I am a medical sociologist and social science researcher presently working at the intersections of sociology, science and technology studies, and pharmacy practice.
I completed my Doctorate in Sociology at the University of California, San Francisco in Autumn of 2016 and have recently taken up a postdoctoral position in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Reading, UK. My primary research interests include biomedicalization, particularly the biomedicalization of HIV prevention, with a specific focus on discourses of risk, biomedical surveillance, anticipation, and the situating of pharmaceutical and biomedical technologies within these discourses. My secondary research interests include discourses of risk and safety around pregnancy and birth.
I am a skilled qualitative researcher working primarily within the traditions of constructivist grounded theory (Kathy Charmaz) and situational analysis (Adele Clarke). I also have experience working with thematic analysis and narratives methods, including on mixed methods projects. I have been working professionally in the field of HIV social and behavioural research since 2004, first with the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior, and Prevention Studies (CHIBPS) at New York University, and later with the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS) at the University of California, San Francisco.
My doctoral dissertation is entitled, “Vital Politics and Anticipatory Practice of HIV Treatment as Prevention: The Discursive Work of the Biomedicalization of HIV Prevention.” This research involved designing and running a multi-sited qualitative study of the emerging discourses that are co-constitutive of HIV treatment as prevention. HIV treatment as prevention is an emerging biomedical prevention approach that seeks to utilise routine HIV testing, linkage to and engagement in HIV specialist care, and the consumption of antiretrovirals in order to suppress individuals’ viral loads, the number of viral copies circulating in the blood, greatly reducing or eliminating the risk of onward transmission of HIV. Drawing on interviews with HIV scientists, policymakers, clinicians, and leaders in HIV community advocacy, as well as ethnographic field work at three global HIV scientific meetings, my study explored the emerging professional narratives that are co-constitutive of HIV treatment as prevention. Through an inductive process of data collection and analysis, three broad analytic problem spaces emerged: the reconfiguring of HIV risk discourses through pharmacological non-infectiousness, transformations in biomedical surveillance practices via a prioritisation of viral suppression and viral load monitoring, and the construction of antiretrovirals themselves as technoscientific ‘things’ which both potentiate and disrupt their own use as prevention technologies.
The tentative findings from this research project have been presented at the 2015 and 2016 British Sociological Association Medical Sociology Conference and the 2016 Association for the Social Sciences and Humanities in HIV UK Conference. Several papers for submission to peer-reviewed publications are also in preparation.
At present, I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Pharmacy Practice at the School of Pharmacy of the University of Reading (UK). In this post, I am developing a project on ‘medication narratives’ drawing on the work of Art Frank (1995/2013) and others on ‘illness narratives;’ that is, how people – both ‘healthy’ and ‘ill’ – create stories about medicine taking that are emplotted within broader narratives of health and illness.
I have previously studied Sociology at the University of Delaware (B.A.) and received an M.A. from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University, with a focus on Global Public Health and HIV/AIDS. I most recently held a position as a lecturer in Global Public Health at NYU London, New York University’s London campus and have been self-employed providing various editing and research services on a consulting basis since 2011.
I am American by birth and grew up in the U.S., but having previously lived and worked in South Africa and in India, my family and I now call the South West of England home.
My full curriculum vitae is available by request.