Alisa K. Lincoln. PhD, MPH

Professor; Director, Institute for Health Equity and Social Justice Research; Associate Dean of Research, College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Department of Health Sciences, Faculty, Institute for Health Equity and Social Justice Research

Office: 314 INV


Phone: 617.373.3485

View Résumé/CV

Alisa K. Lincoln is an Inter-disciplinary Professor of Sociology and Health Sciences and the Director of the Institute for Health Equity and Social Justice Research at Northeastern University. Professor Lincoln’s research examines the way that social exclusion and marginalization both contributes to and is a consequence of poor health, and specifically mental health. She examines questions related to social factors and their relationships with mental health and mental health services focusing on how social disadvantage impacts people’s mental health and their experiences and outcome in mental health care.  Her work has examined public mental health services, racial and ethnic disparities and health, and literacy and health. Her current work includes: 1) examining the meaning and impact of literacy (reading, numeracy and aural) in the lives of people with serious mental illness and the ways in which limited literacy serves as a barrier to recovery and participation both in the US and Australia; 2) examining the ways discrimination, neighborhood social capital and civic participation relate to mental health status and vulnerability to radicalization among Somali young adults in four cities in the US and Canada; 3) continuing to examine the role of housing and housing instability in the health of transition-aged youth with serious mental illness; 4)  examining disparities in access to and outcomes of mental health care; and 5) developing public evaluation partnerships and research projects. She continues to develop innovative models by which we can increase the inclusion of communities and stakeholders in the process of research and has led some of the first federally funded studies exploring the use of Community Based Participatory Action Research (CBPR) in mental health care. Her multiple research teams also prioritize the inclusion of students through a shared mentorship approach including undergraduates, master’s level, doctoral level and post-doctoral students. She has over 20 years of continuous research funding from sources including NIMH, NIMHD, SAMHSA, and NIJ. Finally, she is the Chair of the Mental Health Section of the American Sociological Association, and an Elected Fellow in the New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) and the American Psycho-Pathological Association (APPA).



  • MPH, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health
  • PhD, Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University


Research Interests:

  • Public mental health; health disparities; CBPR; marginalization, exclusion and health; stigma


Selected Honors & Awards:

  • 2016/2017 Senior Fellow, Humanities Center, Northeastern University; Theme: Inclusions/Exclusions
  • 2015/2016 Research Leadership Development Initiative (ReDI), Northeastern University
  • 2015 – Elected Fellow, New York Academy of Medicine
  • 2015 – Elected Fellow, American Psychopathological Association


Selected Recent Publications:

  • Ellis, B. H., Lincoln, A. K., Abdi, S. M., Nimmons, E. A., Lakin, P. R., Issa, O., & Decker, S. H. (in-press). “We All Have Stories”: Black Muslim Immigrants’ Experience with the Police.Race and Justice.
  • Alegria, M., Nakash, O., Johnson, K., Ault-Brutus, A., Carson, N., Fillbrunn, N., Cheng, A., Harris, T., Polo, A., Lincoln, A. K., Freeman, E., Bostford, B.,  Rosenbaum, M.,  Epelbaum, C., LaRoche, M., Okpokwasili – Johnson, E., Carrasco, M., Shrout, P. (in-press). Effectiveness of the DECIDE Interventions in Patient-Provider Shared-Decision Making and Quality of Care. JAMA Psychiatry.
  • Lincoln, A. K., *Adams, W., *Eyllon, M., *Garverich, S., Prener, C., Griffith, J., Paasche-Orlow, M., Hopper, K. (2017). The Double-Stigma of Limited Literacy and Mental Illness: examining barriers to recovery and participation among public mental health service users. Society and Mental Health. 7 (3), 121-141
  • Cook, B.L., Zuvekas, S.H., Chen, J., Progavac, A., Lincoln, A.K. (2017) Assessing the Individual, Neighborhood, and Policy Predictors of Disparities in Mental Health Care. Medical Care Research and Review.  74 (4), 404-430.
  • Lincoln, A.K., Wallace, L.*, Kaminski, M.S.*, Lindeman, K., Aulier, L., Delman, J. (2016). Understanding The Frequent Use Of Psychiatric Emergency Services: A Community-Based Participatory Research Approach. Community Mental Health Journal. 52 (8), 1015-1021.


Selected Recent Projects:

  • Northeastern University Public Evaluation Lab (NU-PEL) – founding faculty co-director
  • Exploring Pathways Among Discrimination and Health Among Somali Young Adults

Source: NIMHD

Role: MPI

Total Funding Requested: $467,127

September 2017 – April 2019

The major goals of this project are to build upon a long-standing CBPR partnership and ongoing Somali Youth Risk and Resilience Study (SYRSS) to expand our inquiry to examine experiences of discrimination, risk and resilience factors, and their relationship to mental health outcomes. Results of this study will inform a line of research aimed at preventing negative health consequences associated with discrimination and reducing disparities in health and mental health outcomes experienced by Somali young adults.


  • Literacy Education for Improving Engagement in Treatment and Community Inclusion for People with Serious Mental Illness

Source: BUMC


Total Funding: $15,000

September 2018 – August 2019

In this proposal we will develop and pilot test an intervention to improve reading literacy in order to improve a range of health outcomes and to minimize disparities experienced by this population – Boston Medical Center site


  • Start Strong Boston: Readiness and Feasibility of a Promising Afterschool Urban Teen Dating Violence Intervention

Source: National Institutes of Health, Eunice Shriver National Institute of Child Health       and Human Development (NIH / NICHD R21)

Role: Co-I

Total Funding requested: $395,491

March 2016 – February 2019

This proposal is a collaboration between the IUHRP and the BPHC to (1) develop and refine the Start Strong Boston intervention and evaluate its cultural competence among diverse urban youth; (2) assess feasibility and acceptability of a future longitudinal, cluster-randomized trial of Start Strong’s efficacy; and (3) assess feasibility of participatory methods to involve teens as Peer Leader facilitators and as Peer Researchers.


  • Developing Firearm Suicide Prevention Programs Tailored to Gun Owner Population Subgroups

Source: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)

Role: Co-PI

Total Funding requested: $92,045

October 2018 – August 2019

The major goal of this project is identify subgroups of gun owners in the United States that are distinguished by their ownership of different types and quantities of firearms (hand guns, shotguns, rifles), their reasons for owning firearms, their attitudes toward gun regulation/practices/norms, their suicide risk factors, and suicide ideation, planning or attempts.


Selected Public Service:

  • Chair, Section on the Sociology of Mental Health, American Sociological Association