Associate Professor & Graduate Advisor
Phone: (619) 594-5459
Email: [email protected]
Professor Marcelli is a demographer with a PhD in Political Economy and Public Policy (USC) and postdoctoral training in substance abuse (UCLA) and social epidemiology (Harvard). He currently teaches courses in quantitative research methods, immigration and population health at SDSU. His research focuses on estimating the number, effects and integration of legal and undocumented immigrants in the USA; and on questions regarding the social and geographic sources of health, such as: How does undocumented immigrant legal status influence access to health insurance and care? How are “home" environment factors (e.g., arguing, noise, gender division of labor, eating together), sleep and psychological distress associated? Does work or wealth augment happiness? Does neighborhood-level disorder get “under the skin" and can any related stress be measured biologically in representative household surveys? Are social networks or civic engagement associated with health behaviors such as diet, exercise, alcohol consumption, smoking or texting while driving? Is income inequality or residential segregation associated with stature or obesity?
While some of these questions can be answered by linking data that are publicly available, others cannot and often require working with community-based organizations (CBOs) to collect additional representative individual-, group- and area-level data. Three examples illustrate Dr. Marcelli’s contributions to immigration and population health research. First, while working on his dissertation with USC sociologist David Heer and economist Richard Easterlin and with funding from The Haynes Foundation, Dr. Marcelli pioneered the “population survey-based legal status estimation method" for assigning undocumented legal status to individual foreign-born respondents enumerated in U.S. Census, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other publicly available U.S. surveys. This involved helping to design and implement the first probabilistic household survey of any foreign-born population anywhere in the United States that collected legal status information (the 1994 Los Angeles County Mexican Immigrant Health & Legal Status Survey, or “LAC-MIHLSS I"), cleaning and weighting the 1994 LAC-MIHLSS I data, and developing a logistic regression equation that predicts legal status from age, sex, education and years residing in the USA. In collaboration with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) and El Colegio de la Frontera (COLEF), Dr. Marcelli has extended the 1994 LAC-MIHLSS Itwice. With funding from University of California’s Office of the President (UCOP) he designed and implemented the 2001 LAC-MIHLSS II, which not only permitted him to generate updated legal status predictors, but also featured new questions about access to health insurance and medical care, social networks and political participation. With funding from the CDC in 2012, he designed and implemented the 2012 LAC-MIHLSS III, which again allowed him to produce new legal status predictors, and to add new questions about various life domains (e.g., home, neighborhood, workplace), health behaviors and characteristics (e.g., vaccinations, sleep, diet and dining, physical activity, personality, texting while driving, illicit and prescription drug use, cancer screening) and health outcomes (e.g., happiness, distress, dental). Second, with funding from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and in collaboration with two Boston-based CBOs, Dr. Marcelli led an interdisciplinary team of scholars and students from Harvard University and UMASS Boston to collect behavioral, biological, psychological measures of stress. The 2007 Boston Metropolitan Brazilian Immigrant Health & Legal Status Survey (BM-BIHLSS) and 2007 Boston Metropolitan Dominican Immigrant Health & Legal Status Survey (BM-DIHLSS) were not only the first surveys to collect representative data from foreign-born Brazilian and Dominican U.S. residents from any region in the country, but also the first to collect biological (e.g., blood droplet, saliva, blood pressure, weight, height) data that are representative of both legal and undocumented U.S. immigrants from any nation. Third, with funding from NCI and the National Institute on Minority Health & Health Disparities (NIMHD), Dr. Marcelli helped University of California San Francisco (UCSF) researchers design and implement the first representative survey of young adult (18-26 year old) residents of the San Francisco Bay area – the 2013 San Francisco Bay Area Young Adult Health Survey (BAYAHS) – to study the social and geographic sources of tobacco use and stress among this relatively hard-to-reach population.
To date, Dr. Marcelli has published more than 50 academic articles on health, immigration, and work; and other researchers and students have employed his LAC-MIHLSS I-III and BM-BIHLSS/BM-DIHLSS data to study how undocumented immigrant legal status is associated with various socioeconomic and health outcomes. For example, Professor Marcelli chaired Dr. Phillip Granberry’s University of Massachusetts Boston (UMB) dissertation in Public Policy, which employed 2001 LAC-MIHLSS IIdata to study social capital accumulation among legal and undocumented Mexican immigrants in Los Angeles County. Dr. Granberry is currently Senior Researcher/Economic Demographer at the Boston Redevelopment Authority, and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics and Senior Research Associate at the Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy at UMB. Professor Marcelli also chaired Dr. Louisa Holmes’ USC dissertation in Geography, which used 2007 BM-BIHLSS data to estimate how neighborhood disorder and cohesion are associated with three measures of stress – one biological (CRP), another behavioral (smoking), and a third psychological (distress). Dr. Holmes is currently a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Postdoctoral Fellow at UCSF. Professor Marcelli also chaired William Bredemeyer’s SDSU Master’s thesis in Geography, which employed 2007 BM-BIHLSS data to estimate how distance to medical care facilities is associated with self-rated health. At the moment, Mr. Bredemeyer is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Geography at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Dr. Marcelli is currently engaged in three research projects. First, he is employing BM-BIHLSS/BM-DIHLSS, LAC-MIHLSS II & III, 2009-2013 American Community Survey (ACS) and MABLE/GeoCorr12 data to estimate the number of “remaining uninsured" residents of California and Massachusetts by county, census tract and state political districts; and to study sociogeographic factors associated with their use of community clinics and public hospitals. Second, he is employing BM-BIHLSS/BM-DIHLSS, LAC-MIHLSS I-III, 1972-2014 General Social Survey (GSS), 1998-2013 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and 2009-2013 American Community Survey (ACS) data to study how psychosocial and physical aspects of home and access to health insurance are associated with stress and happiness among adult U.S. residents. And lastly, he is employing the 2013 BAYAHS data to investigate how home environment, smoking and sleep are associated with psychological distress among young adults in the San Francisco Bay Area.