Ezra S. Susser, MD, DrPH, focuses on two main areas. One is examining the role of early life experience in health and disease throughout the life course. He heads the Imprints Center for Genetic and Environmental Lifecourse Studies, which fosters collaborative research and intellectual exchange among investigators studying developmental origins in birth cohorts across the globe. As one example, the findings from a series of studies have suggested that exposure to famine in early gestation is associated with increased schizophrenia among offspring.
The other is global mental health. He is a co-founder of the Global Mental Health Program at Columbia University. Much of Dr. Susser's early work focused on the course of schizophrenia and especially on social outcomes. In his early research career he was involved in follow-up studies of psychoses in the United States and across the globe, including the WHO International Study of Schizophrenia. He also conducted studies of homelessness and its prevention among patients with schizophrenia. This work included the development and testing of the initial version of Critical Time Intervention (CTI) for prevention of recurrent homelessness. Currently CTI is being adapted for use in low and middle income countries, and a version is being piloted for a regional trial across three countries in Latin America. Dr. Susser is also involved in work on schizophrenia in other regions, for example, in South Africa he and colleagues are laying the groundwork for the first study of the incidence of psychoses in Africa, and have undertaken the first large study of genetics of schizophrenia in a population of African ancestry.
Dr. Susser is editor of the International Journal of Epidemiology, lead author of the main textbook on psychiatric epidemiology, and former chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health (1999-2008).