Reya Farber’s scholarship examines the intersection of globalization, health, and gender. She has analyzed how medical tourism, or health-related travel, has impacted Thai transgender women's health and labor outcomes. Medical tourism is a multi-billion dollar development strategy that transforms health care access worldwide. Yet, scarce research has focused on how medical tourism affects and involves people in destination countries.
Farber conducted over a year of ethnographic research in Thailand and interviews with 62 people to determine how Thai trans women's health care access and labor roles have changed alongside the government-led growth of medical tourism. While foreigners visiting Thailand may access internationally-accredited health care in luxury hospitals, many Thai trans people face disparities in public and private health care settings, becoming "crowded out" of health care facilities they once had access to. As governments worldwide promote medical tourism, Farber's work illuminates how such development strategies are inextricably connected to gendered labor, while also disparately impacting health outcomes for people across a range of social identities.
Farber earned a Ph.D. in Sociology with a Certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Boston University, with research also examining global knowledge hierarchies and the uneven production of global clinical research.