Gina Lovasi, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in Epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Her research examines the effects of how modifiable built and social environments influence cardiovascular and pulmonary health, as well as differences in these effects across population subgroups. Dr. Lovasi received her PhD and MPH in epidemiology from the University of Washington, where her research examined neighborhood walkability and neighborhood socioeconomic characteristics as determinants of physical activity and cardiovascular risk. Dr. Lovasi was selected as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar in 2006 and has served on the editorial board of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. She has received several prizes for my research, including the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis Young Investigator Award, the David Bates Award from the Assembly on Environmental and Occupational Health of the American Thoracic Society and, most recently, the Calderone Award for Junior Investigators.
Dr. Lovasi was the Career Development Investigator of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health between 2009 and 2011, working on Geographic Information System (GIS) analyses including the effects of prenatal polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) exposure on IQ, taking into account neighborhood level socio-economic and environmental conditions. She has been on the faculty at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health for over 5 years and an investigator with the Built Environment and Health Project (www.beh.columbia.edu/about) for more than 8 years, where she cocused on conducting research in New York City that explores how physical and social environments could be changed to better support health and well-being. Building on this research and expanding to new urban settings, her current research examines the health effects of neighborhood changes, such as rezoning to promote walkable urban form, infrastructure investments to support pedestrian safety, massive urban tree planting to increase canopy coverage, and supermarket openings that improve access to healthy food in high needs areas. Health outcomes of interest include myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, sudden cardiac arrest, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, sub-clinical emphysema, and asthma.