Thomas S. Weisner


Thomas S. Weisner, PhD, is a professor of psychiatry (NPI Semel Institute, Center for Culture and Health) and anthropology at UCLA. His research and teaching interests are in culture and human development; medical, psychological and cultural studies of families and children at risk; mixed methods; and evidence-informed policy. He is director of the Center for Culture and Health at UCLA, and the Fieldwork and Qualitative Data Laboratory in the Mental Retardation Research Center. He is currently studying the impacts of changes in welfare and family supports on children and families, based on a longitudinal study over eight years of a successful random-assignment experimental support program for working-poor parents (with Greg Duncan, Aletha Huston, Hiro Yoshikawa, Bob Granger, and others). He is also currently directing a longitudinal study of families with children with developmental disabilities (with Barbara Keogh and Ronald Gallimore) and is collaborating on a random-assignment, experimental mixed-method study of the impacts of early literacy interventions on families and children for Head Start programs (with Chris Lonigan and JoAnn Farver). He is also collaborating on a qualitative study of physician use of local clinical knowledge (with Richard Kravitz and Naihua Duan). He has done longitudinal field research (through 1992) in Western Kenya and Nairobi, on sibling care taking of children, and on the long-term consequences of urban migration for children and families, as well as studies of sibling care taking and school competence among Native Hawaiians (with Ronald Gallimore).


  • PhD, Anthropology and Social Relations, Harvard University, 1973
  • BA, Anthropology, Reed College, 1965


  • Professor, Department of Anthropology, UCLA
  • Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences (NPI Semel Institute), UCLA
  • Director, Center for Culture and Health, UCLA
  • Board Member, ChildFund, International
  • Governing Council Member, Society for Research in Child Development


Phone: 310-794-3632