I am a professor of Sociology and by courtesy, of Epidemiology and Public Policy. I am also a Research Professor in the Population Studies Center and Research Affiliate in the Survey Research Center, both at the Institute for Social Research, and am the incoming director of the Population Studies Center. I have a publication record in social and health science journals in the areas of the life course determinants of health and wellbeing in later life and related health disparities, and have received funding for my research and for data collection in these areas from NIH and private foundations. I am currently an affiliate and Advisory Panel member for the Michigan Center for the Demography of Aging (MICDA), a Technical Review Committee member of the National Longitudinal Studies program of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a former member on the Population Association Board of Directors. I also led implementation of the Institute for Social Research Strategic plan for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for three years.
I conduct research on the social stratification of aging and health with population-based survey data, and have published extensively on the social factors underlying health disparities by socioeconomic status, gender, and race/ethnicity across the life course. I have focused particularly on the links between employment and health in later life, including mental health, chronic disease and overall health status, and health behaviors. Some of my recent research and funding has centered on understanding these questions in the context of economic recessions, which disrupt career, economic, and health paths for many adults, but especially for socioeconomically-marginalized groups. I am PI of the 2020 Americans' Changing Lives Study ACLLIFE wave, which will collect full retrospective life histories including extensive information about life events from a cohort now in their late 50s, and a PI of the Michigan Recession and Recovery Study, a panel survey of adults in Southeast Michigan that has been tracking the life events and mental health of these individuals in the wake of the Great Recession of 2007-2009. Using these data, I have published on the influences of job loss, financial shocks, debt, housing instability, and material hardship, with a focus on creating life course measures of cumulative disadvantage for which retrospective or prospective life history data are essential.