Assistant Professor of Sociology and Axilrod Fellow Courtney Boen’s research focuses primarily on the social determinants of population health inequality, with particular attention to the social factors producing racial and socioeconomic health inequities. Utilizing biomarkers of physiological functioning and cellular aging and a variety of analytic techniques, my work aims to improve scientific understanding of how macro-level social inequality “gets under the skin” to produce health disparities from birth through late life. Currently, I am engaged in several projects that examine how exposure to racism-related stress in various domains of social life (e.g., in neighborhoods, in contacts with the criminal justice system, and in interpersonal interactions) contributes to racial disparities in pre-disease biological markers of health and aging. My other ongoing and previous studies further investigate the social factors producing racial and socioeconomic health disparities. I have examined how disparities in socioeconomic conditions—including differential access to wealth and exposure to early-life socioeconomic disadvantage—contribute to population health inequality. I have also collaborated on projects that assess how access to social relationships and exposure to relationship strain contribute to disparities in health and disease risk. My research has been published in Social Science and Medicine, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Biodemography and Social Biology, and the Journal of Aging and Health.
About the Donor
Richard A. Axilrod, WG’85, and Nancy M. Axilrod, parents, have made a $2 million gift to establish the Axilrod Term Fund in Health and Inequality.