Rajan, Sonali (sr2345)

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Sonali Rajan
Associate Professor of Health Education
Health & Behavior Studies

530F Thndk

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 is Associate Professor of Health Education in the Department of Health and Behavior Studies at Teachers College, Columbia University. She also holds a secondary faculty appointment in the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. Rajan is a school violence prevention expert, who studies gun violence and adverse childhood experiences. She holds faculty affiliations with the CDC-funded Columbia Center for Injury Science and Prevention, the newly-formed Columbia Scientific Union for the Reduction of Gun Violence, and the Institute for Urban and Minority Education. She currently co-produces Re(Search) for Solutions, a podcast hosted by the Media and Social Change Lab at Teachers College devoted to amplifying creative and evidence-based solutions to the persistence of gun violence. For nearly 15 years, Dr. Rajan has collaborated closely with the non-profit organization Girls on the Run and currently serves on their National Board of Directors. And for the past decade, she 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, primarily in NYC public schools, but also in other hospital and community-based settings. Selected publications are listed below.

Selected Publications

*Denotes Teachers College student authors

Reeping, P.M., Jacoby, S., Rajan, S., & Branas, C.C. (2020). Rapid response to mass shootings: A review. Criminology and Public Policy, 19(1), 295-315.

Rajan, S., Branas, C., Myers, D.*, & Agrawal, N. (2019). Youth exposure to violence involving a gun: Evidence for adverse childhood experience classification. Journal of Behavioral Medicine (Special Issue), 42(4), 646-657.

Rajan, S., Jahromi, L., Bravo, D., Umaña-Taylor, A., & Updegraff, K. (2019). Maternal self-efficacy serves as a protective function for children’s BMI in the context of teenage motherhood. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 40(8), 633-641.

Formica, M., Rajan, S., & Simons, N. (2019). Healthcare indicators and firearm homicide: an ecologic study. Journal of Aggression, Conflict, and Peace Research, 11(2).

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


Challenging Trump on Social Distancing and Suicide

In the Daily News, TC faculty and their Columbia colleagues refute the president’s “mistaken message”