Sociology, our mission

The goal of the UAB Department of Sociology is to be ranked among the best programs in medical sociology in the nation. Resources are in place to accomplish this through the Department’s current research links and opportunities with faculty in UAB’s medical school and with the many research centers and clinical programs that exist on campus.

The focus of instruction at the graduate level is the sociology of health and medicine. Students are trained broadly in theory and methods, but the primary goal is to train medical sociologists. We encourage an interdisciplinary approach and seek to maintain and grow our partnerships with the Schools of Medicine and Public Health, and campus interdisciplinary research centers.  At the undergraduate level, we offer a general degree in sociology, with concentrations available in social psychology and medical sociology.

Congratulations to Gabriela Oates!

Medical Sociology PhD student Gabriela Oates has been selected as UAB's nominee for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Early Independence Award based on her dissertation study of the relationship of socioeconomic factors, disease outcomes, and adherence to treatment in cystic fibrosis.

New Faculty starting Fall 2015


New Undergraduate Degree Being Planned

The Department of Sociology has initiated approval for a new B.S. in Medical Sociology for students interested in careers and graduate work in that field.

BA in Sociology Revised

The BA in Sociology has been significantly revised, improved, and updated with new course additions, deletions, and changed requirements. See the Undergraduate Program link.

New Online Master's Degree Program

UAB has launched a new online Applied Sociology MA program. Students with specific career goals or with unique intellectual objectives may propose an emphasis designed to meet their individual academic needs. The program is especially well suited for a variety of educators wanting to enhance their teaching and research skills, government employees seeking solutions to social issues, administrators wanting to improve work environments and financial professionals with consumer culture interests. We are committed to offering at least ten online classes a year.  Please visit the course requirement link for further information.

Speaker's Schedule

Special Guests: Bruce Link and Jo Phelan, Columbia University will host an informal discussion on "Fundamental Cause Theory" March 17, 2015 (10:45-11:45, HHB 524).

Faculty News

Adrienne Milner and Elizabeth Baker's research project on walking buses to decrease obesity won the Silver Award from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA).

Bill Cockerham's book Social Causes of Health and Disease, 2nd ed. (Polity, 2013) was listed as one of the key books in medical sociology in the 21st Century in a review essay by Graham Scambler published in Contemporary Sociology (March 2014). Springer Publishing announced Bill's book Medical Sociology on the Move: New Directions in Theory was one of the top 25% most downloaded ebooks in 2013. BioMedLib (August 2014) ranked his paper "The Intersection of Health and Gender in a Transitional State: The Case of Russia," #4 in Top 20 Articles in epidemiology since its publication (2012). The article was published in the Sociology of Health & Illness.

Mieke Beth Thomeer won the American Sociological Association's 2014 Award for best paper on mental health.

Irena Stepanikova has been selected as a 2015 Health Disparities Research Training Award Scholar.

Magda Szaflarski has been selected as one of three new fellows in the Engaged Scholars Studying Congregations program sponsored by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research with funding from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. The award of $20,000 will be used to conduct research on congregational responses to community health needs and network with other scholars in the field. This research aims to inform federal efforts by the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity and the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships to serve Americans in need and reduce health disparities.

Graduate Student/Graduates News

Graduates and their new jobs include:

  • William Anderson, UAB School of Medicine
  • Lori Bateman, UAB School of Medicine
  • Ronald Berkowsky, University of Miami Medical School (post-doc)
  • Henna Budhwani, UAB School of Public Health
  • David Buys, Mississippi State University
  • Yue Cao, Medical College of South Carolina
  • Cullen Clark, UAB Department of Sociology
  • LaToya O'Neal Coleman, Michigan State University (post-doc)
  • Colin Farrell, Western Kentucky University
  • Tim Hale, Harvard University Medical School
  • Akilah Dulin Keita, Brown University Medical School
  • Vicki Winstead, UAB School of Nursing
  • Xiaofei Qiao, UAB Spain Rehabilitation Center
  • Elizabeth Yost, College of William and Mary

Graduate Student News:

  • Kristi Stringer has received an NIH dissertation grant with four years of funding through the National Institute of Drug Abuse to study HIV and substance abuse.
  • Tuba Demir and Haley Medved Kendrick, participated in summer exchange program with Hacettepe University in Turkey. 
  • Haley Kendrick has been selected to participate in the 2014 Summer Cancer Research Training Program (SCRTP) sponsored by Morehouse School of Medicine, Tuskegee, and UAB Cancer Partnership.
  • Gabriela Oates has been selected for the 2014 CAS Outstanding Graduate Student (Doctoral) award.
  • Kristi Stringer has been selected for the 2014 Department of Sociology Outstanding Graduate Student award.

Graduate News:

    • Lonnie Hannon, 2007 PhD, has a new book, Life and Society (Cognella, 2015).
    • Lori Bateman, 2014 PhD, is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the UAB School of Medicine, Division of Preventive Medicine.
    • Ronald Berkowsky, 2014 PhD, is a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine.
    • LaToya O'Neal Coleman, 2014 PhD, has a post-doctoral position at Michigan State University in the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media.
    • Lynn Gerald, 1997 PhD, who holds the Canyon Ranch Endowed Chair of the School at Public Health at the University of Arizona has received an NIH Lifetime Achievement award.
    • Brian Hinote, 2007 PhD, is a tenured Associate Professor in sociology at Middle Tennessee State University and co-editor of Sociological Spectrum
  • The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the nation's leading philanthropy on health and health care, has awarded UAB Medical Sociology, 2007, PhD, graduate Akilah Dulin Keita, Brown University Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, a 24-month grant through the New Connections program.  Keita is among a select group of Junior Investigators to receive one of the 24-month grants from New Connections. The grant will allow Keita, who studies health disparities at the Brown Institute for Community Health Promotion, to examine the risk and protective factors for childhood obesity among Southeast Asians.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Xuanping Zhang, 2002 PhD, graduate of our program, who is now a Health Scientist at the CDC. His paper on diabetes was cited in the Supreme court decision regarding the Affordable Care Act the week of June 28, 2012. (The article is at Diabetes Care  2008; 31: 1748-1753).