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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

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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

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.

Sherlock, Phillip R

Phillip R Sherlock

Research Assistant Professor of Medical Social Sciences

Dr. Phillip Sherlock is a psychometrician and a national expert on child care accessibility, parent selection of child care, and research methodology related to the use of integrated data for research and policy purposes. He was previously with the South Carolina Department of Education and received his PhD in Educational Psychology and Research from the University of South Carolina. He is a strong advocate of research-practice partnerships and has many years of experience collaborating directly with State policymakers in both South Carolina and Florida to develop and implement a Child Care Access Index that measures the extent to which vulnerable children and families have reasonable access to high quality early education and care. As a developmental scientist, Dr. Sherlock is an expert in differential effect measurement via person-centered latent variable models, which are useful for understanding heterogeneity in populations with the aims of appraising and developing targeted interventions.


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