Skip to content

Kathleen Harris

Kathleen Mullan HarrisĀ is the James E. Haar distinguished professor of sociology, adjunct professor of public policy, and faculty fellow at the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on social inequality and health with particular interests in health disparities, biodemography, sociogenomics, and life course and aging processes. Dr. Harris served as director and principal investigator of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) from 2004-2021 (deputy director 1999-2004). She developed Add Health into a landmark study funded by NIH institutes and agencies in which she integrated biological and genomic data for scientific study of developmental and health trajectories across the early life course. Dr. Harris works with an interdisciplinary set of scholars from sociology, epidemiology, nutrition, economics, cardiology, genetics, and survey methods to publish research on such topics as the health effects of despair, isolation and stress, social genetic effects, health costs of upward mobility, and the obesity epidemic and young adult health. She was awarded the Golden Goose Award from the US Congress in 2016 for major breakthroughs in medicine, social behavior, and technological research. Dr. Harris is past president of the Population Association of America and an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She is the chair of the Committee on Population at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. She has a Ph.D. in demography from the University of Pennsylvania.