Social Research on Healthcare Lab Members

Principal Investigator: Lindsay Berkowitz

Current lab projects:

Chronic illness and Healthcare:
a) how chronically ill individuals navigate healthcare institutions
b) how healthcare institutions are changing in relation to increases in chronic illness and multimorbidity, especially through the recent models of “coordinated” or “integrated” care.
Women’s Health: 
a) how sociocultural and political-economic factors shape women’s health and how women’s healthcare is conceived of.
Federal Disability, Chronic Pain and Multimorbidity:
a) how chronic pain and multimorbidity are evaluated in the disability determination process for SSDI, focused especially on illnesses and symptoms that are invisible and have “subjective” or “contested” evidence
*The research is part of the U.S. Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) Improving Disability Determination Process Grant Program.
Medical Pluralism and Integrative Medicine:

a) how globalization affects what medical systems are available in the US and how they interact and integrate with one another.

Lab Members:

David Taylor

David is a third year studying Sociology. He hopes to understand the role of intersectionalities in shaping patient interactions with the healthcare system. Currently, he volunteers in the Berkeley Free Clinic’s Gay Men’s Health Collective and at Richmond RotaCare, two safety net clinics in the East Bay. By working in the Social Research on Healthcare Lab, David hopes to understand how chronic illness impacts people’s lives. In the future, David hopes to become a Physician Assistant and pursue a Master of Public Health.

Irene Liu

800_3453EditIrene Liu is a second year Molecular and Cell Biology major interested in how chronic pain patients navigate the current healthcare system and ways to improve the overall patient experience. Previously, she has looked at the ways integrative medicine can offer alternative and supplementary modalities of care, but is currently focused on how doctors and patients construct narratives for pain and other chronic illnesses. She hopes that through her experience in the lab, she will gain the understanding to become a more effective and compassionate medical practitioner in the future.

IMG_20171230_165939Kathy Lui

Kathy is a fourth year undergraduate student studying Nutritional Sciences. She is interested in the subjectivity and uncertainty in medicalization and decision-making processes. She hopes to continue to pursue research and work related to community health, especially with regards to people who are often marginalized by traditional institutions and forms of healthcare.


Lauren Vetter

IMG_1059 2Lauren is a 4th year undergraduate student studying Public Health with a minor in Public Policy and has been a part of the Social Research on Health Care Lab since fall 2015. She originally began research studying care coordination as a mechanism to improve quality of care for chronically ill patients. She has since become interested in policies that financially incentivize better quality of care. Her role as a intern this past summer under the Director of Post Acute Care at Sutter Health sparked her interest in how hospitals respond to these policies and attempt to better coordinate care in the fragmented US health care system. She is currently working on her senior thesis project that uses an ethnographic case study approach to study the effects of the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program.

Sasha Nickman

IMG_6660Sasha Nickman is a second year intended Public Health major. Sasha has participated in the Field Study Internship, in which she shadowed a Pediatric Gastroenterologist at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland. Currently, she works as a Health Advocate at Highland Hospital in Oakland, helping financially challenged and immigrant patients navigate the health system, lending assistance in applying for low income housing and food, and giving referrals to non-profit law offices to gain worker rights.  Sasha is passionate about patient advocacy and ultimately hopes to apply this passion in areas of public health, medicine and social services.


Pauline Simes

img_8495Pauline graduated from UC Berkeley in December 2017 with a degree in psychology. She was a research assistant at the Social Research on Healthcare lab for two years. She also did research at The interdisciplinary Center for Healthy Workplaces to study worker wellbeing. Since graduating, she moved to Madrid, Spain where she is learning Spanish. Pauline has a particular interest in global health policy. She hopes to pursue a master’s degree in Public Health.

Dana Yizhaky

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Dana graduated from UC Berkeley in May 2017 with a degree in Social Welfare. After working at the Social Research on Healthcare Lab, Dana went on a three-month study abroad program focused on community and environmental health in Australia and the Solomon Islands where she conducted a capstone project focused around dengue fever in the Solomon Islands. She continues to explore the relationship between the environment, social inequalities, and health disparities. Since graduating Dana has received her Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) licensure. She hopes to pursue a master’s degree as a physician’s assistant in the coming years. 

Whitney Brymwitt

Whitney is a fourth year Psychology major interested in finding a relationship between brain plasticity and social change. After she worked at the Social Research on Healthcare Lab, she became even more passionate about finding ways to use science to improve society. During her undergrad, she has worked on research, shadowed a psychiatrist, and been active in journalism. Once she graduates Berkeley, she hopes to go to graduate school to research the neurobiological processes associated with brain plasticity and development. With this information, she hopes to discover programs and techniques that can foster more compassion during development, thus ideally promoting positive social change.

Jessica Phan

Nikki Kalili

Olivia Ortiz