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I study the social processes by which institutions shape orientations toward inequalities and how knowledges can be creatively integrated to improve upon these inequalities. More concretely, I study how educators, physicians, and policy makers apply knowledge to improve patient care and how the context in which these actors work impacts how they utilize knowledge. I address questions about how these actors understand the sources of health and healthcare disparities in the U.S. patient population, how they decide what kinds of knowledge are clinically relevant, and how they reproduce forms of inequality in their educational materials and interactional processes.


Building off of the research captured in my book, Curricular Injustice: How U.S. Medical Schools Reproduce Inequalities, I am currently engaged in research on premedical students' experiences and expectations along their career path (with Caitlin Tickman, Deyana Tabatabaei, and Elaina Symes), medical students' and educators' conceptualizations and engagements with "service learning" (with Brian Tuohy and Hannah Calvelli), which medical students plan to serve primarily underserved populations (with Laura Orrico), and medical school leaders' institutional statements about national and local policies affecting their patients, students, and communities (with Siyona Keya).

Selected Publications

2021 Jenkins, Tania M., Kelly Underman, Alexandra H. Vinson, Lauren D. Olsen, and Laura Hirshfield. “The Resurgence of Medical Education in Sociology: A Return to Our Roots and an Agenda for the Future.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 62(3):255-270.

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