Past Forums

  Thursday, April 15, 2021
  12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
  Laura Hirshfield, PhD
  Identity Taxation in Academic Medicine: An examination of the extra labour performed by members of marginalized groups

Laura E. Hirshfield is an Associate Professor of Medical Education and Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She received her PhD in Sociology from the University of Michigan and her BA from Swarthmore College, where she studied Sociology/Anthropology and Education. Laura works closely with a variety of trainees, including undergraduates, medical students, residents, faculty, and graduate students (both in Health Professions Education and in Sociology). A sociologist and ethnographer by training, Laura is broadly interested in social interaction, identity, education, science, work/organizations, and medicine. Her research centers on gender and other forms of inequality in academic and clinical settings, particularly in the natural sciences and medicine. Her scholarship includes studies focusing on the "hidden labour" undertaken by and expected of members of marginalized groups in the workplace, cultural competence (broadly defined) in medical contexts (particularly related to trans patients), and socialization (especially regarding communication and emotions) in medical school.
Laura is the co-director of the PhD program in Curriculum Studies/HPE and the Associate Director of Graduate Studies for DME. Laura is course director for MHPE 504 (Leadership in Health Profession Education), and two electives (Leadership & Professional Identity and Interviewing & Ethnographic Methods). In the UGME & GME curriculum, she teaches primarily about inequality, identity, and bias, as well as patient-centered communication and empathy. Finally, Laura is a founding member of the Sociologists for Health Professions Education (, a group that aims to bridge disciplinary divides between health professions educators and sociologists.


  1. Laura E. Hirshfield & Tiffany D. Joseph (2012) ‘We need a woman, we need a black woman’: gender, race, and identity taxation in the academy. Gender and Education. 24 (2), 213–227. | Download the PDF »

  Thursday, March 18, 2021
  12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
  Sara Martel, PhD
  Moving Medicine Beyond Empathy to a Politics of Care

Sara Martel (she/her) is a Science Associate at the Institute for Better Health, Trillium Health Partners (Mississauga) and an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Communication, Culture, Information, & Technology at University of Toronto Mississauga. She received a PhD in the Communication & Culture Joint Graduate Program from York University/Ryerson University and is currently enrolled as a first-year student at the Toronto Centre for Psychotherapy and Counselling Education. She brings an interdisciplinary lens combining media studies, cultural studies, and critical theory to explore the social and cultural dimensions of health and illness. Her research ranges from patient and family experience, to medical education, to community-based participatory research methodology, connected by an interest in how health and illness are given meaning, by whom, and to what ends. Building on her doctoral research in neonatal bereavement photography, Sara holds a particular passion for understanding cultures of dying, death, grief, and mourning to inform end-of-life care.


  1. Chapters 1 & 2 from The Care Manifesto: The Politics of Interdependence. By The Care Collective (2020) London: Verso Publishing. | Download the PDF »

  Wednesday, January 20, 2021
  12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
  Tania Jenkins, PhD
  Doctors' Orders: The Myth of Meritocracy in Medicine

Tania Jenkins is an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in the department of sociology and a faculty research fellow at UNC's Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research. Previously, she worked as a Canadian Institutes of Health Research postdoc at the University of Chicago from 2016-2017, and received her PhD in Sociology from Brown University in May 2016. She has 15 years of experience studying medical professionals in a range of societal contexts. Her first book, Doctors' Orders: The Making of Status Hierarchies in an Elite Profession (Columbia University Press, 2020) examines the construction and consequences of status distinctions between physicians in the United States before, during, and after residency training. Her research been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), among others, and has appeared in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Social Science & Medicine and the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Her research interests include medical sociology, medical education, professions, social status, gender, stratification, ethics, qualitative methodologies, and social theory.


  1. Introduction and Chapter 6 from Doctors' Orders: The Making of Status Hierarchies in an Elite Profession. New York: Columbia University Press. Tania Jenkins | Download the Introduction PDF » | Download Chapter 6 PDF »

  Wednesday, February 17, 2021
  12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
  Kelly Underman, PhD
  The Pelvic Exam and the Politics of Care

Kelly Underman, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at Drexel University. Her research focuses on the social construction of bodies and emotions in health professions education. Her dissertation won the Simmons Award from the Medical Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association. She has published in Social Science & Medicine, Sociological Forum, Gender & Society, and elsewhere. Her current research examines well-being initiatives in the health professions.


  1. Introduction and Chapter 1 of Feeling Medicine How the Pelvic Exam Shapes Medical Training. New York University Press. Kelly Underman | Download the Introduction PDF » | Download Chapter 1 PDF »

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