Seth J Prins

is a social and psychiatric epidemiologist. His two programs of research concern the collateral consequences of mass incarceration for mental illness and substance use, and how the division and structure of labor influence mood disorders.


Columbia University
Mailman School of Public Health
722 West 168 Street Room 521
New York, NY 10032

Updated November 15, 2018


2018 - present

Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

2016 - 2018

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Columbia University, Department of Sociomedical Sciences and Department of Social Work 


2011 - 2016

PhD in Epidemiology, Columbia University

Dissertation title: Imprisoning the Proximate: Testing the Assumptions of Criminogenic Risk Assessment

Dissertation sponsor: Sharon Schwartz. Committee and readers: Bruce G. Link, Lisa M. Bates, Adam Reich, Jennifer Skeem 

2008 - 2010

MPH in Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

2000 - 2004

BA in Psychology, McGill University

Research Support

National Institute on Drug Abuse K01DA045955-01:

Adolescent substance use as determinant and consequence of the school-to-prison pipeline: Disentangling individual risk, social determinants, and group disparities

Impact Score: 17

Proposed start date: 09/01/2018




HIV, Substance Use, and Criminal Justice T32 Fellowship Program. National Institute on Drug Abuse grant T32-DA-37801. Nabila El-Bassel and Lisa Metsch, Principal Investigators. 


Psychiatric Epidemiology Training Program Predoctoral Fellow. National Institute of Mental Health grant 5-T32-MH-13043, Bruce G. Link, Principal Investigator. 

Invited Talks


Criminogenic or criminalized? Gendering, racialization, and the assumptions of criminogenic risk assessment. Seminar Series in Gender, Sexu- ality, and Health. Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University, December 6

How an epidemiologist encountered critical realism, and what critical realism might gain from debates about causal inference in epidemiology. Beyond Positivism: Theory, Methods, and Values in Social Science Conference. Quantitative Methods Plenary Panel. August 8-10, Montreal, QC

Moving beyond ”socioeconomic status” to social class processes in public health. Region 2 Public Health Training Center Webinar, August 1


Health Disparities and the Criminal Justice System. Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, October 21

Conference Presentations


Contemporary Class Relations as Structural Determinant of Mental Illness: Moving Beyond Stratification to Relational Social Processes. Society for Epidemiologic Research, June 21-23, Seattle, WA (Poster)

Testing Contemporary Class Relations as a Structural Determinant of Mental Illness: moving Beyond Stratification to Relational Social Processes. Population Association of America, April 27-29, Chicago, IL (Presentation)


Substance use over the lifecourse: When do peers and parents matter most? Society for Epidemiologic Research, Epidemiology Congress of the Americas, June 21-24, Miami, Florida (Presentation) 

Awards & Recognition


"Anxious? Depressed? You might be suffering from capitalism" one of the top 10 articles mentioned across Sociology of Health & Illness's news and social media streams


The William Farr Award in Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University 

Research positions


Collaborator, county-level incarceration and county-level health outcomes. Abdulrahman El-Sayed, Principal Investigator, Columbia University Systems Science Program, Rockefeller Foundation.


Collaborator, Trajectories of Substance Use and Comorbid Mental Illness. Magdalena Cerd, Principal Investigator, National Institute on Drug Abuse grant 5K01DA030449-05

2010- 2011

Associate Researcher, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Pub lic Health, County Health Rankings Project, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Bridget Catlin, PhD, MHSA, Co-Director


Senior Policy Analyst, Council of State Governments Justice Center, Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Project 


Adjunct professor

2015 - “Epidemiology,” Bard Prison Initiative, Bard College, Woodbourne Correctional Facility, fall


2015 - “Publications, Presentations, and Grants,” Columbia University, Department of Epidemiology, doctoral course, spring

2014 -  “Psychiatric Epidemiology Reading Seminar,” Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, fall

2013, 2014 - “Principals of Observational Epidemiology,” Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, spring

2012, 2013 - “Social Epidemiology,” Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, spring

2012, 2013 - “Masters’ Thesis I and II,” Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, fall and spring

2012 -  “Epidemiology of Drug and Alcohol Problems,” Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, fall

Service to professioN

Peer REvieweR

American Journal of Epidemiology, Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, Social Science & Medicine, Sociology of Health & Illness, Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, Society and Mental Health, JAMA Psychiatry, Criminal Behavior and Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, BMC Psychiatry, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, Family Medicine and Community Health


Society for Epidemiologic Research, American Psychopathological Association, American Sociological Association, American Public Health Association 

Service to department and university


Co-designer and co-facilitator, “Power, Privilege, and Allyship” training for faculty and teaching assistants on identifying and responding to microaggressions in the classroom.


Facilitator, required journal club for masters’ student certificate in social determinants of health

2011, 2012

Founding member, Columbia University Association for Public Health Action in Criminal Justice (now the Columbia University Association for Justice and Health)