George A. Kaplan, Ph.D.

George Kaplan

Thomas Francis Collegiate Emeritus Professor of Public Health

Emeritius Professor, Epidemiology

Founder, Center for Social Epidemiology & Population Health (CSEPH)

Research Professor, SRC

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1191 66th Street
Oakland, California 94608

Office: (510) 333-1682; Fax: (510) 923-9351


Website(s): Center for Social Epidemiology & Population Health

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Professional Summary

He has taught at Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, and from 1981 to 1997 was Chief of the Human Population Laboratory of the California Department of Health Services where he directed the landmark Alameda County Study. He became Professor of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan in 1997 and was Chair of the Department from 1997-2003. Professor Kaplan also is the founding and former Director of the Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health and the first Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholars Program at the University of Michigan.


Ph.D., Cornell University, 1968
B.A., Johns Hopkins University, 1964

Post-doctorate: University of California, San Francisco and University of California, Berkeley

Research Interests & Projects

Kaplan is interested i how social divides become health divides. Recent studies by Kaplan and his colleagues have detailed the cumulative cost of socioeconomic disadvantage on health and functional outcomes in the elderly and the role of equity in the distribution of income on the overall health of populations. Both areas of research are directed at establishing the close linkage between economic policy and health policy, thereby illustrating how epidemiologic methods can be used to guide research and policy in this area. Professor Kaplan and colleagues have also made important contributions in demonstrating the importance of behavioral and psychosocial factors in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and its consequences. Advancing the epidemiologic study of aging, he and his colleagues published the first studies on long-term predictors of both successful aging and of frailty, and have continued to demonstrate in their studies that it is possible to extend both quality and length of life. Over the last ten years, Professor Kaplan has helped build bridges between researchers interested in complex systems and those interested in population healyh and health disparities. He currently is the Chair of the Network on Complexity, Inequality and Health (NICH), an NIH-funded interdiciplnary research network.

Selected Publications

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Kaplan, G.A., Ranjit, N., Burgard, S. (2008). Lifting Gates--Lengthening Lives: Did Civil Rights Policies Improve the Health of African-American Women in the 1960's and 1970's? In House JS, Schoeni RF, Kaplan GA, Pollack H. (Ed.) Social and Economic Policy as Health Policy New York: Russell Sage.

Kaplan, G.A., Baltrus, P.T., Raghunathan, T.E. (2007). The shape of health to come: Prospective study of the determinants of 30-year health trajectories in the Alameda County Study International Journal Epidemiology, 36(3), 542-8.

Backlund, E., Rowe, G., Lynch, J., Wolfson, M.C., Kaplan, G.A., Sorlie, P.D. (2007). Income Inequality and Mortality: A Multilevel Prospective Study of 521,248 Individuals in 50 US States International Journal of Epidemiology, 36(3), 590-6.

Morenoff JD, House JA, Hansen BB, Williams DR, Kaplan GA, Hunte HE. (2007). Understanding social disparities in hypertension prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control: The role of neighborhood context. Social Science & Medicine, 65(9), 1853-66.

Ranjit, N., Young, E.A., Kaplan, G.A. (October, 2005). Material hardship alters the diurnal rhythm of salivary cortisol. International Journal of Epidemiology, 34 (5), 1138-43.

Kaplan, G.A., Siefert, K., Ranjit, N., Raghunathan, T.E., Young, E.A., Tran, D., Danziger, S., Hudson, S., Lynch, J.W., and Tolman, R. (July 2005). The health of poor women under welfare reform. American Journal of Public Health, 95(7), 1252-8.

Kaplan, G.A. (2004). What's wrong with social epidemiology, and how can we make it better? Epidemiologic Reviews, 26, 124-35.

Harper, S.B., Lynch, J.W., Hsu, W.L., Everson, S.A., Hillemeier, M.M., Raghunathan, T.E., Salonen, J.T., Kaplan, G.A. (2002). Life course socioeconomic conditions and adult psychosocial functioning. International Journal of Epidemiology, 31, 395-403.

Lynch, J.W., Davey Smith, G., Hillemeier, M., Shaw, M., Raghunathan, T., Kaplan, G.A. (2001). Income inequality, the psychosocial environment, and health: comparisons of wealthy nations. Lancet, 358, 194-200.

Kaplan, G.A., Turrell, G., Lynch, J.W., Everson, S.A., Helkala, E.L., Salonen, J.T. (2001). Childhood socioeconomic position and cognitive function in adutlhood. International Journal of Epidemiology, 30, 256-63.

Professional Affiliations

Society for Epidemiologic Research
American Public Health Association
American Heart Association
Society for Behavioral Medicine