Diana Hernández

Headshot of Fellow Diana Hernandez

Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences
Mailman School of Public Health
Columbia University

“At its core, our home is where we launch our lives from on a daily basis. Housing is therefore an important area of study and intervention as it carries vital health and social implications. For me, housing is the focus of my research, business and passion.”

Fellowship Projects: Beyond Implementation: Evaluating Compliance and Refining Enforcement of Smoke-free Housing Policy in Low-income Multiple Unit Housing Settings Study / National Energy Insecurity Study

Dr. Hernández conducts research at the intersection of energy, equity, housing and health (E2H2). A sociologist by training, her work focuses on the social and environmental determinants of health by examining the impacts of policy and place-based interventions on the health and well-being of socioeconomically disadvantaged populations.

A leader in the field, Dr. Hernández has advanced the concept of energy insecurity to reflect challenges associated with meeting basic household energy needs. Her research has explored its social and health implications using qualitative and quantitative methods. Much of her community-oriented research has been conducted with community groups and government agencies and several of her projects have been conducted in her native South Bronx neighborhood, where she also lives and invests in social impact real estate.

Dr. Hernández’ cutting-edge work has been published in leading academic journals including the American Journal of Public Health, Energy Policy, Social Science and Medicine, and Health Affairs. Furthermore, her work has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, Housing and Urban Development and National Science Foundation as well as philanthropic organizations including the JPB Foundation and the New York Community Trust, among others.

Dr. Hernández was the inaugural recipient of the Dean’s Junior Faculty Excellence in Leadership Award in 2016 for her efforts leading Mailman’s Faculty Innovation Group. She also received the Junior Faculty Teaching Award in the same year.

As a social entrepreneur, she founded Alchemy by Design, Corp in 2012 with a mission to improve distressed buildings and provide high quality housing to upwardly mobile people with South Bronx roots. She has led three major renovation projects and currently owns/manages 10 units of housing. Dr. Hernández also engages in a variety of community-building activities through consulting, writing in popular press outlets, board service and active civic engagement.

Dr. Hernández completed her doctoral training in Sociology at Cornell University (2010), her undergraduate degree at Hunter College- City University of New York (2002) and is a product of the New York City public school system.

This information is accurate as of the fellowship year indicated for each fellow.