Ezra Susser, MD, DrPH
Co-Director, Psychiatric Epidemiology Training Program at Mailman School of Public Health
Co-Founder, Global Mental Health Program at Columbia University
Founding Director, Imprints Center for Genetic and Environmental Lifecourse Studies
Ezra Susser is on Faculty in the Departments of Psychiatry and Epidemiology. He has worked on program initiatives around the globe. His primary focus is currently on innovative treatments that increase capacity to treat individuals with severe and persistent mental illness in low-resource communities and advancing the civil rights of individuals with mental disorder.
Dr. Susser was a co-founder of the Global Mental Health Program at Columbia University. Some current projects that he leads or co-leads in Global Mental Health are listed above. Much of his work pertains to people with schizophrenia and other psychoses. In addition to the projects he leads, he is currently on the Steering Committee of INTREPID2, which seeks to determine the variation in incidence and manifestations of schizophrenia in 3 diverse locales (India, Nigeria, and Trinidad), and PSY-MAP, an interrelated effort in South Africa, for which he led the initial pilot study. He has also been involved in a lot of work with autism, including being a Scientific Advisory Board Member of Autism Speaks and a special advisor for the Global Autism Health initiative and is involved in international cohort studies on Autism Spectrum Disorders.
In tandem, Dr. Susser has focused on examining the role of early life experience in health and disease throughout the life course. He has studied the relation of early nutritional deficiency to child and adult neurodevelopmental mental disorders, and the potential for periconceptional micronutrient supplements to reduce the risk of these disorders. He has also conducted investigations of other prenatal exposures (infectious, toxic) that may influence risk of neurodevelopmental disorders.
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, an intervention now being adapted and tested across the globe, see www.criticaltime.org.
Dr. Susser is a member of a number of organizations such as the American Epidemiological Society, American College for Epidemiology, Society for Epidemiologic Research and the American Psychopathological Association (APPA), and the International Association of Epidemiology. Awards include the Rema LaPousse Award for outstanding contributions to psychiatric epidemiology in 2011; the Zubin Award for outstanding leadership in psychiatric epidemiology from APPA in 2011; the Hamilton Award as President of APPA 2012 (meeting focused on intergenerational research); and the Lieber Prize for Outstanding Achievements in Schizophrenia Research 2021. He is an editor of the International Journal of Epidemiology, and during 2011-2014 was the elected representative from North America to the International Association of Epidemiology. He is lead author of the main textbook on psychiatric epidemiology, titled “Psychiatric Epidemiology”, published in 2006. He is also a former Chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, during which time he was the Anna Cheskis Gelman and Murray Charles Gelman Professor of Epidemiology.