Cindy Cain. Assistant Professor
email
Heritage Hall 460C
(205) 934-0565

Research Interests: Health care organizations and workers, aging and end of life

Office Hours: By appointment

Education:
  • BA, Indiana University, Sociology
  • MA, University of Arizona, Sociology
  • PhD, University of Arizona, Sociology

My sociological interests reflect two defining aspects of my life. First, I grew up in a rural area of Oregon in a multi-generational household. Growing up with farm animals, fresh food, distant neighbors, and a big family taught me a great deal about communities, families, informal care, and health care. I became especially interested in end-of-life care from my experiences with aging family members and our desire to keep care at home.

Second, I have had many jobs through the years: factory work, child and elder care, restaurant management, cell phone sales, and now teaching and research. Having these widely varying work experiences highlights commonalities between all types of work. Specifically, in each job it was clear that workers sought to create a sense of meaningfulness about the work. In my research and teaching, I examine how meaningfulness of health care work affects workers and is shaped by the organizational context.

In my teaching, I encourage students to use their own life experiences to more fully understand sociological phenomena. I use a mix of discussions, case studies, problem-based learning, and skill-building to make abstract principles more relevant to students’ lives and future careers.