P3H People

Jennifer Karas Montez | Co-Director

Jennifer Karas Montez is a Professor of Sociology, the Gerald B. Cramer Faculty Scholar in Aging Studies, and a 2018-2020 Andrew Carnegie Fellow. She received her PhD in Sociology with a Demography Specialization from the University of Texas at Austin and did her postdoctoral training as a Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholar at Harvard University.

Her research examines the large and growing gaps in life expectancy among US adults and how changes in US state policies have contributed to those gaps. She is particularly interested in why the trends in life expectancy have been most troubling for women, adults with low levels of formal education, and the Southern and Midwestern parts of the country.

Email Jennifer: jmontez@syr.edu

Curriculum Vitae

Shannon Monnat | Co-Director

Shannon Monnat is an Associate Professor of Sociology and the Lerner Chair for Public Health Promotion. She received her PhD in Sociology at the State University of New York at Albany. Monnat is a demographer and population health scholar whose research examines trends and geographic differences in health and mortality, with a special interest in rural health and health disparities. She is a leading national expert on structural and spatial determinants of drug overdose, particularly as they related to understanding why overdose rates are higher in some places than others. Her most recent research has focused on rural-urban differences in COVID-19 mortality rates, vaccination rates, and perceived impacts to wellbeing.

Email Shannon: smmonnat@syr.edu

Curriculum Vitae

Janet Wilmoth | Director, Aging Studies Institute

Janet Wilmoth has a Ph.D. in Sociology and Demography, with a minor in Gerontology, from the Pennsylvania State University.  She is a Professor of Sociology, Director of the Aging Studies Institute, Senior Research Affiliate in the Center for Policy Research, and Senior Fellow in the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University.  Her research utilizes quantitative methods to understand later life well-being from a life course perspective.  She has published in the areas of older adult migration, living arrangements, and health status.  Her recent research explores how military service shapes various life course outcomes related to marriage and family, economic well-being, and disability. Her research has received funding from the National Institute on Aging, the Social Security Administration, and the National Poverty Center. Professor Wilmoth has authored over 50 articles and book chapters, and coedited Gerontology: Perspectives and Issues, 3rd and 4th Editions, and Life Course Perspectives on Military Service.

Email Janet: jwilmoth@syr.edu

Curriculum Vitae

Postdoctoral Scholars and Graduate Students

Erin Bisesti | PhD Student

Erin Bisesti is a Phd student in Sociology at Syracuse University. She received a BA in Sociology from the University of North Florida in 2018.

Her most recent publication focuses on cohort-based changes in educational attainment among adults with intellectual disability. Broadly, her research interests include the political economy of health and mortality, education, gender, and disability. She is particularly interested in the protective effects of education on health and mortality.

Email Erin: embisest@syr.edu 

Curriculum Vitae

Erin’s Google Scholar Page

Mariah Brennan Nanni | PhD Student

Mariah Brennan Nanni is a PhD student in the Social Science program at Syracuse University. She previously attended the University of Connecticut where she received her Master of Public Administration in 2019. Her research interests include population health trends disparities, specifically for vulnerable populations. Mariah is currently working on her dissertation, which is focused on gender differences in veteran health and employment needs during the reintegration process.

Email Mariah: mbrenn06@syr.edu

Curriculum Vitae

Mariah’s Google Scholar Page

Kent Cheng | PhD Student

Kent is a social demographer who studies how individual, family, and community-level factors shape health outcomes, especially among older adults. His recent work has appeared in reputable journals like Frontiers in Public Health, Preventive Medicine, Journal of Applied Gerontology, PLos One, Journal of Rural Health, Quality of Life Research, Journal of Family Psychology, Family Process, Journal of Adult Development, Journal of Rural Social Science, and Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health. His dissertation is on the determinants and health consequences of intergenerational time, money, and space transfers for US older adults. On the side, he studies tobacco policy in the Philippines, his home country.

