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Gregory Pavela, Ph.D.

Greg Pavela, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Health Behavior
227K Ryals Public Health Building
1665 University Boulevard
Birmingham, AL 35294,
Phone: (205)-975-9223
Full CV

My research examines the environmental determinants of health and obesity and emphasizes the importance of early life conditions to later health.

My research seeks to: 1) determine when and how environmental exposures “get under the skin” to affect human adiposity; 2) improve causal inferences about the effects of social status on adiposity; and 3) describe the reciprocal relationship between human physiology and the social environment.

My previous research indicated that the relationship between childhood conditions and adult BMI is not explained by adult neighborhood socioeconomic status. Although the incorporation of neighborhood socioeconomic status is an advancement over previous life-course research, it remained limited by a common methodological problem: individuals are not randomly assigned to neighborhoods. As a former NIH post-doctoral research fellow in the NORC and in collaboration with others, I helped to describe this problem in general terms and developed a partial solution: “packet randomized experiments.” The non-random assignment of adult social status poses another challenge to sociological research; therefore in collaboration with others, I developed a protocol to randomly assign social status to participants and measure its effects on food consumption, and data collection is ongoing (as of September 2015).


  1. 2019. Hong Y-R, Cardel M, Suk R, Vaughn IA, Deshmukh AA, Fisher CL, Pavela G, Sonawane K. Teach-Back Experience and Hospitalization Risk Among Patients with Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions: a Matched Cohort Study. Journal of General Internal Medicine.
  2. 2019. Young-Rock Hong, G. Pavela, A. M. Lee, V. Williamson, and M. Cardel. “Satisfaction with Health Care Among individuals with Overweight and Obesity: A Nationally Representative Cross-Sectional Study.” Journal of General Internal Medicine,  
  3. 2019. G. Pavela, DB Allison, M. Cardel. “A sweeping highlight of the literature examining social status, eating behavior, and obesity.” Appetite. 132 249-256.
  4. 2018. Wijayatunga, N.N., B. Ironuma, J.A. Dawson…G. Pavela…E.J. Dhurandhar.
    Subjective social status is associated with compensation for large meals—A prospective pilot study. Appetite. 132 249-256.
  5. 2018. G. Pavela, Y. Kim, S.J. Salvy. “Additive effects of obesity and loneliness on C-reactive protein.” PLoS One 13(11) e0206092.
  6. 2018. Cardel, M., S. Tong, G. Pavela, E. Dhurandhar, D. Miller, R. Boles, and M. Haemer. “Youth Subjective Social Status (SSS) is Associated with Parent SSS, Income, and Food Insecurity but not Weight Loss Among Low-Income Hispanic Youth.” Obesity (Silver Spring) 26, 1923-1930.
  7. 2018. Juarez, LD, JS Gonzalez, AA Agne, A Kulczycki, G. Pavela, A. Carson, JP Shelley, Al Cherrington. “Diabetes Risk Scores for Hispanics Living in the United States: A Systematic Review.” Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice. 142 120-129.
  8. 2018. E.J. Dhurandhar, G. Pavela, K.A. Kaiser, G.R. Dutton, K.R. Fontaine, D. Kim, J. Shikany, D Allison, and C Lewis. “Body Mass Index and Subjective Social Status: The Coronary Artery Development in Young Adults Study.” Obesity 26(2), 426-431.
  9. 2018. Archer, E, G. Pavela, S. McDonald, C.J. Lavie, JO Hill. “Cell-Specific ‘Competition for Calories’ Drives Asymmetric Nutrient-Energy Partitioning, Obesity, and Metabolic Diseases in Human and Non-Human Animals.” Frontiers in Physiology. 9, 1053.
  10. 2018. Jameson D. Voss, G. Pavela, and Fatima Cody Stanford. “Obesity as a Threat to National Security: The Need for Precision Engagement.” International Journal of Obesity. doi: 10.1038/s41366-018-0060-y
