Skip to content

The Milbank Quarterly
Early Career Award in Population Health Winners

Teaching award Elizabeth Wrigley-Field2023 – Elizabeth Wrigley-Field

Elizabeth Wrigley-Field is an associate professor at the University of Minnesota. A sociologist and demographer, she studies racial inequality in mortality in the historical and contemporary United States, and specializes in finding comparisons and metrics that illuminate the human meaning of mortality disparities. She has extensively researched the Covid-19 pandemic in Minnesota, where she also co-founded an award-winning community vaccination organization (the Seward Vaccine Equity Project). She is also a demographic methodologist, developing models designed to clarify relationships between micro and macro perspectives on population processes.

mchowkwanyun2022 – Merlin Chowkwanyun

Merlin Chowkwanyun is the Donald Gemson Assistant Professor of Sociomedical Sciences and a Core Faculty member at the Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. He is the author of All Health Politics is Local: Community Battles for Medical Care and Environmental Health and works on community health, environmental health governance, racial health inequity, and health activism. He also serves as the PI for Toxic Docs (, a National Science Foundation-funded database of once-secret documents on industrial poisons that leverages novel data science techniques. He is a loud and obnoxious Los Angeles Lakers fan but has had to swallow the hubris during the 2021-2022 season.

2021 – Atheendar Venkataramani

Atheendar Venkataramani is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy and a staff physician at the Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. He directs the Penn Opportunity for Health Lab, a research group that focuses on life-course origins of health and socioeconomic inequality and policies to reduce health disparities. Read more

2020 – Dustin Duncan

Dustin T. Duncan, ScD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, where he directs Columbia’s Spatial Epidemiology Lab and co-directs the department’s Social and Spatial Epidemiology Unit. Dr. Duncan is an internationally recognized social and spatial epidemiologist, studying how specific neighborhood characteristics influence population health and health disparities, especially among sexual and gender minorities. Read more

2019 – Jennifer Karas Montez

Jennifer Karas Montez is a Professor of Sociology, the Gerald B. Cramer Faculty Scholar in Aging Studies, and Co-Director of the Policy, Place, and Population Health Lab at Syracuse University. Her work examines the large and growing inequalities in U.S. adult mortality since the early 1980s. She is particularly interested in why trends in mortality have been most troubling for women, low-educated adults, and states in the South and Midwest. Read more