Center for Social Dynamics and Community Health

The Center for Social Dynamics and Community Health (CSDCH) applies systems science and mixed methods approaches to better understand the mechanisms underlying community health issues. By studying the complex contexts of health behaviors and the dynamic interactions of individuals with their social and physical environments, researchers at the CSDCH seek to identify and inform multi-level public health intervention opportunities. CSDCH faculty include Christina Mair, Jessica Burke, Robert Coulter and Kar-Hai Chu.

Meet current students

Beth Hoffman, using systems science and social media data

Doctoral student Beth Hoffman (BCHS '19 '23) uses system science methods to analyze social media data related to health topics such as vaping and vaccination. Her master's thesis examining anti-vaccine sentiment on Facebook through social network analyses was featured by multiple media outlets including CNN, Newsweek, and NBC's WPXI.  

Jessica Frankeberger, modeling social-ecological contributions to postpartum opioid use

In her dissertation work, doctoral student Jessica Frankeberger (BCHS '23) will use spatial analysis and modeling approaches to understand the social-ecological contexts that contribute to opioid use and related problems among postpartum women.  

Jessica Thompson, using systems science in community health

Doctoral candidate Jessica Thompson (BCHS '21) is interested in community-engaged approaches, chronic disease prevention, rural and Appalachian women's health, mixed-methods research, and systems science approaches to community health research.  

2018 Modeling Social Dynamics and Health Behavior Conference

Find out more about the one-day Modeling Social Dynamics and Health Behavior Conference on using computational approaches in social and behavioral research which took place on Friday, October 26, 2018. And, get an overview of the pre-conference Behavior Modeling Workshop - FRED (a Framework for Reconstructing Epidemiological Dynamics).

These events were jointly sponsored by the Clinical and Translational Science Institute, the Center for Social Dynamics and Community Health, and the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory


Christina Mair
6136 Public Health 
Phone: 412-624-3613

Jessica Burke
Deputy Director
6132 Public Health 
Phone: 412-624-3610     

Center news


Hoffman on how to use social media effectively to share science-based vaccine information 

Hoffman on how to use social media effectively to share science-based vaccine information

WESA - Lead author Beth Hoffman (BCHS '19, '22) lays out five guidelines for future pro-vaccine events, for example: be inclusive, make sure participants have suggested tweets in hand and are trained in how to respond to messages, and share personal stories and science-backed information. Hoffman n... (04/18/2021)
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