Caitlin Lutz '10
Caitlin's article, "States Struggle with Physician-Assisted Suicide Laws," has been published in the May 2012 journal for Widener University's Health Law Society Program.
Three of Moravian's Sociology majors presented their work at the
2012 Eastern Sociological Society Meeting in New York City.
82nd Annual Meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society
Millennium Broadway Hotel
New York, NY
February 23-26, 2012
Storied Lives: Culture, Structure, and Narrative
The 2012 meeting of the ESS considered stories across a range of settings—at the workplace and in families, in communities and in religion, about immigration and about race, in the nation and across borders, about crime and about the law, and, not least, in the construction of both personal and collective identities. The meetings examined the conditions under which men and women tell stories but also the conditions those stories help create.
Inequality Studies in Health Care Access: A look at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
We know health inequality is experienced by a significant proportion of American citizens, especially among the 15.1% who fall below the poverty line in the United States in 2010 (National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan). This number, however, underestimates the number of economically disadvantaged individuals in the US. We know that about one-third of the US population live in households with perilously low incomes according to a recent report by the US Census Bureau as measured by the SPM, Supplemental Poverty Measure. But what is the illness burden carried by the poor? What are their self-identified healthcare needs, and can we identify ways to better match current health support systems such a screening programs, free clinics and preventive services with individuals who desperately need these services? Are community outreach programs providing the right kinds of services? Can the poor even access these services or do they face significant barriers due to factors such as lack of transportation? In this study, I collected health and illness profiles from over 80 patrons from a local food bank in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, whose mission is "to provide care, services and facilities to the homeless, the hungry, the mentally ill and the poor." Through a series of survey, I asked the patrons about their illness burdens, health concerns and needs, access to services, insurance and dental health in addition to descriptions of some behaviors including smoking, diet and sleep patterns. I set out to both collect the narratives of these patrons' lives while simultaneously exploring the structural and cultural constraints on their access to needed services. Not only does this population carry a significantly greater illness burden than non-poor residents of Bethlehem, but they also face significant but not insurmountable barriers to institutions that could potentially help them.
Scholastic Success for Rural Alaskan Youth
When exposed to a new social environment, people may feel distress. We colloquially refer to this experience of distress as "culture shock." When people's environments change, the rules that govern their behavior and the structure and culture which helps make sense of their lives may also change, leaving them to feel at least for some period of time out of place and adrift. For this study, I explored how culture shock impacts rural Alaskans pursing higher education in urban settings. I interviewed and surveyed 40 high school students to predict the level and pace of college work, and I interviewed and surveyed 40 current college students about their current academic and social college experiences and associated levels of stress. In this research, I track the factors associated with different stress levels including family size, socioeconomic status and the choice to participate in rural student support services. Lack of preadmission exposure to urban environments and to college life lead rural Alaskan students to significantly underestimate the demands, both academic and social/cultural, of college life.
Religious Speech in America v. American Speech Law
Interpretation of what "free speech" is in the United States leads to the differing of opinions by social actors. The activities of the Westboro Baptist Church have been labeled loathsome by much of the American community. Still, some (including the Supreme Court) hold that their military protests and religiously fueled objections are protected in American society under the First Amendment. Can it be argued that the lack of clarity within this amendment is to blame for the differing of opinions among social actors regarding this religious group? And does there exist a sort of silent, unspoken protection for religious speech in America?