Dr. Briana Mezuk
Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholars Program
University of Michigan School of Public Health
PhD, Mental Health
Johns Hopkins School of Public Health
Psychiatric Epidemiology Training Program
University of Pittsburgh
BPhil, History and Philosophy of Science
Certificate in Conceptual Foundations of Medicine
University of Pittsburgh
Research Interests/Current Projects:
My research uses epidemiologic methods to understand the relationships between mental and physical health over the lifespan. To this end my scholarship aims to address three objectives:
- To integrate social, psychological, and biological approaches to understanding health using a developmental framework
- To explore the multiple pathways linking mental disorders and medical conditions associated with aging
- To inform interventions that reflect an integrative approach to mental and physical health to effectively address social disparities in health.
I strive to embody an integrative, transdisciplinary framework in my research. As a reflection of this perspective, I have published in a wide breadth of scientific journals, from clinical to population sciences, ranging from investigations of inflammatory correlates of social factors in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity and Health Psychology, to the role of socioeconomic and neighborhood context on depression and diabetes risk in American Journal of Public Health and Health and Place. I also draw on various literatures, from sociology to genetics, in my approach to epidemiologic research in order to examine a hypothesis from various perspectives.
Finally, I consider teaching central to the role of a scholar and mentoring is my favorite part of academia. I have been fortunate in my career to have worked with a diverse set of excellent mentors, and my own approach is a hybrid of these experiences. I strive to involve students in all aspects of the research process and use a team-science approach to guide my mentoring, which is exemplified by GREMAP. At these meetings members gain experience presenting and explaining their research ideas, provide and receive constructive feedback on their in-progress research projects, and gain direct experience in scientific research through participating in the development, analysis, and drafting of scientific publications.
What brought you to VCU and/or Public Health:
I came to VCU because it provided an excellent opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary population health research and teaching, to work with world-renown investigators at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics (VIPBG), and to collaborate with government and community stakeholders to make meaningful contributions to improve public health.
Favorite things about VCU/Richmond:
The thing I like most about Richmond (and VCU for that matter) is that it is a great balance between work and life. It is a small enough community that I feel supported and engaged, but large and diverse enough to provide a wide range of things to do. I love taking a day to drive to the mountains or the beach, or just enjoy walking around one of the many city parks with my family.