Outstanding dissertations written by our graduating students are bestowed one of two awards each year.  See a list of our past awardees and the winning dissertation titles, here.


See the list of our alumni by year of graduation, here.

Alumni Profiles 

(*Scroll to the bottom for information on how to send in your profile or to request an update to this page.)


Sonia Rab Alam
Sonia Y. Rab Alam, PhD, MPH

PhD Sociology, 2016

Sonia Y. Rab Alam is a UX (user experience) Researcher at Facebook currently working on the Pages product. She finished her PhD in Sociology at UCSF in December 2016 and was an Assistant Adjunct Professor at Mills College before moving to the tech sector. Her dissertation examined constructions of value in [and] the biomedical futures of consumer health technologies, such as Fitbit activity trackers and the Apple watch. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork at investor pitch events and health tech “meet ups,” as well as interviews with venture capitalists and founders of health tech startups, she explored the kinds of value and futures imagined in and made possible by these technologies and considered their implications. She also holds a BA in Sociology and Gender & Women’s Studies from Bowdoin College and an MPH from the Department of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University.


Monica Casper
Monica Casper, PhD

PhD Sociology, 1995

Keywords: bodies/embodiment; health and illness; disability studies; trauma studies; gender, race, and class; qualitative research methods

Monica J. Casper is Professor and Head of Gender and Women’s Studies, as well as an affiliated faculty member in Africana Studies and the School of Sociology at the University of Arizona. Her scholarly and teaching interests include gender, race, bodies, reproduction, health, sexuality, disability, and trauma. She’s published several books, including the award-winning The Making of the Unborn Patient: A Social Anatomy of Fetal Surgery and most recently, The Body: Social and Cultural Dissections, with Lisa Jean Moore. Her current research focuses on race and the biopolitics of infant mortality in the U.S. She’s also involved in collaborative research on social and biomedical consequences of traumatic brain injury across three populations: athletes, veterans, and domestic violence victims. She is founding co-editor of the NYU Press book series “Biopolitics: Medicine, Technoscience, and Health in the 21st Century,” as well as a managing editor of The Feminist Wire and editor/publisher of TRIVIA: Voices of Feminism. More information can be found at .


Yvette Cuca
Yvette P. Cuca, PhD, MPH, MIA

PhD Sociology, 2013

Keywords: Women, HIV, stigma, trauma, research

Yvette Cuca is Research Specialist at the UCSF School of Nursing and the UCSF Women’s HIV Program. Her research has focused on childbearing decision-making for women living with HIV/AIDS, with a particular focus on the role of social stigma. She is currently collaborating with the UCSF Women’s HIV Program to implement and evaluate a new model of trauma-informed primary care that acknowledges and addresses the impact of current and lifelong trauma (abuse, neglect, structural violence) on the lives and health of women living with HIV. This collaborative study will examine the impact of trauma-informed primary care on physical and mental health outcomes, and on outcomes related to social support, empowerment, and coping mechanisms, among others.



Richard Culbertson
Richard Culbertson, PhD

PhD Sociology , 1993
Interim Dean and Professor; LSU Public Health

Richard Culbertson is Interim Dean of the School of Public Health at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. He holds a Master of Divinity degree cum laude from Harvard University; a Master of Health Administration from the University of Minnesota; and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Sociology from the University of California-San Francisco. He has served as the Director of the Master of Health Administration program at Indiana University-Indianapolis; Associate Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences and Associate Dean of the Medical School at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Founding Director of Administration and Finance for the University of California-San Francisco Medical Group; and CEO of the Kaiser-Permanente Sunset Medical Center, Los Angeles, as well as COO and other administrative positions for several major teaching hospitals.

View CV...


Carrie L.  Graham

PhD Sociology, 2002

Director of Long Term Services and Supports, Center for Health Care Strategies (LTSS and Integrated Care team)

Carrie Graham, PhD is the director of long-term services and supports at the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS). In this role, she oversees CHCS’ portfolio of work to improve care delivery for older adults and people with disability who need long-term services and supports (LTSS).

Dr. Graham has been working in the field of aging research, health policy, and evaluation research for over 20 years. Prior to CHCS, she was the principal investigator of several studies examining how different aspects of health reform in California have impacted health care and LTSS for seniors and people with disabilities. Most recently, she led a multi-institution evaluation of California’s efforts to integrate care for dually eligible beneficiaries in managed care delivery systems. She also evaluated consumer-directed organizations that work to promote aging in communities. Dr. Graham specializes in using a participatory evaluation approach that incorporates the perspectives of consumers and stakeholders in all phases of evaluation — from the evaluation design through the interpretation of results. She conducts research with hard-to-reach populations including frail seniors, people with disabilities, people with chronic illnesses, and people with no or limited English proficiency. She was the co-investigator on a National Institute of Aging-funded study of seniors living alone with dementia. To answer complex policy questions, she often uses mixed methods that incorporate both qualitative (interviews/focus groups) and quantitative (surveys/claims/encounter) data. She currently holds an appointment as Full Professor, Adjunct at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Institute for Health and Aging.

