Melissa Tracy

Expert in psychiatric and social epidemiology, and the use of agent-based modeling in public health

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Melissa Tracy

Assistant Professor
School of Public Health
Department: Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Mental health; depression; posttraumatic stress disorder; suicide; substance use; violence; trauma exposure; adverse childhood experiences; disasters; social determinants of health; health disparities; epidemiologic methods; complex systems approaches; agent-based modeling.

Campus phone: (518) 473-9385
Campus email:


Assistant Professor of Epidemiology Melissa Tracy’s research uses novel methods to investigate social factors influencing trajectories of mental health and substance use, as well as policies and interventions to reduce health disparities.

Tracy, who grew up in Queens, New York, joined the University's Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in Fall 2014. She uses complex systems approaches like agent-based modeling to simulate interventions aimed at reducing violence and its mental health consequences. Her current research projects include the use of secondary data from ongoing longitudinal studies to identify trajectories of adversity during childhood and adolescence and to examine the effects of those trajectories on mental health and health behaviors over the life course. She is also interested in the transmission of violence within social networks, including across different types of social relationships (e.g., from parent to child, between romantic partners, between peers).

In addition, Tracy currently serves as the evaluator for the New York State Office of Mental Health’s Zero Suicide Project, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. She is interested in the social and economic determinants of suicide, as well as inpatient behavioral health admissions and readmissions.

Tracy received her Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of Michigan, and completed postdoctoral training at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health.