Eric S. Kim

Research Associate at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health


Dr. Eric S. Kim is a Research Associate at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. He is also a research affiliate at the Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness (housed at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health), and a research affiliate at the Program on Integrative Knowledge and Human Flourishing (housed at Harvard University’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science). He received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Michigan, where he also trained in statistics. He subsequently completed a National Research Service Award postdoctoral fellowship at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Department of Behavioral & Social Sciences and Department Epidemiology. There he trained in the Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology Program in Behavior, Environment, and Global Health.

In the United States, the number of people aged 65+ is projected to increase by nearly 50% in the next 15 years. Dr. Kim’s overarching goal is to be part of a team that substantially helps improve the physical health and psychological well-being of this rapidly growing population.

In pursuit of this goal, Dr. Kim’s research and intervention work encompasses five key areas.

  1. He investigates several facets of psychological well-being (e.g., sense of purpose in life, optimism, personal growth, satisfaction with aging, resilience) and how these facets influence various age-related health outcomes (e.g., cardiovascular events, cognitive decline, physical functioning, cause-specific mortality). 
  2. He studies the behavioral, biological, and neural mechanisms underlying the association between psychological well-being and better health.
  3. He also investigates how an individual’s psychological well-being interacts with the surrounding environment to influence behavioral and physical health outcomes; for example, at the meso-level (e.g., dyadic psychological dynamics in couples, neighborhood contexts, religion and spirituality, altruism/volunteering) and the macro-level (e.g., social cohesion, social and racial disparities, discrimination, and other important social structural factors).
  4. He partners with large non-profits and healthcare companies to conduct translational research projects that test scalable interventions which aim to improve psychological well-being, as well as their downstream outcomes (e.g., behavioral and physical health outcomes).
  5. He investigates novel ways in which psychosocial data can be measured in large cohort studies (e.g., social media and other digital technologies).
When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.
— Jacob A Riis

Dr. Kim has had the honor of working with incredible colleagues in a range of disciplines and has thus been able to publish 1st authored papers in a variety of outlets including: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, JAMA Psychiatry, Stroke, Circulation, Preventive Medicine, American Journal of Epidemiology, Psychosomatic Medicine, and Health Psychology. These studies have been featured in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, CBS News (Television Interview), BBC News (Radio Interview), NPR (Radio Interview), Time Magazine, and the Washington Post. His work has been supported by funding from the National Institute on Aging (NIA), National, Heart, Lung, Blood, Institute (NHLBI), and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Dr. Kim was recognized as one of Forbe's 30 Under 30 in Healthcare (Top 30 Innovators Under the Age of 30) and also one of the Top 30 Thinkers Under the Age of 30 by Pacific Standard. He is a recipient of the Horace H. Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship (awarded to Ph.D. candidates at the University of Michigan with the top dissertation proposals) and the Telluride Association Fellowship (a 5-year University-wide room and board fellowship widely referred by faculty and the school newspaper as the "genius house"). He is also the recipient of several organizational awards for both leadership and teamwork.

Dr. Kim volunteers by providing pro bono statistical consulting to non-profit organizations in his community - please contact him if you are interested. He currently serves as a subject matter specialist for AARP/Age UK's Global Council on Brain Health.

Please check or for additional information. You can also find his most up-to-date curriculum vitae/resume and publications there.