Diana Hernandez

Associate Professor
Organization: Columbia University

Diana Hernandez, PhD is a tenured Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. Hernandez conducts research at the intersection of energy, equity, housing, and health. A sociologist by training, her work focuses on the social and environmental determinants of health and examines the impacts of policy and place-based interventions on the health and well-being of socioeconomically disadvantaged populations. 

An innovator in the field, Dr. Hernandez has operationalized and conducted foundational research on the concept of 'energy insecurity' which reflects the inability to adequately meet household energy needs. Her path breaking work on energy insecurity has explored the multiple dimensions of this phenomenon identifying sociodemographic disparities, adverse consequences and promising interventions toward energy justice. A highly accomplished scholar, Dr. Hernandez has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles and her high-impact work has appeared in leading academic journals including the American Journal of Public Health, Energy Policy, Social Science and Medicine, and Health Affairs. Having secured over $7.5 million dollars of external funding in the past decade, her work has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the JPB Foundation, among others. In the 2021-2022 academic year, Professor Hernandez will be a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation during which time she will write a book about energy insecurity in the United States. 

  • This study develops a national picture of home energy policies and programs, examines differences in receipt for three energy service cases, and explores barriers for households of color. Along with presenting the first cross-case comparison in the scholarly field, the research team hopes to inform discussions of improvements in energy providers' programming and prompt conversations around energy as another source of racial disparity.