Lisa M. Bates, S.D., S.M.

Lisa M. Bates, a social epidemiologist, is Assistant Professor in the Departments of Epidemiology and Population and Family Health. Before joining the faculty of the Mailman School in 2007 she was an RWJ H&SS scholar at Columbia. She received her doctorate in 2005 from the Department of Society, Human Development, and Health at the Harvard School of Public Health. Her research focuses how social stratification and processes of social change translate into health outcomes. Current studies examine socioeconomic and cultural dimensions of immigrant adaptation and health in the US, with attention to life course issues, subgroup differences in the effects of immigration on health, and critical perspectives on acculturation. Bates combines training in social epidemiology with a background in qualitative research and international health and is concurrently engaged in research on the changing sociocultural and economic determinants of women's reproductive health in Bangladesh, with a particular focus on women's empowerment.

Research Interests & Projects:

Past Research:

Professor Bates has conducted research related to gender, social determinants of health, immigration, and reproductive health. In the mid-1990s she began mixed-methods research in rural Bangladesh on the intersections of poverty, gender inequality, and reproductive health, and on local responses to national population programs and policies designed to induce both normative and behavioral change. Bates and colleagues have documented how gender and class-related attitudes and expectations shaped by the previous top-down population program persisted and impeded successful adoption of new strategies meant to improve attention to human rights, quality of care, and program sustainability (Bates et al. 2001 - 2003). This ethnographic research also highlighted the malleability of gender norms in the face of both economic imperatives and the perceived necessity of accessing health and family planning services. Bates’ subsequent research in Bangladesh explored more broadly how social interventions targeted at women, such as micro-credit and education, shape their opportunities, their health, and the health of their children.

Present Research:

Bates has extended her interests in cultural and social influences on health to a U.S. context, specifically on immigrant health. Her research has focused on socioeconomic and cultural dimensions of immigrant adaptation and health, subgroup differences in the effects of immigration on health, and critical perspectives on acculturation.

Bates’ research on the changing socio-cultural and economic determinants of women’s health in Bangladesh is also ongoing, with a particular focus on women’s empowerment and the mediating role of marriage. Current analyses using these data are looking at changes in health and development and their correlates with women’s empowerment; based on these analyses, Bates obtained an NIH grant to study women’s empowerment and the influences on health across generations.

Future Research:

Bates’ upcoming work will include qualitative data collection among Latino immigrants in New York, exploring issues of racial/ethnic identity, experiences of discrimination, and expectations for social mobility, as well as the development of cross-national comparative studies between Mexico and the U.S. She also will be pursuing new research on how other drivers of social and economic change in Bangladesh (e.g., employment in the garment industry, rural-urban migration) influence marriage formation strategies, gender dynamics, and sexual and reproductive health

Contact Information:


Bates LM, Barnes D, Keyes KM. (2011) Re.: "Reconsidering the role of social disadvantage in physical and mental health: stressful life events, health behaviors, race, and depression". Am J Epidemiol. 173(11):1348-9; author reply 1349-51. PubMed PMID: 21540321.

Keyes KM, Martins SS, Hatzenbuehler ML, Blanco C, Bates LM, Hasin DS. (2011, in press) Mental health service utilization for psychiatric disorders among Latinos living in the United States: the role of ethnic subgroup, ethnic identity, and language/social preferences. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2011 Feb 3. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 21290097.

Keyes KM, Barnes DM, Bates LM. (2011) Stress, coping, and depression: testing a new hypothesis in a prospectively studied general population sample of U.S.-born Whites and Blacks. Soc Sci Med. 72(5):650-9. PubMed PMID: 21227557; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3072813.

Acevedo-Garcia D, Bates LM, Osypuk TL, McArdle N. (2010) The effect of immigrant generation and duration on self-rated health among US adults 2003-2007. Soc Sci Med. 71(6):1161-72. PubMed PMID: 20624666.

Osypuk TL, Bates LM, Acevedo-Garcia D. (2010) Another Mexican birthweight paradox? The role of residential enclaves and neighborhood poverty in the birthweight of Mexican-origin infants. Soc Sci Med. 70(4):550-60. PubMed PMID: 19926186; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2815074.

Maselko J, Bates LM, Avendaño M, Glymour MM. (2009) The intersection of sex, marital status, and cardiovascular risk factors in shaping stroke incidence: results from the health and retirement study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 57(12):2293-9. PubMed PMID: 19874408.

Bates LM, Hankivsky O, Springer KW. (2009) Gender and health inequities: a comment on the Final Report of the WHO Commission on the Social Determinants of Health. Soc Sci Med. 69(7):1002-4. PubMed PMID: 19665829.

Schuler SR, Bates LM, Islam F. (2008) Women's rights, domestic violence, and recourse seeking in rural Bangladesh. Violence Against Women. 14(3):326-45. PubMed PMID: 18292373.

Bates LM, Acevedo-Garcia D, Alegría M, Krieger N. (2008) Immigration and generational trends in body mass index and obesity in the United States: results of the National Latino and Asian American Survey, 2002-2003. Am J Public Health. 98(1):70-7. PubMed PMID: 18048787; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2156071.

Acevedo-Garcia, D., & Bates, LM. (2007). Latino Health Paradoxes: Empirical evidence, explanations, future research, and implications. In H. Rodriguez, R. Saenz & C. Menjivar (Eds.), Latino/as in the United States: Changing the Face of America pp. 101-113. New York: Springer.

Bates LM, Maselko J, Schuler SR. (2007) Women's education and the timing of marriage and childbearing in the next generation: evidence from rural Bangladesh. Stud Fam Plann. 38(2):101-12. PubMed PMID: 17642411.

Krieger N, Waterman PD, Hartman C, Bates LM, Stoddard AM, Quinn MM, Sorensen G, Barbeau EM. (2006) Social hazards on the job: workplace abuse, sexual harassment, and racial discrimination--a study of Black, Latino, and White low-income women and men workers in the United States. Int J Health Serv. 36(1):51-85. PubMed PMID: 16524165.

Schuler SR, Bates LM, Islam F, Islam MK. (2006) The timing of marriage and childbearing among rural families in Bangladesh: choosing between competing risks. Soc Sci Med. 62(11):2826-37. PubMed PMID: 16352384.

Bates LM, Schuler SR, Islam F, Islam K. (2004) Socioeconomic factors and processes associated with domestic violence in rural Bangladesh. Int Fam Plan Perspect. 30(4):190-9. PubMed PMID: 15590385.

Bates LM, Islam MK, Al-Kabir A, Schuler SR. (2003) From home to clinic and family planning to family health: client and community responses to health sector reforms in Bangladesh. Int Fam Plan Perspect. 29(2):88-94.

Schuler SR, Bates LM, Islam MK. (2002) Paying for reproductive health services in Bangladesh: intersections between cost, quality and culture. Health Policy Plan. 17(3):273-80.