Jennifer Ahern PhD, MPH

Associate Dean for Research
Associate Professor of Epidemiology
Chancellor's Professor of Public Health
  • PH250B: Epidemiologic Methods II (Fall)
  • PH255D: Methods in Social Epidemiology (Spring)
  • PH293: Advanced Doctoral Seminar (Fall, Spring)

Dr. Jennifer Ahern, PhD MPH, is Associate Dean for Research and Associate Professor of Epidemiology at University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health. She examines the effects of the social and physical environment, and programs and policies that alter the social and physical environment, on many aspects of health (e.g., violence, substance use, mental health, and gestational health). Dr. Ahern has a methodological focus to her work, including application of causal inference methods and semi-parametric estimation approaches, aimed at improving the rigor of observational research, and optimizing public health intervention planning. Her research is supported by a New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Office of the Director.

Research Interests: 
  • Social epidemiology
  • Neighborhood characteristics and health
  • Methodological issues and novel methodological applications in social epidemiology
  • Traumatic events
  • Substance use
  • Mental health
  • Behavioral health
  • Birth outcomes and maternal health
  • Population health
Selected Publications: 

Ahern J, Galea S, Hubbard A, Syme SL. Neighborhood smoking norms modify the relation between collective efficacy and smoking behavior. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 2009;100:138-45.

Ahern J, Galea S, Hubbard A. Estimating the effects of potential public health interventions on population disease burden: a step-by-step illustration of causal inference methods. American Journal of Epidemiology 2009;169:1140-7.

Hubbard AE, Ahern J, Fleischer NL, van der Laan M, Lippman SA, Jewell N, Bruckner T, Satariano WA. To GEE or not to GEE: comparing population average and mixed models for estimating the associations between neighborhood risk factors and health. Epidemiology 2010;21:467-74.

Ahern J, Galea S. Collective efficacy and major depression in urban neighborhoods. American Journal of Epidemiology 2011; 173:1453-62.

Ahern J, Karasek D, Luedtke AR, Bruckner TA, van der Laan MJ. Racial/ethnic differences in the role of childhood adversities for mental disorders among a nationally representative sample of adolescents. Epidemiology 2016 May 17

Colson KE, Rudolph K, Zimmerman SC, Goin DE, Stuart EA, van der Laan M, Ahern J. Optimizing matching and analysis combinations for estimating causal effects. Scientific Reports 2016;6, Article number: 23222.

Ahern J, Colson KE, Margerison-Zilko C, Hubbard A, Galea S. Predicting the population health impacts of community interventions: the case of alcohol outlets and binge drinking. American Journal of Public Health 2016;106:1938-43.

Ahern J. Population intervention measures to connect research findings to policy. American Journal of Public Health 2016;106:2152-3.