Elaine M. Hernandez

Elaine M. Hernandez

Assistant Professor, Sociology


  • Ph.D., Sociology, University of Minnesota, 2011
  • M.P.H., University of Minnesota, 2004
  • B.A., University of Notre Dame, 2002

About Elaine M. Hernandez

In my research, I inquire about the structural forces that contribute to social inequalities in health. Why is the association between socioeconomic status, gender, race/ethnicity, and health so enduring? How do social inequalities in health emerge and persist across generations? Answering these questions contributes to our understanding of the basic social processes that create and reproduce unequal health outcomes across different sociodemographic groups. To date, I have primarily focused on (1) examining the persistent association between sociodemographic factors and health and (2) isolating key points when sociodemographic differences or inequalities begin (i.e., emerge) or are reproduced over time. I use a variety of methodological approaches and data to creatively examine and explore these associations, and my research has appeared in the Journal of Health & Social Behavior, Social Science & Medicine, Society & Mental Health, the Journal of Aging and Health, Social Forces and the Population Bulletin.

My training is interdisciplinary, with degrees in public health (MPH) and sociology (Ph.D.) from the University of Minnesota, as well as postdoctoral training in health demography from the University of Texas at Austin Population Research Center (NIH-NICHD F32 Kirschstein Individual National Research Service Award). I teach graduate and undergraduate level courses related to the sociology of health and illness (medical sociology), including courses that help prepare premedical students for the revised medical college admission test.