Lauren Schmitz

Credentials: Assistant Professor


4430 Sewell Social Sciences Building
1180 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1211

Profile photo of Lauren Schmitz


Lauren Schmitz is an assistant professor of public affairs. She uses social, genomic, and epigenomic data to study how social inequalities shape disparities in health and socioeconomic attainment.

Much of her work in this area has used quasi-experimental research designs and polygenic scores to better understand the degree to which policy-relevant social exposures and genetic diversity contribute to health and educational attainment. Other ongoing research examines workplace determinants of racial health disparities in birth outcomes, and the long-term effects of exposure to economic recessions in early childhood on physical and financial well-being at older ages. In 2017, she received a K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) to examine social determinants of epigenetic processes related to aging and neurodegenerative disease. Her research has been supported by the NIA, the National Science Foundation, the Social Security Administration, the Russell Sage Foundation, and the March of Dimes.

Curriculum vitae (PDF)Pronouns: she/her⁠

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  • Ph.D., New School for Social Research, Economics
  • M.S., University of Michigan, Human Genetics
  • M.S., New School for Social Research, Economics
  • B.A., University of Colorado, Economics


Public affairs courses taught by Lauren Schmitz:

PA 281 Discovering What Works in Health Policy

PA 523 Policy, Privacy, and Personal Identity in the Postgenomics Era

PA 871 Public Program Evaluation

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UW–Madison affiliations