Center for Social Dynamics and Community Health


The Center for Social Dynamics and Community Health (CSDCH) applies systems science and mixed methods approaches to better understand the mechanisms underlying community health issues. By studying the complex contexts of health behaviors and the dynamic interactions of individuals with their social and physical environments, researchers at the CSDCH seek to identify and inform multi-level public health intervention opportunities. CSDCH faculty include Christina Mair, Jessica Burke, Robert Coulter, Jaime Sidani and Kar-Hai Chu.

Social Dynamics and Community Health Speaker Series

The Social Dynamics and Community Health Seminar Series is held once per month, usually from noon–1:30 p.m. 

View upcoming seminars

Recent talk topics include:

  • Evaluation of individual and populations-level intervention effects under contagion
  • A bird's-eye view of tobacco research: the confluence of social dynamics and technology
  • Chronic pain in people living with HIV: State of the science
  • Generational trends in substance use and mental health among us adolescents - Katherine Keyes
  • Online hyper-local communities: Designing for sustainability and inclusion
  • Using systems science approaches to reduce health inequities for sexual and gender minority youth - Robert Coulter
  • "You have to want it": Mental models of addiction recovery & implications for intervention - Erin Stringfellow
  • Leverage points and consumer insights: integrating systems science and public health -  Brian Biroscak
  • Social networks & health - Kar-Hai Chu, Pitt Center for Research on Media, Technology & Health
  • Can tobacco control policies reduce smoking disparities and improve downstream health equity?
  • Using electronic health record data to study social and environmental determinants of health - Annemarie Hirsch

Meet Current Students

Beth Hoffman, using systems science and social media data

Doctoral student Beth Hoffman (BCHS '19 '23) uses system science methods to analyze social media data related to health topics such as vaping and vaccination. Her master's thesis examining anti-vaccine sentiment on Facebook through social network analyses was featured by multiple media outlets including CNN, Newsweek, and NBC's WPXI.  

Jessica Thompson, using systems science in community health

Doctoral candidate Jessica Thompson (BCHS '21) is interested in community-engaged approaches, chronic disease prevention, rural and Appalachian women's health, mixed-methods research, and systems science approaches to community health research.