Koichiro Shiba, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor
Boston University School of Public Health

PhD, Harvard School of Public Health
MPH, University of Tokyo
BA, University of Tokyo

My overarching research goal is using rigorous causal inference thinking and methods to improve evidence on social determinants of health and health disparities. Rather than merely applying complex methods, my motto is to harness their full potential by identifying and applying the methods to the unique challenges in social epidemiologic studies where they truly shine.

I lead a multitude of projects spanning a broad spectrum of methodological issues, including but not limited to: analyzing time-varying treatments to derive different, policy-relevant insights, and identifying when conventional single-point exposure analysis may be misleading; the use of machine learning methods for robust effect estimation and assessing high-dimensional heterogeneous exposure effects, capturing the intersectionality; the consideration of causal estimands and selection bias in trauma studies with sample attrition; novel approaches to characterize and operationalize neighborhood characteristics; and a novel causal inference method to simulate the impacts of realistic hypothetical interventions on health disparities.

In addition to these methodological focuses, I have worked on several key substantive areas that address urgent public health concerns. First, I study the effects of stressful experiences and traumatic events (such as climate change, disasters, child adversity, pandemics, and global financial crises) on population health, with a particular focus on older adult populations. Second, I investigate the roles of social relationships, social engagement (e.g., volunteering), and related exposures such as loneliness and social isolation) in promoting the health of older adults and fostering resilience. I have also explored how internet-based social interactions can influence population health. Third, I study the impacts of positive psychological factors (for instance, purpose in life, Ikigai) on health. My research further delves into inequalities in and determinants of multidimensional well-being (i.e., human flourishing), which extends beyond traditional physical and mental health outcomes and include other key domains of human well-being such as purpose in life and social well-being. In essence, my objective for this line of research is to study health in its fullest sense, defined by the World Health Organization as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility

Dr. Shiba's research directly concerns addressing inequalities. As a social epidemiologist, Dr. Shiba studies social determinants of health (SDH). Although examining the population average impact of SDH as an upstream determinant of health is valuable on its own for disease prevention at the population level and promoting public health, his SDH research has also considered a) the distributions of the SDHs within and across populations and b) how the effects of the SDHs can be heterogeneous. Dr. Shiba also leveraged his expertise in measuring health disparity and applied it to the science of well-being, where the focus of research has been primarily on assessing population averages.

Dr. Shiba values diversity and inclusion in research as keys to general academic excellence because investigators’ identities (e.g., nationality, gender, race/ethnicity) and educational backgrounds (e.g., clinicians, social scientists, statistician) influence many aspects of research such as research questions and hypotheses, methodology, and interpretation of data.

Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.

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  1. Okuzono SS, Slopen N, Shiba K, Yazawa A, Kondo K, Kawachi I. Do adverse childhood experiences modify the association between disaster-related trauma and cognitive disability? Am J Epidemiol. 2023 Jul 11. PMID: 37442811
  2. Yazawa A, Shiba K, Okuzono SS, Hikichi H, Kawachi I. Bidirectional associations between post-traumatic stress symptoms and sleep quality among older survivors of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. Sleep. 2023 Jun 13; 46(6). PMID: 37029901; PMCID: PMC10465083; DOI: 10.1093/sleep/zsad106;
  3. Nakagomi A, Tsuji T, Saito M, Ide K, Kondo K, Shiba K. Social isolation and subsequent health and well-being in older adults: A longitudinal outcome-wide analysis. Soc Sci Med. 2023 Jun; 327:115937. PMID: 37167920
  4. Okuzono SS, Wilkinson R, Shiba K, Yazawa A, VanderWeele T, Slopen N. Residential instability during adolescence and health and wellbeing in adulthood: A longitudinal outcome-wide study. Health Place. 2023 Mar; 80:102991. PMID: 36857896
  5. Shiba K, Daoud A, Hikichi H, Yazawa A, Aida J, Kondo K, Kawachi I. Uncovering Heterogeneous Associations Between Disaster-Related Trauma and Subsequent Functional Limitations: A Machine-Learning Approach. Am J Epidemiol. 2023 Feb 01; 192(2):217-229. PMID: 36255224; PMCID: PMC10308508; DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwac187;
  6. Hirose N, Chen S, Shiba K, Patil CL, Rahman MM, Shimpuku Y. Universal health coverage of five essential health services in mothers before and after the Haiti 2010 earthquake: a retrospective cohort study using difference-in-difference. BMC Health Serv Res. 2022 Dec 10; 22(1):1505. PMID: 36496431; PMCID: PMC9737961; DOI: 10.1186/s12913-022-08896-1;
  7. Inoue K, Haseda M, Shiba K, Tsuji T, Kondo K, Kondo N. Social Isolation and Depressive Symptoms Among Older Adults: A Multiple Bias Analysis Using a Longitudinal Study in Japan. Ann Epidemiol. 2023 Jan; 77:110-118. PMID: 36417983; DOI: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2022.11.001;
  8. Shiba K, Kubzansky LD, Williams DR, VanderWeele TJ, Kim ES. Purpose in life and 8-year mortality by gender and race/ethnicity among older adults in the U.S. Prev Med. 2022 Nov; 164:107310. PMID: 36283485; DOI: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2022.107310;
  9. Nagai M, Hikichi H, Shiba K, Kondo K, Kawachi I, Aida J. Long-Term Trend in the Association Between Disaster Damage and Happiness Before and After the Great East Japan Earthquake. Int J Public Health. 2022; 67:1604901. PMID: 36188751; PMCID: PMC9515324; DOI: 10.3389/ijph.2022.1604901;
  10. Shiba K, Hikichi H, Okuzono SS, VanderWeele TJ, Arcaya M, Daoud A, Cowden RG, Yazawa A, Zhu DT, Aida J, Kondo K, Kawachi I. Long-Term Associations between Disaster-Related Home Loss and Health and Well-Being of Older Survivors: Nine Years after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. Environ Health Perspect. 2022 Jul; 130(7):77001. PMID: 35776697; PMCID: PMC9249145; DOI: 10.1289/EHP10903;
Showing 10 of 44 results. Show More

This graph shows the total number of publications by year, by first, middle/unknown, or last author.

Bar chart showing 44 publications over 9 distinct years, with a maximum of 17 publications in 2022


2019 Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: Teaching Assistant Award
2015 Japan Epidemiological Association: Best Presentation
2015 University of Tokyo: Graduate Study Scholarship
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715 Albany St
Boston MA 02118
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