Claudia Chaufan, MD, PhD
My research includes the sociopolitical and economic factors and forces that shape health and other inequalities in basic human needs at a local and global levels, international comparisons of health systems, the politics of health and social policy, and the sociology of human genomics. My former career in medicine has led me to use type 2 diabetes and obesity as case studies to illuminate the dynamics underlying these factors and forces.
Since 2009, my research has included selected areas in the Middle East (Palestine), Asia (Taiwan), and Latin America (Argentina, Cuba, Venezuela). I am interested in studying how the global architecture of economic (IMF, World Bank), military (NATO) and political/policy (UN/WHO) institutions, as well as the dynamics of imperialism / colonialism / neocolonialism, shape health and other social inequalities in these nations. I am particularly interested in these processes as they pertain to the history of, and current developments in, popular left movements in Latin America. In my view, these movements have shown that indeed, “another world is possible”, and I do my best to incorporate their lessons into my academic work, including my teaching. Other intellectual interests include the history, philosophy and sociology of science, power/discourse, and the scholarship of teaching and learning.
I teach courses in the sociology of health and illness, the politics of global health policy, comparative health care policies and systems, and the politics of health and science. I’ve also taught sociological theory and the sociology of power. One of the greatest pleasures of academia as a profession has been the bonds I have developed with my students and mentees, to the point that I can hardly imagine my scholarship as separate from my teaching and mentoring. Both activities jointly challenge me to clarify my ideas, seek better ways to communicate them, and sharpen my ability to articulate the power of the sociological lens that has so deeply transformed my intellectual, professional, civic, and personal lives.