This course takes a social science view of global health actors, policy making, and interventions. The course is organized around a series debates wherein students are asked to adopt a particular perspective.

- Is HIV over-funded?

- Is the WHO to blame for the slow response to Ebola in 2014?

- Are undergraduate medical service trips exploitative? 

The importance of health and the increasing role of the government in funding and regulating it suggest that health will become even more important politically over the next generation. This course takes up several controversies in health, including: why the US has the health care system that it does; whether we can share the benefits of good health more equitably; the politics of death and dying; reproductive and sexual politics; and the health effects of contentious social policies like civil rights legislation, welfare, immigration reform, and same-sex marriage. 

the nation's healtH:

From Policy to practice


2023      Dean's Distinguished Teaching Fellow, College of Arts & Science, Vanderbilt University

2021      COVID-19 Innovative Teaching Award, College of Arts & Science, Vanderbilt University

Teaching Awards


QuantiTative Data Analysis and Visualization

sociologist. EDUCATOR.thought leader.

This course is for graduate students who want more training in using data to solve applied problems. We focus on technique, interpretation, and data visualization. Examples come largely from health data sets. 

politics of health (us)

Responding to global health crises

This course, co-taught with Gilbert Gonzales, teaches students how to engage with local, state, and national health policy from a variety of perspectives and adopts a "students as producers" model of instruction. Students learn how to conduct a policy analysis, research and write a policy brief, write an op-ed, and participate in a lobbying training. The course culminates with a "Day on the Hill" where students present policy briefs they have developed to Tennessee legislators.