Rajan, Sonali (sr2345)

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Sonali Rajan
Assistant Professor of Health Education
Health & Behavior Studies

530F Thndk

Office Hours:

Educational Background

Post-Doctoral Training, Behavioral Sciences - National Development and Research Institutes (2010 - 2012)
Doctor of Education, Health and Behavior Studies - Teachers College, Columbia University (2010)
Master of Science, Applied Statistics - Teachers College, Columbia University (2011)
Bachelor of Science, Biological and Environmental Engineering - Cornell University (2005)

Scholarly Interests

Dr. Sonali Rajan’s research is focused on identifying patterns of risk behaviors among adolescent youth; implementing and evaluating school-based health education programs; and identifying environmental-level characteristics that influence health behaviors among urban youth and communities.  In line with the approach of the “whole child”, her research embraces a comprehensive definition of “health”, recognizing that the synergy between multiple health issues and the surrounding environments together inform long-term outcomes.  For the past several years, Dr. Rajan has worked on the implementation and evaluation of health education and behavioral health initiatives aimed to mitigate youth engagement in high-risk behaviors and promote positive youth development.  She has an emerging line of research in the area of aggression and violence prevention in schools and is focused on supporting efforts aimed at reducing the presence of firearms in K-12 school settings.    

Selected Publications

*Denotes Teachers College student authors.

Rajan, S., Branas, C.C.,  Hargarten, S., & Allegrante, J. (2018). Funding for gun violence research is key to the health and safety of the nation. In press at American Journal of Public Health.

Rajan, S., Ruggles, K.V. Guarino, H., & Mateu-Gelabert, P. (2018). Heroin use and drug injection among youth also misusing prescription drugs. American Journal of Health Behavior, 42(1): 144 – 155.   

Rajan, S. Vasudevan, L.V., Ruggles, K.V.,Selecre Brown., & Verdeli, H. (2017). Commentary: Firearms in K-12 schools: What is the responsibility of the education community? Teachers College Record, published online: October 5, 2017 (22187).

Rajan, S., Roberts, K., Guerra, L.*, Pirsch, M.*, Morrell, E. (2017). Integrating health education into core curriculum middle school classrooms: ​​Success, challenges, and implications for urban youth. Journal of School Health, 87(12), 949-957.

Rajan, S., Weishaar, T.*, & Keller, B. (2016). Weight and skin color as predictors of vitamin D status: Results of an epidemiological investigation using nationally representative data. Public Health Nutrition,​ 20(10), 1857-1864.

​Weishaar, ​T.*, Rajan, S., & Keller, B. (2016). Probability of vitamin D deficiency by body weight and race-ethnicity. In press at Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

Pelcher, A.* & Rajan, S. (2016). After-school program implementation in urban environments: Increasing engagement among adolescent youth. Journal of School Health, [published online].

Rajan, S., Namdar, R., & Ruggles, K.V. (2015). Aggressive and violent behaviors in the school environment among a nationally representative sample of adolescent youth. Journal of School Health, 85(7), 446 - 457.

Aronson, I.D., Marsch, L.A., Rajan, S., Koken, J., & Bania, T.C. (2015). Computer-based video to increase HIV testing among emergency department patients who decline. AIDS and Behavior, 19(3), 516 - 522. 

Ruggles, K.V. & Rajan, S. (2014). Gun possession among American youth: A discovery-based approach to understand gun violence. PLOS ONE, 9(11): e111893.

Basch, C.E., Basch, C.B., Ruggles, K.V., & Rajan, S. (2014). Prevalence of sleep duration on an average school night among four nationally representative successive samples of American high school students (2007 - 2013). Preventing Chronic Disease, 11: 140383.

Weishaar, T.* & Rajan, S. (2014). Importance of body weight and skin color in determining appropriate vitamin D3 supplement doses for children and adolescents. Pediatric Research, 77(2), 370 - 375. 

Leonard, N.R., Rajan, S., Aregbesola, T., & Gwadz, M. (2014). HIV testing patterns among urban YMSM of color. Health Education and Behavior, 41(6), 673-681.

Aronson, I.D., Rajan, S., Marsch, L.A., & Bania, T.C. (2013).  Interactions between learning and HIV testing following a technology-based intervention. Health Education and Behavior, 41(3), 259 - 266.

Rajan, S.,  Basch, C.H., & Ethan, D. (2013). Observational data collection of environmental and behavioral characteristics: Strengths, limitations, and implications for health communication. Journal of Mass Communication and Journalism, 3:e141.

Rajan, S., Leonard, N.R. Fletcher, R., Casarijan, B., Casarijan, R., & Cisse, C. (2012). Ambulatory autonomic activity monitoring among at-risk adolescent mothers. Journal of Mobile Technology in Medicine, 1(3), 25 - 31.

Simmons, J., Rajan, S., & McMahon, J. (2012).  Retrospective accounts of injection initiation in intimate partnerships. International Journal of Drug Policy, 23(4), 303 - 311.

Rajan, S. & Basch, C.E. (2012). Fidelity of after-school program implementation targeting adolescent youth: Identifying successful curricular and programmatic characteristics. Journal of School Health, 82(4), 159-165.

Barker, M. & Rajan, S. (2009).  "Girls on Track" Curriculum.  Published by Girls on the Run, International; Copyright 2009 by Girls on the Run, International and Molly Barker. 


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