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Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Department of Medical Social Sciences

Supporting highly multidisciplinary, collaborative research efforts.


In the Department of Medical Social Sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, we leverage the social sciences, such as psychology, sociology, anthropology and economics, to create and apply innovations that improve the health of our community and our society. We are leaders in health measurement, quality-of-life measures, outcomes science and statistical tools to support clinical research.

Incorporating social science into biomedical research, mobilizing patients to participate in their care and acknowledging the emotional component of treatment are becoming more common practices as the value of these elements becomes more apparent.”

David Cella, PhD
Director, Department of Medical Social Sciences

Read a message from our director

Explore Our Department


Our faculty members participate in classroom teaching and research training at Feinberg, as well as professional and public education efforts locally, nationally and internationally.

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Research Hubs

Our research portfolio is grouped into four defining scientific hubs; explore the hubs and our faculty members' diverse research interests.

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Core Services

We offer core services and expertise in outcomes research, including questionnaire and survey development and technical design. 

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Our Institutes

The Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing and the Institute for Innovations in Developmental Sciences are university-wide institutes led by our faculty. These institutes serve as scientific and community hubs for cultivating talent, collaboration and innovation at the intersections of traditional disciplines.

Faculty Spotlight

Wood, Christine

Christine Wood

Research Assistant Professor of Medical Social Sciences

Dr. Christine Wood works in the areas of science and technology studies, medical sociology, and gender and sexuality studies. She received her BA from Barnard College, Columbia University and her PhD in Sociology from Northwestern University. Her current research focuses on career decision-making in the life sciences; the adaptability of scientific and conceptual objects across institutional boundaries; and the intersectionality of gender, race, and class in shaping scientific work and careers. She has published in social science and academic medical journals and her reader on new approaches to gender and sexuality studies is forthcoming later this year.

Chorniy, Anna

Anna Chorniy

Research Assistant Professor of Medical Social Sciences

As an applied micro-economist, Dr. Chorniy’s research interests are empirical in nature and focus on the economics of health care. She graduated with a PhD in Economics from Clemson University (2015) and completed several years of Postdoctoral training at Princeton University Center for Health and Wellbeing prior to joining Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr Chorniy studies the impact of public health insurance programs on children’s health and wellbeing, physician agency and treatment choices, the relationship between health insurance and labor market outcomes, and industrial organization of health care markets.

If you are interested in collaborating, you can reach out Dr Chorniy here.

Beach, Lauren B

Lauren B Beach

Research Assistant Professor of Medical Social Sciences

Dr. Lauren Beach is the Associate Director of the Evaluation, Data Integration, and Technical Assistance (EDIT) program within the Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Research and Wellbeing (ISGMH). She investigates the epidemiology of chronic physical health conditions over the life course among diverse sexual and gender minority (SGM) populations and people living with HIV (PLWH). Dr. Beach holds a K12 award from the Third Coast Center for AIDS Research to investigate social and biological mechanisms contributing to heart failure with preserved ejection fraction among PLWH.

You can follow her on Twitter @laurenbbeach.

Lewis-Thames, Marquita

Marquita Lewis-Thames

Research Assistant Professor of Medical Social Sciences

Dr. Lewis-Thames is a social-behavioral researcher with an interest in understanding the role of social determinants of health on cancer disease management for rural residents and African-Americans with an emphasis on using community-engaged approaches. Her current appointment is as a Research Assistant Professor in the MSS and the Center for Community Health (CCH). Her research focuses on improving survivorship outcomes through the examination of patient-provider communication with rural survivors, the implementation of survivorship care plans for rural and racial/ethnic minority cancer survivors,  and supplementing survivorship care with patient navigation for rural survivors. Through her community-engaged research in rural Southern Illinois, she brings a host of community and healthcare provider partners to continue to nurture and build community-academic partnerships. She received her PhD in Health Education/Health Promotion and completed a postdoc at Washington University through the Cancer Control T32 postdoctoral program.


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