Portrait of Heather Randell
Assistant Professor
264 Humphrey School
Currently reviewing Ph.D. applicants
Currently reviewing PhD applicants
Global Policy Area
Areas of Expertise
Climate change; demography; energy and environment; international development; public health; sustainable development


    Heather Randell is an Assistant Professor in the global policy area at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and a faculty affiliate of the Minnesota Population Center.

    Dr. Randell is a sociologist and demographer with interests in understanding how climate change and dam building impact the health and well-being of marginalized populations. Her research uses quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate linkages between climate change and food security, child health, and education; to examine the social consequences of dam construction; and to explore the relationship between environmental stressors and migration. This work is international in scope, with a particular focus on Brazil and East Africa. Dr. Randell’s research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation and has been published in journals including Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Environmental Research Letters,World Development,and Social Science & Medicine.

    Prior to joining the Humphrey School, Dr. Randell was an Assistant Professor of Rural Sociology and Demography at Penn State and completed postdoctoral fellowships at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) and the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health at the University of Maryland.


    PhD in Sociology (Brown University, 2016)

    Master of Environmental Management (MEM) (Duke University, 2008)

    BS (Cornell University, 2005)

    Randell, H. & Curley, A. (2023). Dams and tribal land loss in the United States, Environmental Research Letters, 18(9),

    Randell, H., Gray, C. & Shayo, E. H. (2022). Climatic conditions and household food security: Evidence from Tanzania, Food Policy, 112,

    Thiede, B. C., Randell, H. & Gray, C. (2022). The Childhood Origins of Climate-Induced Mobility and Immobility, Population and Development Review, 48(3), 767-793

    Randell, H., Jiang, C., Liang, X. Z., Murtugudde, R. & Sapkota, A. (2021). Food insecurity and compound environmental shocks in Nepal: Implications for a changing climate, World Development, 145,

    Randell, H., Grace, K. & Bakhtsiyarava, M. (2021). Climatic conditions and infant care: implications for child nutrition in rural Ethiopia, Population and Environment, 42(4), 524-552

    Randell, H. & Klein, P. (2021). Hydropower Development, Collective Action, and Environmental Justice in the Brazilian Amazon, Society and Natural Resources, 34(9), 1232-1249

    Randell, H., Gray, C. & Grace, K. (2020). Stunted from the start: Early life weather conditions and child undernutrition in Ethiopia, Social Science and Medicine, 261,

    Randell, H. & Gray, C. (2019). Climate change and educational attainment in the global tropics, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 116(18), 8840-8845