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Kara Rudolph

Assistant Professor of Epidemiology

Columbia University

About

I am an epidemiologist with research interests in developing and applying causal inference methods to understand social and contextual influences on mental health, substance use, and violence in disadvantaged, urban areas of the United States.

My current work focuses on developing methods for transportability and mediation, and subsequently applying those methods to understand how aspects of the school and peer environments mediate relationships between neighborhood factors and adolescent drug use across populations. More generally, my work on generalizing/ transporting findings from study samples to target populations and identifying subpopulations most likely to benefit from interventions contributes to efforts to optimally target available policy and program resources.

I completed a PhD in Epidemiology and an MHS in Biostatistics from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar.

Research Interests

My research interests are in developing and applying causal inference methods to studying social and contextual influences on mental health and substance use in disadvantaged, urban areas of the United States. Current methodological interests are 1) estimating mediation pathways and 2) predicting effects transported from a source population to a new, target population. Current substantive interests are mental health and substance use in adolescents, contextual drivers of violence, and studying interventions aimed at altering these contextual factors.

I’m currently working with:

  • Mark van der Laan in developing targeted minimum loss-based estimators for transporting encouragement design interventions across sites estimating mediation effects.
  • Ivàn Dìaz in developing more flexible estimators of mediation effects.
  • Jen Ahern and Maria Glymour on applying these estimators to understanding site variability in policy and program effects.
  • Magdalena Cerdá on understanding the health effects of substance use policies and the risk landscape of the opioid epidemic.
  • Liz Stuart on a smattering of other causal inference projects.

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