Kosuke Tamura, Ph.D.

Stadtman Investigator

Socio-Spatial Determinants of Health (SSDH) Laboratory


Building 3, Room 5W21
3 Center Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892



Research Topics

The role of neighborhood social and physical contexts has been recognized as a key social determinant of health in the U.S. Recent studies underscore that such contexts contribute to societal inequality and injustice that exacerbates disparities in cardiovascular-related disease risks and outcomes among certain populations, such as racial/ethnic groups as well as individuals having comorbidities (e.g., heart diseases, diabetes). To date, neighborhood research has emphasized investigating residential neighborhood social environments in relation to cardiovascular health risks. Such neighborhood factors encompass design and features of built (human-made) environments (e.g., mixture of land use, connectedness of streets, walkability), neighborhood socioeconomic position, and residential segregation, as well as neighborhood social cohesion, poverty, and crime/safety. Most neighborhood research has exclusively evaluated the area surrounding individuals’ home addresses. Focusing solely on residential neighborhood areas leads to a mismatch between exposure to neighborhood contexts and health outcomes, which is one shortcoming of neighborhood research. Dr. Tamura runs the Socio-Spatial Determinants of Health (SSDH) Laboratory in the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. His research focuses on the application of geospatial methodologies (geographic information systems, global positioning system) to address the limitations in neighborhood research. He examines associations between neighborhood exposures and cardiovascular health risks among minority groups to potentially explain race/ethnic health disparities in chronic diseases at the population level. Dr. Tamura also applies mobile health (mHealth) technologies to better understand real-time psychosocial factors (e.g., mood, stress) in relation to lifestyle behaviors via objective physical activity monitors, such as accelerometers. His research falls under these domains:

  1. Neighborhood Context
  2. Cardiovascular Health
  3. Health Disparities


Dr. Tamura is an Earl Stadtman Tenure-Track Investigator and an NIH Distinguished Scholar in the Division of Intramural Research at the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). He received his bachelor’s degree from Komazawa University, Tokyo, Japan, and a master’s degree from Ohio University, Athens, Ohio. He earned a master’s degree and doctoral degree from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. Prior to joining the NIMHD, Dr. Tamura completed the first phase of a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Population Health at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine, and then completed the second phase of the postdoctoral fellowship at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Dr. Tamura is a trained spatial and social epidemiologist with a special emphasis on neighborhoods and health from a geospatial perspective.

Selected Publications

  1. Tamura K, Orstad SL, Cromley EK, Neally SJ, Claudel SE, Andrews MR, Ceasar J, Sims M, Powell-Wiley TM. The Mediating role of perceived discrimination and stress in the associations between neighborhood social environment and TV Viewing among Jackson Heart Study participants. SSM Popul Health. 2021;13:100760.
  2. Tamura K, Langerman SD, Orstad SL, Neally SJ, Andrews MR, Ceasar JN, Sims M, Lee JE, Powell-Wiley TM. Physical activity-mediated associations between perceived neighborhood social environment and depressive symptoms among Jackson Heart Study participants. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2020;17(1):91.
  3. Tamura K, Curlin K, Neally SJ, Vijayakumar NP, Mitchell VM, Collins BS, Gutierrez-Huerta C, Troendle JF, Baumer Y, Osei Baah F, Turner BS, Gray V, Tirado BA, Ortiz-Chaparro E, Berrigan D, Mehta NN, Vaccarino V, Zenk SN, Powell-Wiley TM. Geospatial Analysis of Neighborhood Environmental Stress in Relation to Biological Markers of Cardiovascular Health and Health Behaviors in Women: Protocol for a Pilot Study. JMIR Res Protoc. 2021;10(7):e29191.
  4. Tamura K, Vijayakumar NP, Troendle JF, Curlin K, Neally SJ, Mitchell VM, Collins BS, Baumer Y, Gutierrez-Huerta CA, Islam R, Turner BS, Andrews MR, Ceasar JN, Claudel SE, Tippey KG, Giuliano S, McCoy R, Zahurak J, Lambert S, Moore PJ, Douglas-Brown M, Wallen GR, Dodge T, Powell-Wiley TM. Multilevel mobile health approach to improve cardiovascular health in resource-limited communities with Step It Up: a randomised controlled trial protocol targeting physical activity. BMJ Open. 2020;10(12):e040702.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Tuesday, August 29, 2023