Dr. Zimmerman is Professor of Health Policy and Management in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, where he also co-directs the Center for Health Advancement with Jonathan Fielding. Dr. Zimmerman was previously co-Director of the Child Health Institute at the University of Washington and Chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management in the Fielding School. He holds an MS and a PhD in economics from the University of Wisconsin.
Dr. Zimmerman’s s research illuminates how economic structure—including poverty and inequality—influence population health. His work has been distilled into the multi-level theory of population health.
In one of the earliest agent-based models in economics, Dr. Zimmerman showed why it is rational for low-income people in a developing country to manage assets so conservatively that they end up with low returns—and remain stranded in poverty. This research has since formed the basis of an NGO strategy to improve access to crop insurance for low-income people, enabling them to engage in riskier, but more lucrative activities. Dr. Zimmerman has also published extensively on the effects of child media use on subsequent health and development. His recent research topics include simulated comparative effectiveness of public health policies; the effects of social and economic policy on population health; and the economics of health equity. Dr. Zimmerman has also developed a measure of health equity that can be used to track performance on health equity over time and across jurisdictions. In addition, Dr. Zimmerman has a long-standing interest in ethics in public health, and has published pieces on the ethics of behavioral economics and a re-examination of autonomy in public health.