Email Kent: kgcheng@syr.edu

Curriculum Vitae

Kent’s Google Scholar Page

Julene Kemp Cooney | PhD Student

Julene Cooney is a PhD student in Sociology at Syracuse University.  She has earned both an MS in Statistics from Brigham Young University and an MA in Community and Economic Development with a Certificate in Workforce Development from SUNY Empire State.

She is researching the effects that education has on the physical and mental health of US women and their children throughout the life course.  She is particularly interested in the protective effects that advanced education might have on premature mortality as a result of drug abuse, domestic violence and/or suicide.

Julene is returning to scholarly pursuits after a fruitful career split between the manufacturing sector, the education sector, and an extended sabbatical during which she raised and launched three children into society.

Email Julene: jkcooney@syr.edu

Curriculum Vitae

Julia Finan | PhD Student

Julia Finan is a Sociology PhD student at Syracuse University. She has received a B.A. in Psychology at Rutgers Unversity-New Brunswick. Julia is interested in social determinants of health and how the influence disparities in health outcomes. Her most recent research has focused on mortality differences among those with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Email Julia: jfinan@syr.edu

Curriculum Vitae

Julia’s Google Scholar Page

Joshua Grove | PhD Student

Joshua Grove is a PhD student in the department of Sociology. He is interested in mental health and substance use, including geographic disparities in drug overdose mortality rates.  He has graduate degrees in both sociology and religion. Prior to coming to Syracuse, Joshua was a pastor and worked with people diagnosed with substance use disorder.

Email Joshua: jggrove@syr.edu

Curriculum Vitae

Joshua’s Google Scholar Page

Tori-Ann Haywood | PhD Student

Tori-Ann is a first year student in the Department of Sociology at Syracuse University. She has earned both a B.A. and a M.P.A from the City College of New York.
After a short and rewarding career in project management , she has returned to academia. Her research interests include public policy’s effects on the population’s health, including the disparity in health depending on location, age disability, race and socio-economic class.

Email Tori-Ann: tchaywoo@syr.edu

Yue Sun | PhD Student

Yue Sun is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at Syracuse University. Sun is a rural demographer and medical sociologist whose research examines geographic disparities in health, mortality, and physical environments by political economy theories and spatial modeling methods. Her dissertation is on the associations between physical environments and human mortality. Her work has been published in Journal of Rural Health, Population and Environment, Socius, Journal of Rural Social Science, and Journal of Applied Gerontology.

Email Yue: ysun46@syr.edu

Curriculum Vitae

Yue’s Google Scholar Page

Xue Zhang | PhD Student

Xue Zhang is the Lerner Postdoctoral Scholar in Population Health. Zhang is a social scientist, demographer and population health scholar who conducts research on geographical differences in demographic structure, public policy, and social determinates of health, with special interest in rural-urban differences and health disparity. Her most recent research examines governments’ policy response during COVID-19. She is interested in factors related to governments’ policy decision, and the relation between various policies and health outcomes, including physical, mental, psychological health, mortality, and COVID-19 infections and deaths. Her research also examines factors at the individual, community, and policy levels that contributes to a better population health.

Email Xue: xzhan315@syr.edu

Curriculum Vitae

Xue’s Google Scholar Page

P3H  Alumni

Nader Mehri (2020-2022). Statistician, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Claire Pendergrast (2019-2022). Senior Analyst in the Health Improvement and Healthy Aging Program, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials
Danielle Rhubart (2020-2021). Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health, Pennsylvania State University
Jennifer D. Brooks (2017-2021). Postdoctoral Scholar, Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability, Cornell University
Blakelee Kemp (2018-2020). Assistant Research Professor, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Key Collaborators

Mark D. Hayward, The University of Texas Austin
Anna Zajacova, Western University
Jason Beckfield, Harvard University
Steven Woolf, Virginia Commonwealth University
Derek Chapman, Virginia Commonwealth University
Ashton Verdery, Penn State University
Glenn Sterner, Penn State Abington
Katherine McLean, Penn State Greater Allegheny
Khary Rigg, University of South Florida