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.


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.


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.