned buildings and other blighted spaces in improving the health and safety of entire communities. These are the first citywide randomized controlled trials of urban blight remediation and have shown this intervention to be a cost-effective solution to persistent urban health problems like gun violence. He has worked internationally on four continents and led multi-national efforts, producing extensive cohorts of developing nation scientists, national health metrics, and worldwide press coverage.
Other, 2000, University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health
PhD, 1998, Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health
MS, 1993, Drexel University
BA, 1990, Franklin and Marshall College
Advisory Committee, Columbia Population Research Center
Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Affiliated Professor, Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala
Honors & Awards
Elected Member, American Epidemiological Society
Past President, Society for Advancement of Violence and Injury Research
Editor's Choice and Most Read Articles, AJPH, BMJ Open, BMJ Injury Prevention
Outstanding Service Award, American Trauma Society
Excellence in Epidemiology Teaching Award, University of Pennsylvania
Areas of Expertise
Intervention Studies, Spatial Analysis, Stroke , Injury Prevention, Social Epidemiology, Violence, Environmental Epidemiology, Global Health, Health Systems Strengthening, Addiction/Drug Abuse, Alcoholism, Urban Health
Select Urban Health Activities
A Randomized Trial of Abandoned Housing Remediation, Substance Abuse and Violence, NIH, R01AA024941, Role: PI
A Randomized Trial of Urban Vacant Lot Stabilization and Substance Abuse Outcomes, NIH, R01AA020331, Role: PI
Select Global Activities
Injury prevention, access and equity, Health Research Council, New Zealand
Injury and chronic diseases research, NIH Fogarty International Center, Guatemala
Injury and HIV research, NIH Fogarty International Center, Botswana
South EC, Hohl BC, Kondo MC, MacDonald JM, Branas CC. Effect of greening vacant land on mental health: a citywide randomized controlled trial. JAMA Network Open 1(3), 1-14, 2018.
Kaufman E, Morrison C, Branas CC, Wiebe DJ. State firearm laws and interstate spillover effects on firearm deaths from homicide and suicide in the United States. JAMA Internal Medicine 178(3), 1-9, 2018.
Branas CC, South E, Kondo MC, Hohl BC, Bourgois P, Wiebe DJ, MacDonald JM. A citywide cluster randomized trial to restore blighted vacant land and its effects on violence, crime and fear. PNAS - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115(8), 1-11, 2018.
Hohl BC, Wiley S, Wiebe DJ, Culyba AJ, Drake R, Branas CC. Association of drug and alcohol use with adolescent firearm homicide at individual, family, and neighborhood levels. JAMA Internal Medicine: 1-7, 2017.
Culyba AJ, Jacoby S, Richmond TS, Fein JA, Hohl BC, Branas CC: Modifiable environmental features related to adolescent homicide. JAMA Pediatrics 170(3): 1-8, 2016.
Branas CC, Kondo MC, Murphy SM, South EC, Polsky D: Urban blight remediation as a cost-beneficial solution to firearm violence. American Journal of Public Health 106: 1-7, 2016.
Branas CC, Kastanaki AE, Michalodimitrakis M, Tzougas J, Kranioti EF, Theodorakis PN, Carr BG, Wiebe DJ: The impact of economic austerity and prosperity events on suicide in Greece: a 30-year interrupted time-series analysis. BMJ - British Medical Journal Open 5(1): 1-11, 2015.
Branas CC, Cheney RA, MacDonald JM, Tam VW, Jackson TD, Ten Have TR: A difference-in-differences analysis of health, safety, and greening vacant urban space. American Journal of Epidemiology 174: 1-11, 2011.
Branas CC, Richmond TS, Culhane DP, TenHave TR, Wiebe DJ: Investigating the link between gun possession and gun assault. American Journal of Public Health 99(11): 2034-40, 2009.
Branas CC, MacKenzie EJ, Williams JC, Schwab CW, Teter HM, Flanigan MC, Blatt AJ, ReVelle CS: Access to trauma centers in the United States. JAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association 293(21): 2626-2633, 2005.