Kara Rudolph

Kara Rudolph


I am an Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine at UC Davis.

My current work, funded by a NIDA K99/R00, is developing methods to transport mediation effects from one population to another and apply them to understand how school characteristics mediate relationships between neighborhood factors and adolescent drug use.

I graduated with a PhD (Epidemiology) and MHS (Biostatistics) from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2014. Here is my CV. Code from some of my research is on Github.

Research Interests

My research interests are in applying causal inference methods to studying social and contextual influences on mental health and substance use in disadvantaged, urban areas of the United States. My thesis work examined effect heterogeneity in the association between living in a disadvantaged neighborhood and adolescent anxiety and depression. I was advised by Tom Glass and Liz Stuart .

I'm currently working with:

  • Mark van der Laan in developing targeted minimum loss-based estimators for transporting encouragement design interventions across sites estimating mediation effects, and with
  • Jen Ahern and Maria Glymour applying these estimators to understanding site variability in policy and program effects.

I've also worked closely with Michael Rosenblum and Ivàn Dìaz on evaluating simple estimators of an average treatment effect in the presence of effect heterogeneity, a double selection mechanism, and treatment bias; Kathleen Merikangas during my predoctoral fellowship at NIMH; and with Justin Lessler, Derek Cummings, and the Johns Hopkins ID dynamics group on estimating the incubation periods of various infectious diseases.

Previously, I worked at Altarum Institute in Washington, DC, evaluating and providing technical assistance to local, state, and federal maternal and child health programs, such as WIC, SNAP, and other early childhood initiatives. I also supported viral vaccine manufacturing at Merck. I received an MPH from Johns Hopkins in 2008 and a BS in biochemistry from the University of Michigan in 2005.



Spikes in community violence increase deaths and hospital visits due to stress-responsive diseases. Epidemiology. 2018; In press. Ahern J, Matthay EC, Goin DE, Farkas K, Rudolph KE
Prevalence of mental disorder and service use by immigrant generation and race/ethnicity among U.S. adolescents. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2018; In press. Georgiades K, Paksarian D, Rudolph KE, Merikangas KR

Mediation of neighborhood effects on adolescent substance use by the school and peer environments in a large-scale housing voucher experiment. Epidemiology. 2017; In press. Rudolph KE, Sofrygin O, Schmidt NM, Crowder R, Glymour MM, Ahern J, Osypuk, TL.
Repeal of Comprehensive Background Check Policies and Firearm Homicide. Epidemiology. 2017; In Press. Kagawa RMC, Castillo-Carniglia A, Vernick JS, Webster D, Shev A, Crifasi C, Rudolph KE, Cerda M, Wintemute GJ
Military service, childhood socioeconomic status, and late life lung function: Korean War era military service associated with smaller disparities. Military Medicine. 2017; In Press. Vable AM, Kiang MV, Basu S, Rudolph KE, Kawachi I, Subramanian SV, Glymour MM.

Optimizing matching and analysis combinations for estimating causal effects. Sci Rep. 2016; 6: 23222. Colson KE, Rudolph KE, Zimmerman SC, Goin DE, Stuart EA, van der Laan, MJ, Ahern J.


Providing home visiting to high-risk pregnant and postpartum families: the development and evaluation of the MOMobile program. Zero to Three. 2014; 35(2): 40-8. Hadley B, Rudolph KE, Mogul M, Perry DF.

Incubation periods of viral gastroenteritis: a systematic review. BMC Infect Dis. 2013; 13(1): 446. Lee RM, Lessler J, Lee RA, Rudolph KE, Reich NG, Perl TM, Cummings DAT.

Under Review

Predictors of community firearm violence Goin DE, Rudolph KE, Ahern J
The association between uneven sex ratios andviolence: Evidence From 6 Asian Countries Diamond-Smith NA and Rudolph KE
Longitudinal associations be- tween having an adult child migrant and depressive symptoms among older adults in the Mexican Health and Aging Study Torres JM, Rudolph KE, Sofrygin O, Glymour MM, Wong R
Firearm involvement in violent victimization and mental health. Kagawa RMC, Cerda M, Rudolph KE, Pear VA, Keyes KM, Wintemute GJ


Department of Epidemiology

  • Fundamentals of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (2011-2013)
  • Methodologic Challenges in Epidemiologic Research (2012)

Department of Biostatistics

  • Spatial Analysis and GIS I & II