Rajan, Sonali (sr2345)

Skip to content Skip to main navigation
Faculty Banner
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., Myers, D.*, & Agrawal, N. (in press). Youth exposure to violence involving a gun: Evidence for adverse childhood experience classification. Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

Rajan, S., Jahromi, L., Bravo, D., Umaña-Taylor, A., & Updegraff, K. (in press). Maternal self-efficacy serves as a protective function for children’s BMI in the context of teenage motherhood. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

Formica, M., Rajan, S., & Simons, N. (in press). Healthcare indicators and firearm homicide: an ecologic study. Journal of Aggression, Conflict, and Peace Research.

Rajan, S. & Branas, C.C. (2018). Arming schoolteachers: What do we know? Where do we go from here? American Journal of Public Health, 108(7), 860-862.

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. American Journal of Public Health, 108(2), 194-195.

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.

Nelson, H*. & Rajan, S. (2018). Barriers, facilitators, and challenges to successful school-based screenings. Health Behavior and Policy Review, 5(4), 57-71.

Guerra, L.*, Rajan, S., & Roberts, K. (2018). The implementation of mental health policies and practices in schools: An examination of school- and state-factors. In press at Journal of School Health.

Leonard, N., Casarijan, B., Fletcher, R.R., Cisse, C.P., Sherpa, D., Keleman, A., Rajan, S., Salaam, R., Cleland, C., Gwadz, M. (2018). Mobile application of theoretically-based emotion regulation strategies using a wearable sensor: Feasibility and usability among homeless adolescent mothers. In press at Journal of Medical Internet Research.

Rajan, S. Vasudevan, L.V., Ruggles, K.V., Brown, B., & Verdeli, H. (2017). 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: Successes, 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.

Simmons, J., Rajan, S., Elliot, L., & Goldsamt, L. (2016). Implementation of online opioid overdose prevention, recognition, and response trainings for professional first responders: Year 1 survey results. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 169, 1-4. 

Pelcher, A*. & Rajan, S. (2016). After-school program implementation in urban environments: Increasing engagement among adolescent youth. Journal of School Health, 86(8), 585-594.

Weishaar, T*. Rajan, S., & Keller, B. (2016). Probability of vitamin D deficiency by body weight and race-ethnicity. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 29(2), 226 – 232.

Aronson, I., Cleland, C., Perlman, D., Rajan S., Sun, W., Ferraris, C., Mayer, J., Ferris, D., & Bania, T. (2016).  Mobile screening to identify and follow-up with high risk, HIV negative youth. Journal of Mobile Technology in Medicine, 4(3), 5(1), 9-18.

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.

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).  How patient interactions with a computer-based video intervention affect decisions to test for HIV. Health Education and Behavior, 41(3), 259-266.

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.

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.


Related Articles


Repealing the Dickey Amendment

Gun violence will continue without federally funded research, argue TC’s Rajan and Allegrante