Social Network Interventions

Please note that this lecture will be held in-person. Light refreshments will be served! Those who are unable to attend in person will be able to tune in to a livestream of the lecture. Please RSVP to receive the livestream link.

About the lecture

Co-sponsored by the CUNY SPH Center for Systems and Community Design, this lecture featuring Dr. Nicholas Christakis will review three classes of interventions involving both offline and online networks that can help make the world better:

  1. interventions that rewire the connections between people
  2. interventions that manipulate social contagion, facilitating the flow of desirable properties within groups
  3. interventions that manipulate the position of people within network structures

Dr. Christakis will illustrate what can be done using a variety of experiments in settings as diverse as fostering cooperation in networked groups online, to fostering health behavior change in developing world villages, to facilitating the diffusion of innovation or coordination in groups. He will also focus on recent experiments with “hybrid systems” comprised of both humans and “dumb bots,” involving simple artificial intelligence (AI) agents interacting in small groups. By taking account of people’s structural embeddedness in social networks, and by understanding social influence, it is possible to intervene in social systems to enhance desirable population-level properties as diverse as health, wealth, cooperation, coordination, and learning.


About the speaker

Nicholas A. Christakis, MD, PhD, MPH, is a social scientist and physician at Yale University who conducts research in the fields of network science, biosocial science, and behavior genetics. He directs the Human Nature Lab and is the Co-Director of the Yale Institute for Network Science. He is the Sterling Professor of Social and Natural Science, appointed in the Departments of Sociology; Medicine; Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Biomedical Engineering; and the School of Management.

His lab tackles many topics, including how health and health behavior in one person can influence analogous outcomes in a person’s social network, the genetic and evolutionary determinants of social network structure, the biological implications of social interactions (including for the microbiome), and the impact of artificial intelligence on social processes.

Dr. Christakis is the author of over 200 articles and several books, including Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives (2009), Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society (2019), and Apollos’ Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live (2020).

Dr. Christakis received his BS from Yale in 1984, his MD from Harvard Medical School and his MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health in 1989, and his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1995. He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2006; the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2010; and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017.

Continuing Education Credits

Continuing Education credit for certified public health professionals (CPH-CE, 1 hour) may be earned by viewing this webinar. Visit the National Board of Public Health Examiners to learn more.



Nov 08 2023


4:00 pm - 5:30 pm


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Formats (virtual, in person, hybrid)



CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy


CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy
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