About Dr. Tsai

Alexander Tsai, MD
Associate Professor of Psychiatry
Massachusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School


Alexander Tsai, MD, is a board-certified psychiatrist at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He is a founding Co-Editor in Chief of the journal Social Science and Medicine – Mental Health. His own research focuses on understanding how large-scale social pathogens such as stigma, discrimination, and structural violence affect the distribution of mental health outcomes in vulnerable populations, both globally (primarily eastern and southern Africa) and in the U.S. The findings from these research studies have been cited in U.S. Congressional legislation, briefs of amicus curiae filed with the U.S. Supreme Court and numerous state supreme courts, and policy statements issued by major medical and public health organizations. In recognition of his contributions to the field, Dr. Tsai was elected to membership in the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the American College of Psychiatrists, and is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

Dr. Tsai received his undergraduate degree in Economics from Harvard College, and obtained his medical degree and graduate degree in health services research at Case Western Reserve University. He completed his residency training in general adult psychiatry at the University of California at San Francisco, followed by a postdoctoral research fellowship in the Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholars Program at Harvard. 

Current Projects

National Institutes of Health

Social Networks, HIV Stigma, and the HIV Care Cascade in Rural Uganda

Goals: To establish a population-based, sociocentric social network cohort in rural Uganda in order to explain the social production of HIV stigma and estimate its impacts on the HIV care cascade.

Role: Principal Investigator

National Institutes of Health

Racial Disparities in Police Use of Deadly Force as a Cause of Racial Disparities in Sleep Health Across the Life Course

Goals: To conduct a mixed-methods study to understand the extent to which, and the mechanisms through which, racial disparities in police use of deadly force contribute to racial disparities in sleep duration and sleep quality among adolescents and adults.

Role: Multiple Principal Investigator

National Institutes of Health

Inflammation, Social Networks, and Depression in Rural Uganda

Goals: To estimate the causal effect of social networks on depression and to estimate the causal mediating effects of inflammatory activity.

Role: Principal Investigator


Dr. Tsai on PubMed


AB, Harvard College, Economics

MA, University of Toronto, Economics

MD, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

PhD, Case Western Reserve University, Health Services Research

Internship in Medicine, Neurology, and Psychiatry, University of Washington at Seattle

Residency in General Adult Psychiatry, University of California at San Francisco

Postdoctoral fellowship, Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholars Program, Harvard University