In 2018, she spent the year in Washington DC as a health and aging policy fellow in the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Ways and Means, Health Subcommittee. In this role, she worked on Medicare policy including prescription drug pricing, skilled nursing facilities, post-acute care, surprise billing, and LTSS. After returning to California in 2019, she was appointed as senior policy advisor to Governor Newsom’s Master Plan for Aging.

Dr. Graham holds a doctorate in medical sociology from UCSF and a master’s degree in gerontological studies from the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from University of California, San Diego in sociology and African studies.


Amy Houtrow, MD, PHD, MPH

PhD Sociology 2012

Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation School of Medicine

Professor, Vice-Chair for Quality, Endowed Chair and Associate Program Director



Natalie Ingraham, PhD, MPH

PhD Sociology, 2016

Key words: medical sociology, body size, gender, LGBTQ studies, health disparities

Natalie Ingraham, PhD, MPH (she/her/hers) is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at California State University, East Bay. She earned her PhD in Sociology from UC San Francisco and her master’s in public health from Indiana University. Her research examines the intersections of body size, gender, sexuality and health. Prior to her position at CSU East Bay, she conducted qualitative research on gender and reproductive health as a staff research associate at Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) at UCSF and in the Dept. of Social Welfare at UC Berkeley.


Melanie Jeske
  Melanie Jeske, PhD

PhD Sociology, 2022

Keywords: science and technology studies, novel biomedical technologies, inequality, illness experience, scientific labor 

Melanie Jeske, PhD  is a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute on the Formation of Knowledge at University of Chicago. Situated at the intersection of sociology of medicine and science and technology studies, Jeske’s research explores social, political and ethical dimensions of knowledge systems, emergent biotechnologies, and expertise. Her work across these areas has been published in journals including Science, Technology, & Human Values, Social Science & Medicine, BioSocieties, PLOS ONE, and Engaging Science, Technology, and Society. More information about her current and past projects can be found at 


Carolyn Keagy
Carolyn D. Keagy, PhD

PhD Sociology, 2015

Carolyn D. Keagy is a senior data analyst at Kaiser Permanente focusing on survival analysis and advanced quantitative methods with SAS and Teradata. She started her academic career with concurrently awarded bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Chicago with general honors. Her PhD in Sociology was awarded by the University of California San Francisco from the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Her research interests are high risk behaviors, trauma, body modification, coping, mixed methods, socio-economic differences in health care delivery, and patient reported outcome


Karen Lloyd
Karen C. Lloyd, PhD

PhD Sociology, 2016

Keywords: HIV biomedical prevention; biomedicalization, risk and surveillance; sociology of pharmaceuticals; pregnancy and birth; qualitative research methodologies (grounded theory, situational analysis and narrative methods)

Karen C. Lloyd is a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Population Research in Sexual Health and HIV, part of the Institute for Global Health, University College London. Her current research involves an exploration of patient and provider experiences of using digital technologies for both HIV testing and the management of HIV treatment and care. Her broader research interests include HIV bio- and digital technologies, including the use of pharmaceuticals for prevention, biomedicalization, including the biomedicalization of HIV prevention, and qualitative research methods and ethics. Her dissertation, "Vital Politics and Anticipatory Practice of HIV Treatment as Prevention: The Discursive Work of the Biomedicalization of HIV Prevention," was a multi-sited qualitative analysis of the emergence and travels of the professional discourses of HIV treatment as prevention. She received her B.A. in Sociology at the University of Delaware (2003) and a Master of Arts from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University (2007).



Laura Mamo
 Laura Mamo, PhD

PhD Sociology, 2002

Laura Mamo is the Health Equity Institute Professor of Public Health. Her work lies at the intersection of medical sociology, gender and sexuality studies, and cultural studies of science, technology and medicine. Her research and teaching focus on sexuality and its politics in medicine, science, and health discourse, practice, and resistance. Mamo is the author of the forthcoming book, Sexualizing Cancer: HPV and the Gendered Politics of Cancer Prevention (University of Chicago Press, 2023); Queering Reproduction: Achieving Pregnancy in the Age of Technoscience (Duke University Press, 2007); co-author of Living Green: Communities that Sustain (New Society Press, 2010); and co-editor of Biomedicalization Studies: Technoscience and Transformations of Health, Illness and U.S. Biomedicine (Duke University Press, 2010). Mamo is the co-founder of The Beyond Bullying Project, a multimedia school-based queer sexuality and gender project with Jessica Fields, Jen Gilbert and Nancy Lesko. Mamo’s research has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and others. Mamo earned her PhD in 2002 from UCSF and BA from University of Wisconsin, Madison. She joined the faculty at SFSU as Health Equity Professor of Public Health in 2010 following appointments as Assistant Professor and Associated Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park.


Lisa Jean Moore, PhD, MPH

PhD Sociology,  1995
Completed Postdoctoral Fellowship as a Trainee in AIDS Prevention Sciences at the CAPS UCSF in 1996.
Completed MPH at UC Berkeley in 1996.

