Luke installed as inaugural Horowitz Professor in Social Policy

Chancellor Andrew D. Martin (left) congratulates Douglas Luke after his installation as the inaugural Irving Louis Horowitz Professor in Social Policy during an Oct. 12 ceremony in Hillman Hall. (Photo: Whitney Curtis/Washington University)

Douglas Luke, a leading researcher in the areas of public health policy, systems science and tobacco control at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, has been installed as the inaugural Irving Louis Horowitz Professor in Social Policy.

An installation ceremony took place Oct. 12 in Hillman Hall.

“Doug’s tireless work in the fields of systems science and tobacco control is helping to improve lives around the world,” said Mary McKay, vice provost for interdisciplinary initiatives and former dean of the Brown School. “His efforts are making evidence-based public health policy immediately impactful to us all.”

“Doug Luke is a renowned scholar of tobacco regulation and health policy who tackles important public health problems in his work,” said Chancellor Andrew D. Martin. “It is fitting that he is the inaugural holder of a professorship named for Irving Louis Horowitz, whose lifelong research focused on addressing urgent social policy issues.”

Luke directs work focused primarily on the evaluation, dissemination and implementation of evidence-based public health policies.

Over the past decade, he has used systems science methods, especially social network analysis and agent-based modeling, to address important public health problems.

He published the first review papers on network analysis in public health in 2007 and on systems science methods in public health in 2012. He has written books on multilevel modeling and network analysis.


Luke directs the university’s Center for Public Health Systems Science. Under his leadership, the center has used network analysis to study diffusion of scientific innovations, to model the formation of organizational collaborations and to study the relationship of mentoring to future scientific collaboration.

In addition to his appointment at the Brown School, Luke is a member of the Institute for Public Health, director of evaluation for the Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences and a founding member of the Washington University Network of Dissemination and Implementation Researchers. He served on an Institute of Medicine panel that produced a national report on the use of agent-based modeling for tobacco regulatory science.

According to a 2019 PLOS Biology bibliometric analysis, Luke ranked in the top 1% of scientists in the world based on the number of highly cited papers.

Luke earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in psychology and in German from Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis in 1983. At the University of Illinois, he earned a master’s degree in 1988 and a doctorate in 1990, both in psychology.

Horowitz legacy

The Irving Louis Horowitz Professorship in Social Policy was established in 2020 by Mary Curtis Horowitz to honor her late husband’s contributions to the advancement of social policy and to support ongoing research and teaching in this area.

“Professor Luke exemplifies the kind of social science that Irving championed throughout his life: research grounded in evidence, not ideology, and research directed toward urgent social policy issues, rather than ivory-tower thinking,” Mary Curtis Horowitz said. “Doug Luke tackles real-world problems and teases out what works and what does not and uses innovative approaches to address important public policy concerns. His is the kind of work that inspires confidence in what we social scientists can do and his is the kind of work that will guide all of us toward a better world.”

Luke and Mary Curtis Horowitz visit before the installation ceremony. (Photo: Whitney Curtis/Washington University)

Irving Louis Horowitz (1929-2012) was the Hannah Arendt Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Political Science at Rutgers University. Throughout his career, he taught at many institutions around the world, including Washington University from 1963-69. He served as chair of the sociology departments at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Washington University and Rutgers University. Horowitz was also chairman of the board and editorial director of Transaction Publishers.

A prolific writer, Horowitz authored more than 50 books, many of which appeared in translation and multiple editions, as well as hundreds of articles and essays. He published books on a range of topics from political theory, education and academic affairs to public policy and the business of publishing. He was widely regarded as the authoritative voice on Cuban communism. Horowitz received many awards for his contributions to public life.

In 2010, Penn State University announced the “Irving Louis Horowitz–Transaction Publishers Archives, 1939-2009” open for public research at Penn State’s Historical Collections and Labor Archives of The Eberly Family Special Collections Library, University Libraries. The archive documents the expansion of social science research over the past half-century.

Mary Curtis Horowitz leads the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy as its chair and also serves as one of its trustees. The foundation supports the advancement of social science research with a policy focus. Its specific mission is to award grants to aspiring PhD candidates that support their dissertation research. Since its inception in 1997, the foundation has awarded grants to 250 researchers at more than 100 universities around the world.

She also serves on the board of directors of a human rights organization, the Center for a Free Cuba, and is engaged in literacy advocacy and other public service activities. In the past, she has served on the management board of the MIT Press, on the board of directors of the Society for Scholarly Publishing and on various publishing industry committees.

As Mary E. Curtis, her professional name, she worked for 45 years in academic publishing. Until 2017, she was president and chairman of the board of Transaction Publishers. Earlier, she was a vice president at Wiley Publishers, where she headed its journals publishing division, and was editorial director of an academic publishing unit at CBS Publishing. 

A 1968 graduate of Washington University, she has found ways to support the institution that set her on her path. She serves on the Brown School National Council and sponsors a lecture series on social policy at the school. She also has provided support for University Libraries as well as endowed a scholarship in Arts & Sciences.

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