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Pamela J. Surkan, ScD

  • Professor

Departmental Affiliations

Center & Institute Affiliations

Contact Information

615 N. Wolfe Street
Room E5523
Baltimore, Maryland 21205


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PhD, Karolinska Institute, 2006
ScD, Harvard School of Public Health, 2005
MS, Harvard School of Public Health, 2002
MS, Harvard School of Public Health, 1999
BA, Reed College, 1992


My main research objective is to study how social determinants influence health. My interests are largely cross-disciplinary. They focus on examining interactions between social conditions and other factors that impact health, such as dietary behaviors and environmental exposures. To date, much of my work has been about the role of maternal mental health, social support and familial environment on early growth and childhood development. International collaborations have included work in Brazil, Sweden, Haiti, Nepal, and Pakistan.

Honors and Awards

Fulbright Grant to Colombia, US State Department - Institute of International Education (1994-1995)

David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Term-time Research Grant to Brazil (1999)

Frederick Sheldon Fellowship to Brazil, Harvard University (2000-2001)

Thord-Gray Memorial Fellowship to Sweden, American Scandinavian Foundation (2002-2003)

  • Social epidemiology
  • social conditions
  • social support
  • social justice
  • mental health
  • maternal health
  • reproductive health
  • child growth and development
  • child cognition
  • international health

Selected publications from the last five years.

  • Surkan PJ, Hamdani SU, Huma Z-E, Nazir H, Atif N, Rowther AA, Chaudhri R, Zafar S, Mullany LC, Malik A, Rahman A. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-based intervention to treat symptoms of anxiety in pregnancy in a prenatal clinic using non-specialist providers in Pakistan: design of a randomized trial. BMJ Open 2020;10(4):e037590
  • Surkan PJ, Dong L, Ji Y; Hong X, Kimmel M, Tang W, Ji H, Wang X. Paternal involvement and support and risk of preterm birth: Findings from the Boston Birth Cohort. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology 2017; 16:1-9.
  • Surkan PJ, Tabrizi MJ, Lee RM, Palmer AM, Frick KD. 'Eat Right - Live Well!' supermarket intervention impact on sales of healthy foods in a low-income neighborhood. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 2016;48(2):112-121.
  • Surkan PJ, Ettinger AK, Ahmed S, Minkovitz CS, Strobino D. Impact of maternal depressive symptoms on growth of preschool- and school-aged children. Pediatrics 130(4):e847-55, 2012.
  • Surkan PJ, Mukherjee JS, Williams DR, Eustache E, Louis E, Jean-Paul T, Lambert W, Scanlan FC, Oswald CM, Smith Fawzi MC. Perceived discrimination and stigma towards children affected by HIV/AIDS and their HIV-positive caregivers in central Haiti. AIDS Care 22 (7):803-15, 2010.