Diana Hernández, PhD, serves as the Managing Director of Domestic Programs at the Energy Opportunity Lab in the Center on Global Energy Policy in the School of International and Public Affairs. Dr. Hernández, is also a tenured Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences and Founding Principal Investigator of the Energy Equity, Housing and Health Program at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.
A sociologist by training, Dr. Hernández’ work examines the social and environmental determinants of health including the impacts of policy and place-based interventions on the health and well-being of socioeconomically disadvantaged populations. Her foundational research on energy insecurity- defined as the inability to adequately meet household energy needs- has explored the multiple dimensions of this phenomenon identifying sociodemographic disparities, adverse consequences and promising interventions toward energy equity and justice. Much of her community-oriented research has been done in collaboration with community groups and government agencies around the country, including in the South Bronx, where she has led small-scale housing redevelopment projects.
In 2022, Dr. Hernández spearheaded the establishment of a collaboration between the Energy Bar Association, the Sabin Center for Climate Law, CGEP and Mailman to explore energy insecurity from a legal, policy and regulatory perspective. Dr. Hernández’ research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Robert Wood Johnson, JPB and Alfred P. Sloan Foundations, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, among others.
Professor Hernández teaches graduate level courses on qualitative research methods, design and analysis; public health leadership; and energy justice. She holds several leadership positions including as the Deputy Director of the NIEHS Center for Environmental Health and Justice in Northern Manhattan; she is also a Mayoral Appointee on NYC’s Environmental Justice Advisory Board. Professor Hernández has written for and been featured in various media outlets including the NY Times, USA Today, BBC, NY Daily News and CityLab. Her debut book about energy insecurity in the US is due to be published in 2024.