Key Words: Feminist Science Studies, Qualitative Research, Animal Studies, Critical Body Studies, Prison Education

I am a medical sociologist proudly trained at UCSF. I primarily worked with Adele Clarke and Virginia Olesen. I've used feminist qualitative methods from our excellent methods series throughout my research career. I have published many books on women's health, human bodies, and human and animal relationships. I've been at Purchase College for 18 years.


Dr. Florencia Rojo
Florencia Rojo, PhD

PhD Sociology, 2019

Florencia Rojo is Assistant Professor at Colorado College in the Department of Sociology. She conducts qualitative research on trauma, violence, and migration with Latin American immigrant communities. Her dissertation, “‘You wanted norte’: Central American Families and the Ongoing Trauma of Migration, Separation, and Deportation” examines the intersections of multiple, ongoing traumas in immigrants’ lives across time and space. Her teaching approach bridges scholarship and social justice work, through courses including: community-based research, violence, immigration, and urban sociology. She also holds a BA in Sociology from DePaul University.


Ariana Thompson-Lastad, PhD

PhD Sociology, 2018

Ariana Thompson-Lastad is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at UCSF, where her research focuses on integrative approaches to chronic pain care. She finished her PhD in sociology at UCSF in spring 2018. Her dissertation, “Providing Integrative Medicine to Low-income Patients through Group Visits,” focused on emerging forms of care that combine biomedical treatment, peer support, health education, and complemented health approaches such as acupuncture and yoga. This mixed-methods project included a national scoping survey of clinicians as well interviews and ethnographic observation in safety-net clinics in two states. Ariana received her BA in sociology and human rights from Bard College.


Krista Sigurdson
Krista Sigurdson, PhD

PhD Sociology, 2015

Keywords: disparities in neonatal care; infant and maternal health; infant feeding; human milk; gender and race

Krista Sigurdson is a sessional instructor at The University of British Columbia in the School of Journalism, Writing and Media. She currently teaches undergraduate research and writing on the theme of Scientific Racism and Sexism. Krista was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Division of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine at Stanford where she worked on qualitative research on racial and ethnic disparities in neonatal care. Her qualitative multi-sited dissertation research on human milk exchange was co-chaired by Dr. Adele Clarke and Dr. Janet Shim and was awarded the National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant in STS, the Canadian Social Science Research Council Doctoral Fellowship and the UCSF Distinguished Dissertation Award in Sociology.



 Meredith Van Natta, PhD

PhD Sociology, 2019

Meredith Van Natta is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Merced. Meredith’s research focuses on the intersection of health, citizenship, and science, medicine, and technology studies. Her current book project examines how uncertainty around contemporary immigration policies shapes the health care of noncitizens in the U.S. Her ethnographic and interview data reveal how anti-immigrant administrations at federal and state levels have leveraged policy uncertainty to discipline both immigrant patients and the institutions that serve them in a process she refers to as “medical legal violence”. Meredith also studies the expanding use of biometrics in immigration contexts and structural health inequities in the U.S.


Lily Walkover
Lilian Walkover, PhD

PhD Sociology, 2018

Keywords: Critical global health studies; Science and technology studies; Sociology of health and illness; Sociology of knowledge; Qualitative social science methods

Lillian Walkover is an Assistant Teaching Professor at the University of California, San Diego, jointly appointed in the Department of Communication and Global Health Program. Before joining UCSD, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Global Health in the Department of Sociology at Drexel University. Her postdoctoral research with Dr. Susan Bell is a study of the experiences and career paths of physicians who enter the US as refugees. A sociologist of global health with an interdisciplinary orientation, she has experience conducting qualitative global health research in the US and abroad. She focuses on the production, valuation, and movement of health knowledges, both globally and in the US. Her doctoral work focused on how health knowledges are produced and travel through an analysis of the translation and adaptation of Where There Is No Doctor, the most widely used health manual in the world. This project explored translations and adaptations in Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, and English for use in India, and the analysis sits at the intersection of sociology of health and illness, critical global health, and postcolonial science and technology studies. In addition, she works with the Structural Competency Working Group to use structural competency and other social science frameworks for health professions education. (updated September 2020)



 Jarmin Yeh, PhD

PhD Sociology, 2019

Jarmin Yeh is an assistant adjunct professor at the Institute for Health & Aging and teaches in the Master of Science in Healthcare Administration and Interprofessional Leadership (MS-HAIL) program at UCSF. Jarmin’s research focuses on aging, health, and social inequalities. They have been examining age-friendly community initiatives and the lived experiences of older adults to help improve their quality of life. They are part of a research team that evaluates federally and locally funded projects to improve caregiver training and systems of care for people living with dementia. They are also part of a research team, studying the effectiveness of a standardized assessment tool implemented with Adult Protective Services (APS). Jarmin is a board member of the Metta Fund, Community Living Campaign, and Head Over Heels Athletic Arts. She holds a BA in social welfare from UC-Berkeley and MSSW/MPH from Columbia University.




If you are an alumni of the UCSF Sociology Doctoral program, we would love to feature your profile on this page!

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