Health and Illness

Person in scrubs with a stethoscope holding a digital globe.

Medical sociology studies the role of social factors (from small-scale interpersonal interactions to large-scale social institutions) in shaping health, illness, and health care.  Faculty at UB study the ways in which race/ethnicity, gender, social class, social relationships, and neighborhood or environmental characteristics affect health; explore the social processes and institutions shaping health; develop innovative approaches to measuring health or determinants of health; and address current debates about health policy and health law.

Sub-fields

Social Determinants of Health

Research in this area examines the social underpinnings of health: how do factors including sex/gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, social relationships, neighborhood characteristics, etc. shape health outcomes? How do social processes and institutions increase health risks for some social groups and decrease them for others? These topics can be analyzed qualitatively and/or quantitatively, and at micro-, meso-, or macro-levels.

Faculty

Health and Law Policy

Research in this area examines how laws and social policies pertaining to health and aging are created and applied, and with what consequences for stakeholders. Both U.S.-focused and international comparative work shed light on these questions. 

Faculty

Faculty

Ashley Barr.

430 Park Hall

Phone: (716) 645-8453

abbarr@buffalo.edu

Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology
College of Arts and Sciences

Research Interests: Family; Family Inequality; Aging and Life Course; Health; Quantitative Methods

Hanna Grol-Prokopczyk.

430 Park Hall

Phone: 716) 645-8480

hgrol@buffalo.edu

Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology
College of Arts and Sciences

Research Interests: Medical Sociology; Demography; Chronic Pain; Criminal Justice; Research Methods

Gregory Sharp.

430 Park Hall

Phone: (716) 645-8479

gsharp@buffalo.edu

Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology
College of Arts and Sciences

Research Interests: Urban and Community Sociology; Social Stratification; Population Health; Quantitative Methods

Kevin T. Smiley.

407 Park Hall

Phone: (716) 645-2417

ktsmiley@buffalo.edu

Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology
College of Arts and Sciences

Research Interests: Environmental Sociology; Urban Sociology; Race and Ethnicity; Community

Debra Street.

430 Park Hall

Phone: (716) 645-8475

dastreet@buffalo.edu

Professor
Department of Sociology
College of Arts and Sciences

Research Interests: Health and Income Security; Long-term Care; Families, Aging and the Life Course; Comparative Public Policies/Welfare State; Mixed-methods Research Design

Jessica Houston Su.

430 Park Hall

Phone: (716) 645-8471

jhsu2@buffalo.edu

Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology
College of Arts and Sciences

Research Interests: Family; Children and Youth; Population; Inequality

Mary Nell Trautner.

430 Park Hall

Phone: (716) 645-8477

trautner@buffalo.edu

Director of Graduate Studies
Associate Professor
Department of Sociology
College of Arts and Sciences

Research Interests: Sociology of Law; Gender, Sexuality, and the Body; Work and Organizations