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Sociologist Shannon Monnat to Lead Maxwell’s Center for Policy Research
A demographer and sociologist whose work focuses on population health will serve as the next director of the Center for Policy Research (CPR), the oldest interdisciplinary social science research program at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.
Shannon Monnat, Lerner Chair for Public Health Promotion and professor of sociology, will begin the position on July 1. She currently serves as the director of the Maxwell School’s Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion and co-directs the Policy, Place, and Population Health Lab.
“Professor Monnat is a nationally recognized sociologist and interdisciplinary policy scholar who brings energy and intellectual leadership to the Maxwell School and Syracuse University. Her timely and highly cited scholarship informs and benefits public policy and the public good. Her previous leadership as director of the Lerner Center resulted in significant achievements in research, extramural funding, programming and student engagement. She is well-qualified to lead CPR,” says Maxwell Dean David M. Van Slyke.
Monnat studies demographic and geographic trends and disparities in health and mortality, with an interest in rural health and health disparities. One area of her research has focused on the factors that explain why drug overdose rates are higher in some places in the U.S. than others.
More recently, her research has examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. She is the principal investigator (PI) for a five-year research project that will examine the impacts of the state’s mitigation policies, such as stay-at-home orders and extended unemployment benefits, on adult psychological health, drug overdose and suicide.
The COVID research project is funded with $1.95 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). All told, Monnat has been the PI or co-investigator for over $10 million in external research funding from the NIH as well as the National Institute of Justice, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Institute for New Economic Thinking.
Monnat serves as the PI for the National Wellbeing Survey which collects information on physical, mental and psychosocial well-being of working-age adults in the U.S. She has authored or co-authored nearly 60 peer-reviewed journal articles and over 50 book chapters and research briefs. In March 2022, she served as a panelist for a Congressional briefing on demographic trends in rural America. She also served on a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine consensus committee that produced a report in 2021 on rising working-age mortality rates in the U.S.
Monnat joined Maxwell in 2017. Since then, she has served as a senior research associate for CPR as well as an affiliate to the Center for Aging and Policy Studies and the Aging Studies Institute.
She succeeds Leonard Lopoo, Paul Volcker Chair in Behavioral Economics and professor of public administration and international affairs, as director of CPR.
“CPR is home to some of the top scholars in the country who conduct policy-relevant research on the most pressing social, economic, health and environmental issues of our time,” Monnat says.
“I am excited to build on the strong foundation left by the current director, Len Lopoo, to support our faculty and students in conducting rigorous policy-relevant research and disseminating knowledge that enables leaders to develop effective solutions to these critical challenges.”
Established in 1994, CPR includes faculty from across Maxwell—mostly economics, public administration and sociology—to research and offer students a wealth of opportunity for discussions while providing advice on their own research, along with the possibility of research assistantships. CPR also provides a base for visiting scholars from across the country and abroad. In addition to their teaching responsibilities, faculty typically work on various research related to public policy involving graduate students as assistants. Faculty also consult regularly with government agencies and other institutions concerned with the issues they are studying.