Health and Social Welfare Research Cluster

The Health and Social Welfare Cluster focuses broadly on how structural, political, institutional, demographic, cultural and environmental forces shape the policies, practices and disparities of health, health care and welfare.

How do processes of professionalization, capitalism and medicalization change the local landscapes of health in different societies? How do state policies, market forces, and family structures interact to respond to social needs? How do demographic changes and social inequalities shape the patterns of population health? How do the sick or the unemployed draw on available cultural repertoires to construct or sustain their identities? Do their social or cultural capital – and possibly as a consequence, their coping mechanisms – differ by gender, race, or ethnicity? These and other related questions are topics of important debates among policy makers as well as sociologists. Our research in the “health and social welfare cluster” addresses these issues from both the macro and micro perspectives, and includes works using diverse methodological approaches and theoretical lenses.

Cluster-related courses

  • SOC 270 – Social Demography and Population Health (seminar)
  • SOC 295 – Special Topics: Health, Culture, and Inequalities
  • SOC 295 – Special Topics: The Welfare State

Please read course descriptions for more information.

Alumni

Students who have graduated recently from our program with an interest in health and social welfare include:
  • Carolina Apesoa-Varano (Ph.D., 2008), an assistant professor at the UC Davis Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. Carolina has been published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Qualitative Health Research.
  • Julie Collins-Dogrul (Ph.D., 2007), an assistant professor of sociology at Whittier College. Julie’s health related research, recently published in Social Science and Medicine andGlobal Networks, focuses on public health issues at the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • Lori Freedman (Ph.D., 2008), a researcher at the Bixby Center for Reproductive Health, UC San Francisco. Lori’s research is primarily qualitative and focuses on health professionals experiences in delivering reproductive health care. She is the author ofWilling and Unable: Doctors’ Constraints in Abortion Care (Vanderbilt University Press, 2010).
  • Clare Stacey (Ph.D., 2004), an associate professor of sociology at Kent State University. Her bookThe Caring Self: The Work Experiences of Home Care Aides, won the 2012 Recent Contribution Award in the Emotions Section, American Sociological Association.
  • Esther Neuwirth (_________ degree, year?), a program evaluation consultant withKaiser Permanente's Care Management Institute. She is the author ofThe Good Temp (with Vicki Smith) Cornell University/ILR Press, 2008.
  • Ellen Scott (Ph.D., 1997), a professor of sociology at the University of Oregon. Ellen’s research focuses on, among other things, various issues regarding welfare, poverty and childcare.

People specializing in this area: 

Ming-Cheng Lo

Ming-Cheng Lo

  • Vice Chair & Director of the Graduate Program
  • Department of Sociology

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