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I joined the faculty of the sociology department and the Center on Health, Risk and Society at American University in September 2011. My research investigates the processes that perpetuate racial and economic segregation in American cities and the consequences of that segregation and spatial inequality on health disparities. My published work demonstrates racial influences on the knowledge residents have of communities in their metropolitan area as well as their preferences for specific metropolitan communities, the role of racial segregation on low birth weight and the influence of the built environment on obesity. My current research examines the manner in which non-economic forces help perpetuate patterns of racial and economic segregation and the formation of food deserts in American cities. This work combines survey, demographic, and qualitative research to examine how residents acquire knowledge of neighborhoods in their metropolitan areas and the manner in which perceptions of those communities lead to unequal residential and commercial investment.

In addition to work in this substantive research, I maintain an active research agenda regarding spatial demographic methods including methods that combine geostatistical tools with neighborhood assessments so that researchers can create flexible neighborhood boundaries for multi-outcome studies and use Google’s Street View product to conduct systematic social observations in geographically dispersed samples. I’ve received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Institutes of Health (NICHD) for this work, results of which appear in sociology, epidemiology, and geography journals.

I completed my dissertation at the University of Michigan in 2009 after graduating from Rice University with a degree in architecture and art history, which helped form my interest in the role of physical environments on social interactions. While completing my dissertation, I was a research associate with the Built Environment and Health (BEH) project at Columbia University and I continue to collaborate with the BEH project as a faculty associate. Immediately before joining the faculty at AU, I was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania for two years where I was also a senior fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics.

When I'm not working, I enjoy spending time with my wife, daughter, and dog and, occasionally, cooking.

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e-mail: bader [at] american [dot] edu
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View my curriculum vitae