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Mark C. Edberg Faculty Member


I am an applied and academic anthropologist with almost 30 years’ experience in social research focusing on public health and related social issues; currently a Professor in the Department of Prevention and Community Health (DPCH), with secondary appointments in the Department of Anthropology and the Elliott School of International Affairs. In this capacity I am Director of the Avance Center for the Advancement of Immigrant/Refugee Health (originally funded by NIMHD - Adelante project addressing Latino youth risk behavior), and currently sub-award PI for the National CEAL Team grant/ DC Metro area to address COVID-19 disparities. I was recently Co-I on an R21 grant focusing on prevention of obesity/diabetes among Latino immigrants, PI of a CDC REACH grant (also Avance Center), PI for a pilot CDRF transdisciplinary research effort on health determinants among Central American migrants, and I directed a project for UNICEF Belize to develop a Situation Analysis of Children and Families. I am founder and Director of the global-oriented Center for Social Well-Being and Development (CSWD), and Project Director for a recently-awarded contract from the World Food program (to CSWD) to provide social/behavior change communications services. Recent CSWD projects have included work for UNICEF in South Africa, Indonesia, Jamaica, and Ghana (I was Co-I for the latter project). I also served as Co-I for the qualitative research component of a Gates Foundation social network/family planning study in Ethiopia. I now serve on the school Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, and previously served on a school committee to improve our global capabilities, and on strategic planning committees concerning health disparities and global research, and I serve on several departmental committees including those related to DrPH and PhD programs. I have served on multiple NIH review panels by invitation, presented several times by request to NIH and to the U.S. Congress about the Avance Center, Adelante intervention and health disparities, presented to the U.S. Office of Minority Health on qualitative research, was a keynote speaker for an event at Johns Hopkins University, and was invited to the University of Southern California to present and discuss research work through the Avance Center. I just completed a term as Program Chair for the Society for Applied Anthropology (2-year appointment) and a member of the society’s Executive Committee on Annual Meetings, I was awarded the 2013 (national) Praxis award for excellence in applied anthropology, and I am on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Public Health Issues and Practices. I previously served as co-chair of the 2014 International Symposium on Minority Health and Health Disparities (funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities), I am an invited member of an NIMHD special review panel, and served for several years as a member of an NIH review committee on dissemination research, as well as an invited member of a special National Science Foundation review panel. In April of 2015, I was an invited panelist for the Salzburg Global Seminar in Salzburg, Austria (funded by the Guggenheim and Carnegie foundations). I have a considerable amount of expertise related to the analysis of social and cultural determinants of health risk, prevention efforts addressing multiple health disparity conditions, and qualitative and mixed methods research. Previously, I was PI on an effort for the Administration on Children, Youth and Families to develop a protective factor framework for use in program planning and evaluation with their at-risk populations, and Co-PI on an evaluation of a positive youth intervention for girls in juvenile detention. I was also Co-PI on a CDC national expert panel project (with DSG, Inc.) to better understand links between macroeconomic factors and youth violence, and Co-PI on a project to evaluate and develop an evaluation model for an innovative sexual exploitation and trafficking prevention program in San Francisco (affecting primarily minority and immigrant populations). Prior to these projects, I have provided assistance to UNICEF in the Latin America-Caribbean region (and UNICEF Central) on the development and application of adolescent/youth well-being indicators. I also presented to the Organization of American States (OAS) an ecological model for understanding youth violence, and was the Lead Investigator for a SAMHSA-funded community assessment of (minority) youth at risk for HIV/AIDS, STIs, hepatitis and substance abuse in selected areas of Washington, DC, as well as Project Director for multiple strategic planning and evaluation projects for the U.S. Office of Minority Health (one of which earned a DHHS Best Practice award), Evaluator for multiple HIV/AIDS prevention efforts, Co-PI for a NIDA study of HIV/AIDS risk and substance abuse among three Southeast Asian populations, Co-PI for a large NIDA HIV/AIDS risk behavior intervention with injection drug and crack users, and Ethnographer for a NIDA-funded study on HIV/AIDS and substance abuse among runaway/homeless youth. I have developed, de novo, multiple courses for GWUSPH, and teach courses in qualitative research, social/behavioral theory, culture and health, and prevention approaches for high risk youth. I have authored four books (including a best-selling textbook on social/behavioral theory in public health), edited another and have numerous journal, book chapter and other publications.

Research Areas

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