Profile: Rodrick Wallace

Dr. Rodrick Wallace is an urban epidemiologist and activist who studies the effects of public policy, discrimination and economic decay on public health. Since the 1970s he has adapted ecosystem ecology and quantitative geography to problems in public health and public order. Rod lives and works in New York City.

Rodrick Wallace was born in Boston on September 14, 1941. He was raised in Natick, Massachusetts and attended Dartmouth College for two years before enrolling at Columbia University in New York City. He received his bachelor s degree at Columbia in Mathematics. Wallace attended graduate school in physics at UC Berkeley but took a hiatus from academic life when he became involved in social and political issues during the late 1960s. He became involved in campaigns around draft resistance, the ethics of science and weapons research, and the problems of automation in agriculture and factory farming. In the 1980s and since, Rod published his research on the political ecology of HIV/AIDS, particularly in New York City and Washington, DC.

In 1995 Rod received a prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Investigator Award in Public Health Policy Research. Under the award Wallace co-authored a book with Deborah Wallace summarizing the work they conducted on the service cuts and their health effects, A Plague on Your Houses: How New York City Was Burned Down and National Public Health Crumbled.

While Dr. Wallace continues his epidemiological research, in a series of books he has more recently turned to exploring the role and dynamics of cognition in various systems. He has applied the asymptotic limit theorems of information theory to characterize psychology and consciousness, the immune system, genetics and epigenetics, community-level decision-making, and at the subcellular level in diseases such as Alzheimer s and diabetes. To these areas of research Wallace added new consideration of the impacts of higher levels of social, political, and economic organization on the ways health and disease emerge. From this perspective, he discovered associations between the collapse of the American manufacturing economy and the obesity epidemic; power relations and a spectrum of chronic diseases; and building fires in New York City and the spread of AIDS/HIV, drugs, alcohol and homicide.

At present, A Wikipedia page is being prepared for Rod. In Mid-October, 2011, A festschrift was held for Rod at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, where he has been employed for close to a decade. If you are interested in receiving a pdf of the festschrift program, or contacting Rod, go to Deborah Wallace or Robert Wallace and find their e-mail addresses.

Updated: November 2011