  11. 2018. Allison, D., P. Li, G. Pavela, A.W. Brown, B. George, K.R. Fontaine..D. Rubin, D.B. Allison. “Randomization to Randomization Probability: Estimating Treatment Effects Under Actual Conditions of Use. Psychological Methods 23, 337-350.
  12. 2017. Dhurandhar, E, G. Pavela, K. Kaiser, G. Dutton, K. Fontaine, D. Kim, J. Shikaney, D.B. Allison, C. Lewis. “Body Mass Index and Subjective Social Status: The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study. Obesity (Silver Spring) 26, 426-431.
  13. 2017. Ejima, K. G. Pavela, P.Li, and D.B. Allison. “Flexibly Testing for Differences in Distributions beyond Mean Differences: The Education-BMI Association as an Example.” International Journal of Obesity. 42(4) 930-933.
  14. 2017. Hendricks, P., M.S. Crawford, K.L. Cropsey, H. Copes, N. Sweat, Z. Walsh, and G. Pavela, “The relationships of classic psychedelic use with criminal behavior in the United States adult population.” Journal of Psychopharmacology. 32(1) 37-48.
  15. 2017. Pavela, G., D. Lewis, J.A. Dawson, M. Cardel, D.B. Allison. “Social Status and Energy Intake: a Randomized Controlled Experiment. Clinical Obesity 7, 316-322.
  16. 2017. Pavela, G. "Is Childhood Socoioeconomic Status Independently Associated with Adult BMI After Accounting for Adult and Neighborhood Socioeconomic Status?" PLoS ONE, 12, e0168481.
  17. 2017. Cardel, Michelle, G. Pavela, Emily Dhurandhar, and David B Allison. “Future research directions for the insurance hypothesis regarding food insecurity and obesity”. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 40, E110. doi:10.1017/S0140525X16001357
  18. 2016. Cardel, Michelle, S. Johnson, J. Beck, E. Dhurandhar, A. Dulin, Keita, A. Tomczik, G. Pavela, T. Huo, D. Janicke, K. Muller, P. Piff, J. Peters, J. Hill, and D.B. Allison. The Effects of Experimentally Manipulated Social Eating Behavior: A Randomized, Crossover Pilot Study. Physiology and Behavior. 162, 93-101.
  19. 2016. David A. Fields, Camille Schneider, and G. Pavela. “ A narrative review of the associations between six bioactive components in breast milk and infant adiposity. Obesity, 24, 1213-1221.
  20. 2016. Pavela, G., Lewis, D. W., Locher, J., & Allison, D. B. “Socioeconomic Status, Risk of Obesity, and the Importance of Albert J. Stunkard.” Current Obesity Reports, 5(1), 132-139.
  21. 2016. Archer, E, D.M. Thomas, S.M. McDonald, G. Pavela, C.J. Lavie, J.O. Hill, S.N. Blair.  “The Validity of US Nutritional Surveillance: USDA Loss-Adjusted Food Availability Data  Series 1971-2010.” Current Problems in Cardiology. 41, 268-292.
  22. 2015. Archer, E, G. Pavela, C. Lavie, and S.Blair, “The Inadmissibility of ‘What We Eat In America’ (WWEIA) and NHANES Dietary Data in Nutrition & Obesity Research and the Scientific Formulation of National Dietary Guidelines. Mayo Clinical Proceedings. 41, 268-292.
  23. 2015. Pavela, G. and Latham, K. “Childhood Conditions and Comorbid Accumulation among Older Americans.” The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences. 71, 889-90.
  24. 2015. Pavela, G. “Functional Status and Social Contact Among Older Adults.” Research on Aging. 37, 815-836 (2015).
  25. 2015. Griffin, L. N., Pavela, G., & Arroyo, J. (2015). Tourism and the treadmill of production: a cross-national analysis. Environmental Sociology, 1(2), 127-138.
  26. 2015. Pavela, G., Wiener, H., Fontaine, K. R., Fields, D. A., Voss, J. D., & Allison, D. B. “Packet Randomized Experiments for Eliminating Classes of Confounders.”
    European Journal of Clinical Investigation. 45, 45-55.
  27. 2014. Latham, K., Clarke, P. J., & Pavela, G. “Social Relationships, Gender, and Recovery From Mobility Limitation Among Older Americans.” The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences. 70, 769-781.
  28. 2013. Perdue, R. T., & Pavela, G. “Addictive Economies and Coal Dependency: Methods of Extraction and Socioeconomic Outcomes in West Virginia, 1997-2009.” Organization & Environment, 25(4), 368-384.
  29. 2011. Pavela, G., & Pavela, G. The Ethical and Educational Imperative of Due Process. Journal of College and University Law, 38