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Sherman A James, Professor Emeritus of Public Policy  

Office Location: 213 Sanford Building
Office Phone: (919) 613-7316
Duke Box: 90245
Email Address: sjames@duke.edu

Areas of Expertise

  • Health Policy
    • Access to health care
    • Health Disparities
  • Social Policy, Race/Ethnicity

PhD, Washington University in St. Louis, 1973
Bachelor of Arts, Talladega College, Talladega, AL, 1964

Research Categories: Social Determinants of US Racial, Ethnic and Socioeconomic Disparities in Health Status and Health Care; Poverty and Global Health Disparities

Current projects: Life course Socioeconomic Position and the Health of African Americans: The Pitt County Study (PI), Reducing diabetes-related health disparities in African Americans (PI), The Health Legacy of the 1960s Civil Rights Era on Black/White Health Disparities in the US South (PI)

Research Description: Social determinants of U.S.racial, ethnic and socioeconomic health disparities; community-based and public policy interventions to reduce health disparities

Office Hours:
10am-12noon, Mondays

Representative Publications   (More Publications)

  1. He W, James SA, Merli G, Zheng H.. "Increasing Socioeconomic Inequality in Child Overweight/Obesity in China." American Journal of Public Health 104.1 (January, 2014): e14-e22.
  2. Subramanyam MA, James SA, Diez-Roux AV, Hickson DA, Sarpong D, Sims M, Taylor HA, Wyatt SB. "Socioeconomic status, John Henrysim and blood pressure among African-Americans in the Jackson Heart Study." Social Science & Medicine 93 (Fall, 2013): 139-146.
  3. Abdelrahim S, James SA, Yamout R, Baker, W. "Discrimination and Psychological Distress: Does Whiteness Matter for Arab Americans?." Social Science & Medicine 75 (Fall, 2012): 2116-2123.
  4. Anthopolos R, James SA, Gelfand AE, Miranda ML. "A Spatial Measure of Neighborhood Level Racial Isolation Applied to Low Birthweight, Preterm Birth, and Birthweight in North Carolina." Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology 2.4 (December, 2011): 235-246.
  5. Stanton MV, Jonassaint CR, Williams RB, James SA. "Socioeconomic Status Moderates the Association between John Henryism and NEO-PI-R Personality Domains." Psychosomatic Medicine 72 (Spring, 2010): 141-147.
  6. James SA. "Epidemiologic Research on Health Disparities: Some Thoughts on History and Current Developments." Epidemiologic Reviews 31 (Winter, 2009): 1-6.
  7. James SA, VanHoewyk J., Belli RF, Strogatz DS, Williams DR. "Life-course Socioeconomic Position and Risk for Hypertension in African American Men: The Pitt County Study." American Journal of Public Health 96.5 (May, 2006): 812-817.

Curriculum Vitae

Sherman A. James is professor emeritus of public policy at the Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University. Prior to joining the Duke faculty, he taught in the epidemiology departments at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (1973-89) and at the University of Michigan (1989-03). At Michigan, he was the John P. Kirscht Collegiate Professor of Public Health, the Founding Director of the Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture and Health (CRECH), Chair of the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, and a Senior Research Scientist in the Survey Research Center at the Institute for Social Research.

James' research focuses on the social determinants of racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care. He is the originator of the John Henryism Hypothesis which posits that repetitive high-effort coping with difficult social and economic stressors is a major contributor to racial and socioeconomic disparities in hypertension and related cardiovascular diseases.

James was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2000. In 2001, he received the Abraham Lilienfeld Award from the Epidemiology section of the American Public Health Association for career excellence in the teaching of epidemiology. He is a fellow of the American Epidemiological Society, the American College of Epidemiology, the American Heart Association, and the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research. In 2007-08, he served as president of the Society for Epidemiologic Research (SER). In 2008, he was awarded a Health Policy Investigator Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. A social epidemiologist, James received his PhD (Psychology) from Washington University in St. Louis (1973). In 2008, he was named a Distinguished Alumnus of Washington University.

Current Ph.D. Students   (Former Students)

  • Wei He  
  • Julius Wilder  
  • Debbie Barrington  
  • Edna Viruell-Fuentes  
  • JoLynn Pratt  
  • Kyunghee Bae  
  • Amy Curtis  
  • Amy Sullivan  
  • Jay Kaufman  
  • Alice Furomoto-Dawson  
  • Ralph Caraballo  
  • Rosalind Carter  
  • Dorothy Faulkner  
  • Antonio Lopes  
  • Beatrice Zurita  
  • Julie Gazmararian  
  • Patricia Dargent-Molina  
  • David Strogatz  
  • Janet Meininger  
  • Suezanne Orr  

Sherman A James