DISSERTATION: BLEEDING FOR PAY
The $11 billion annual market of plasma pharmaceuticals draws a substantial percentage of its profits from plasma acquired at commercial plasma clinics, which are disproportionately located in extremely disadvantaged neighborhoods. The majority of these plasma donations are not used for direct transfusions but are instead processed into pharmaceutical products. With plasma donation expected to outpace all other blood collection by 2018, pharmaceutical profits will grow exponentially thanks to the blood procured from racially and economically marginalized groups who receive minimal compensation for their donations. My research focuses on how the monetary incentive associated with commercial plasma donation stigmatizes donors and commodifies their bodies in the pharmaceutical marketplace. This mixed methods study explores how paid plasma donation reproduces racial and economic inequalities within growing biomedical markets.
GENETIC TESTING AS CAPITAL
As part of my larger interest in cultural understandings of the body, I have been working with Penny Edgell and Kathleen Hull to analyze findings from their Talking About Social Controversies Project. As part of this project, 12 focus groups in metro areas around the United States were asked to debate when and how to regulate the genetic testing of embryos prior to implantation. Among the findings, we note how people discuss genetic testing as an evolving form of capital, as well as how genetic testing raises ethical questions about who should or should not suffer through a wide range of genetic illnesses. We are currently working on two papers about these findings, and have presented preliminary findings at the 2017 American Sociological Association annual meeting.
INNOVATIVE HEALTH CARE
For 16 months I served as the primary research assistant for the LifeCourse Project at Allina Health, where we studied how medical professionals and institutions responded to the introduction of new health care workers meant to innovate health care delivery. Findings from this work are published in the Journal of Interprofessional Care, with other manuscripts forthcoming.