Maximizing Student Development

New York
Academic Level
Issue Area
Academic Program
Key Personnel
Program Focus


The mission of the Sociomedical Science department is to understand and address the health concerns of disempowered and marginalized groups who carry a disproportionate burden of diseases, such as immigrants, sexual minorities, drug users, people with mental illnesses, and racial and ethnic minorities while increasing the diversity of students who receive doctoral training in public health.

Program Description

The Department of Sociomedical Sciences draws from anthropology, history, psychology, and sociology as well as applied public health to examine the cultural, social, environmental, and political forces that shape behavior and that produce health and disease in different contexts. The department played a key role in instituting the NIH-funded Initiative for Maximizing Student Development.

Maximizing Student Development has enabled the department of Sociomedical Sciences to significantly increase the number of historically underrepresented students, including Latinos, who enroll in the doctoral program and provides research mentoring, peer support, tailored seminars on research and professional development, and individualized career guidance.


From 2003 to 2010, 78 new doctoral students enrolled in the doctoral programs. Of these, 11 were Latinos.

The Sociomedical Sciences department has also made faculty diversity a priority, with 10 of the 37 faculty members are either Latino or African-American.