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Assistant Professor, Applied Health Sciences

Faculty photo for Maureen Benjamins

I am a social epidemiologist with teaching appointments at the Parkinson School as well as Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. I co-directed the Sinai Community Health Survey 2.0, which was one of the largest community-driven, face-to-face health surveys in Chicago history. I am based at the Sinai Urban Health Institute where I serve as the Senior Research Fellow. In addition to teaching and research, I developed and direct the Sinai Population Health Institute and two internship programs for medical students. 

Research Interests

My research explores how social factors, like race or religion, influence health outcomes. I have led several studies to understand health equity nationally and in Chicago. Currently, I am leading a comprehensive study of racial disparities in death rates and life expectancy across the largest cities in the U.S. 


Education
  • BS in Sociology, Duke University
  • MA in Sociology, University of Texas, Austin
  • PhD in Sociology, University of Texas, Austin

What prompted you to pursue your field?

I have been studying racial health inequities for almost 20 years. I have led several initiatives to study this in Chicago (Sinai Community Health Survey 2.0) and nationally (Unequal Cities initiative).

Why is this area of study important at this point in time?

Given the increased attention being paid to racial justice today, having population-based data to highlight the entrenched disparities is critical. However, it is even more important to ground this data in a historical perspective, acknowledging the deep-rooted social factors that have caused the "unfair and unjust" differences we still see.