Add Health Director Dr. Robert A. Hummer

Current Director

Dr. Robert A. Hummer, PhD

Robert A. Hummer is the Howard W. Odum Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Fellow of the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Hummer recently served as the 2021 President of the Population Association of America (PAA), the 84th president in the history of the organization. Hummer’s research program is focused on the accurate description and more complete understanding of population health patterns and trends in the United States. He is currently serving as Director of the long-running National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), which is funded by the National Institute on Aging and five co-funding institutes/offices (NICHD, NIMHD, NIDA, OBSSR, ODP). Now in its sixth wave, Add Health is one of the most innovative and well-utilized nationally representative cohort studies of Americans ever undertaken. Over his career to date, Professor Hummer has published more than 150 journal articles and book chapters in his areas of interest, with attention to health disparities both during infancy/childhood as well as across the adult life course. He is also the recent co-author of Population Health in America (University of California Press, 2019, with Erin R. Hamilton).

Deputy Director

Dr. Allison E. Aiello, PhD

Dr. Allison Aiello is the James S. Jackson Healthy Longevity Professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health and the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center. Dr. Aiello received her PhD in Epidemiology from Columbia University with distinction and was awarded the Anna C. Gelman Award for outstanding achievement and promise in the field of Epidemiology. Following her graduate studies, she joined the University of Michigan as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar and two years later, was promoted to Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, where she launched her independent academic career and held the John G. Searle Assistant Professorship of Public Health.  In 2014, Dr. Aiello moved to the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, to lead the Social Epidemiology Program. During this time, Dr. Aiello was elected as Fellow of the Carolina Population Center and was appointed Adjunct Professor of Social Medicine at the UNC School of Medicine. In 2022, Dr. Aiello was recruited to Columbia University to develop and lead a new program Biosocial Aging and Health Equity in the Columbia Aging Center at the Mailman School of Public Health at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Dr. Aiello currently serves as the Deputy Director of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) Wave VI.

Former Director

Dr. Kathleen Mullan Harris, PhD

Dr. Harris served as the Director of Add Health from 2004 to 2021. She is the James E. Haar Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Adjunct Professor of Public Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and holds her Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and her Master’s and Doctorate degree in Demography from Pennsylvania State University.

Dr. Harris was awarded the 2016 Golden Goose Award from the U.S. Congress for federally funded research that leads to major breakthroughs in medicine, social behavior, and technological research. In 2019 she received the Irene Taeuber Award from the Population Association of America in recognition of original and important contributions to the scientific study of population. She has also been awarded with the Rachel Rosenfeld Graduate Student Association Award for Excellence in Mentoring, and the Clifford C. Clogg Award for early Career Achievement in Population Studies and Demography from the Population Association of America and the Population Research Institute of Pennsylvania State University. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She also served as president of the Population Association of America, is a member of the U.S. Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations, and is a member of the Sociological Research Association. Additionally, she is the Chair of the Committee on Population at the National Academies of Sciences and Chair of the Social Science and Population Study Section.

Her publications appear in a wide range of disciplinary journals including demography, genetics, family, epidemiology, biology, public policy, survey methodology, medicine, and social and health behavior. Her research focuses on social inequality and health with interests in health disparities, biological indicators of health, and life course processes. Under her leadership, Add Health has pioneered new study designs and put together a team of researchers from different scientific disciplines in order to understand social, environmental, behavioral, biological, and genetic effects on development and health across the life course. She is an advocate within the social science and population disciplines for bridging social and biomedical sciences to advance knowledge on the development of health disparities to inform public health and social policy. One of her unique contributions to science includes studying health across multiple generations.