James Spilsbury, PhD, MPH

Associate Professor
Department of Population & Quantitative Health Sciences
Associate Professor
Department of Pediatrics
School of Medicine
Program Director
Department of Educational Programs in Clinical Research
School of Medicine
Co-Director of PhD in Clinical Translational Science
Center for Clinical Investigation
School of Medicine

Dr. James Spilsbury is an anthropologist who studies how children’s socio-cultural environment influences their health and well-being. His research is focused on both family settings and neighborhoods as key “ecologies” affecting children’s physical and psychological health and functioning, with a substantial focus on sleep and its impact on children’s behavior. He has also researched how violence in these environments influences child development. His research requires a multi-disciplinary approach, requiring expertise in multiple disciplines such an anthropology, psychology, pediatrics, social work, statistics, engineering, and public health. Dr. Spilsbury has developed effective collaborative relationships with scientists across academe as well as community-based agencies and organizations.

Teaching Information

Courses Taught

CRSP 412 Communication in Clinical Research I – Grant Writing
CRSP 413 Communication in Clinical Research II – Oral Presentations, Posters, and the Mass Media
CRSP 505 Investigating Social Determinants of Health
Translational and Patient-Oriented Research Theory
Special Topics in Clinical Research
Seminar Multidisciplinary Clinical and Translational Research

Research Information

Research Interests

  • Sleep in social and cultural context
  • Effects of violence on children's health and well-being
  • Effects of neighborhoods and child health and development

Professional Memberships

The Sleep Research Society
Sleep in America Poll Taskforce
Government of Canada, Social Sciences and Humanities Research, Insights grant reviewer
Israel Science Foundation, grant reviewer
William T. Grant Foundation, grant reviewer


Selected Publications

Publishing impact 

Metrics from Web of Science/publons and Scopus/SciVal: 

  • H-index: 18
  • Total publications from CV: 40 
  • Total citations:  1,011  
  • Publications in top-tier journals: 37%
  • Collaborative publishing national/international: 90%/10%  

Editorial roles:

  • Behavioral Sleep Medicine, editorial board
  • Sleep Health, editorial board


Doctor of Philosophy
Case Western Reserve University
Health Education
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Yale University

Additional Information

View James Spilsbury 2018 Curriculum Vitae

Contributions to science:

  • Understanding the neighborhood and family ecology of children’s sleep 
  • The neighborhood ecology of child maltreatment 
  • Effects of violence on children
  • Children as full-fledged social agents who negotiate their neighborhood environments

Active grants:

  • US Department of Justice, Office of Victims Programs: The traumatic loss response team: a multidisciplinary approach to complex homicides involving children
  • NICHD, R01: Understanding how neighborhood ecologies influence child maltreatment: a mixed methods study

Student and mentee totals, over Case Western Reserve University career/full academic career:

  • Master’s: 250/325    
  • PhD: 11/12              
  • Post-doctoral fellows: 4   
  • A sampling of CWRU PhD graduates and Post-docs’ current careers:  
  • CWRU Department of Nutrition, assistant professor
  • Dominican University, Department of Nutrition, assistant professor  
  • Gustavus Adolphus College, director of faculty grants
  • Southcentral Foundation, senior researcher