Scientific Investigation: Social Sciences Scholarship Track

Social Sciences Scholarship Track Overview

The Social Sciences Track is a component of the Scientific Investigation Track of the Scholarship & Discovery program. The Social Sciences in Medicine S&D Track is an integrated program of research and training experiences designed to expose students to quantitative and qualitative empirical approaches to understanding how people and systems work within medicine. From micro-interaction research at the dyadic level (e.g., doctor/patient communication about end-of-life wishes) to macro-level research at the national level (e.g., regional relationships between the prevalence of faith-based hospitals and access to prenatal services), and using ideas and theories from the social sciences, medical ethics, and related fields, students in this Track have the opportunity to work with the best researchers in the country.  The Social Sciences Track experience is evolving but typically combines didactic, seminar, clinical, and research components with the goal of providing students the skills to ask and answer complex questions about health-related phenomena. This Track offers a “home base” for those wishing to pursue advanced training, conduct a mentored research or service project, and connect with faculty in the medical center and across the University. 


Meet the Track Leader

Valerie Press, MD, MPH

Physician Photo

Dr. Press is a hospitalist scholar whose research interests include health literacy, health disparities, adolescent health, women’s health, and community outreach. Her current research projects focus on patient self-management education and health literacy in patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Her policy interests have led to her active involvement with the American College of Physicians, she currently serves as the Chair of the Council of Young Physicians for the Illinois Northern Chapter.


Social Science Student Ambassadors

Annabel Boeke

CYP2D6 Metabolizer Status: Implementing Pharmacogenomics to Alter Prescribing Behavior

Mentored by Dr. Peter O'Donnell, MD, Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology

Ava Ferguson

Olfaction and Aging as it Relates to Health Disparities: An Analysis Within the NSHAP Dataset

Mentored by Dr. Jayant Pinto, MD, Department of Surgery, Section of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery

Colleen Kelly

Validation of Interactive Video Module Education for Teaching Inhaler Technique

Mentored by Dr. Valerie Press, MD, MPH, Department of Medicine, Section of General Internal Medicine

Student Work

Annabel Boeke

Impact of Preemptive CYP2D6 Genotyping: Results from an Institutional Pharmacogenomics (PGX) Program (abstract)

Ava Ferguson

Pre-exam factors influencing young women's experiences of their first pelvic exam (poster)

Implications of the First Pelvic Exam on Adolescent and Young Women's Future Health-Seeking Behaviors (abstract)

Colleen Kelly

Virtual Teach-To-Goal Adaptive Learning of Inhaler Technique for Inpatients with Asthma or COPD (publication)