Prior to his recruitment to Stanford as chief of the division of general medical disciplines in May, 2009, Dr. Cullen was a professor of medicine and public health and director of the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Program (OEM) at Yale University School of Medicine. He received his BA from Harvard College in 1971 and his MD from Yale University School of Medicine in 1976. Dr. Cullen completed his residency in internal medicine at Yale and trained in clinical epidemiology before joining the faculty there as an assistant professor in 1980.
Early in his career Dr. Cullen focused on introducing concepts of clinical epidemiology into occupational and environmental medicine as a counterpart to the prevailing approaches of population epidemiology and animal toxicology. Early research interests included the biologic effects of lead, beryllium, solvents and asbestos. As an outgrowth of his asbestos work, he was a Co-PI on the CARET trial which examined the impacts of vitamin A and beta carotene on the incidence of lung cancer in a high risk population. In the mid-90's he initiated a large collaborative project on occupational asthma, integrating mechanistic, clinical and epidemiologic components.
In 1997 Dr. Cullen forged a unique academic/private partnership with Alcoa Inc., the world's largest aluminum company. In his role as Alcoa's senior medical officer, he has extended his research into the psychosocial causes of disease in the work force. Much of this work has been in collaboration with colleagues at the MacArthur Research Network on Socioeconomic Status and Health. In 2006 Dr. Cullen was awarded an NIA grant to develop a model of population determinants of chronic disease, disability and death, followed by additional funding in 2009 to study how employees and their families use various social and health benefit options. Using the Alcoa "laboratory", his major research ambition is sorting out the relative contributions of and interactions among the social, environmental, behavioral and bio-medical determinants of morbidity and mortality in adults, with special emphasis on the contributions of workplace social and physical environment.
Dr. Cullen has published extensively in numerous medical/scientific journals and co-edited the Textbook of Clinical Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 1st and 2nd editions. He has served in numerous federal and corporate advisory positions, and been a member of the MacArthur Network on SES and Health since 1996. Prizes include the Westinghouse (Intel) National Science Talent Search (5th place, 1967). He was elected a Henry J. Kaiser Family Faculty Scholar in General Internal Medicine in 1983. In 1997 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine.