University of Michigan School of Public Health
Thomas Francis Collegiate Emeritus Professor of Public Health
George A. Kaplan, PhD (Forum Co-Chair), is a social epidemiologist who has published more than 200 papers on the role of behavioral, social, psychological and socioeconomic factors in health and health inequalities. A major theme in his work is the role of “upstream” and “downstream” factors in maintaining health, delaying disease and improving function, with an emphasis on the linking of social and biological determinants.
Studies by Dr. Kaplan and colleagues have detailed the cumulative cost of socioeconomic disadvantage on health and functional outcomes in the elderly, the role of socioeconomic status and economic equity on the overall health of populations, the impact of neighborhood and community factors on health, the impact of life-course trajectories on a variety of health outcomes in adulthood, and the role of economic and social policies on health.
Dr. Kaplan is the Thomas Francis Collegiate Emeritus Professor of Public Health in the School of Public Health, a research professor at the Institute for Social Research, and director of the Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health, all at the University of Michigan. He is a faculty member in the Center for the Study of Complex Systems at the University of Michigan. He was an Associate in the Population Health Program of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research until its end. Dr. Kaplan was also the founding Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholars Program at the University of Michigan.
Among his honors are membership in the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Social Insurance, the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, and election to the Presidency of the Society for Epidemiologic Research. Dr. Kaplan is the first public health scientist to be invited to address the Nobel Forum at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
In addition to being an internationally respected social epidemiologist, Dr. Kaplan is an accomplished fine art photographer.