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Sociology Professor Received Fulbright-Saastamoinen Foundation Distinguished Chair in Health Sciences Award


Barbara Katz Rothman will analzye a history of genetic disorders in Finland called “The Heritage Diseases”


Barbara Katz, sitting in front of a bookshelf, smiling, wearing a black blouse and necklace pendant

Barbarba Katz Rothman, PhD, Professor of Sociology, Public Health, Disability Studies and Women’s Studies at Baruch College’s Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, has been awarded a 2018-19 Fulbright-Saastamoinen Foundation Distinguished Chair in Health Sciences.

The Distinguished Chair position provides an American scholar with the opportunity to conduct research at the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) at the Faculty of Health Sciences. Katz Rothman will use her Distinguished Chair award in Finland studying a history of genetic disorders called “The Heritage Diseases.”

“I am particularly pleased that a Distinguished Chair in Health Sciences award goes to a sociologist – they called for specialists in metabolic disorders, and I deeply appreciate their valuing the sociological perspective on these inherited metabolic disorders,” Katz Rothman said. “The award is important because the work is. More and more genetic testing is made available, in clinical and in marketing settings, and the consequences need to be understood.”

In her research project, Katz Rothman wants to understand the social, emotional, and political implications of genetic testing, focused especially on the targeted population of pregnant people, but part of the larger selling of genetic information. Because she does not speak Finnish or Dutch, Katz Rothman will work with Finland doctoral students and junior colleagues to run and analyze focus groups with prenatal care providers there.  

Acclaimed Author

Katz Rothman has written books encompassing several fields including medical sociology, childbirth and midwifery issues, bioethics, race, disability, food science, the sociology of knowledge and the interactions between these factors.

Some of her most notable publications include: In Labor; The Tentative Pregnancy; Recreating Motherhood; The Book of Life; Weaving a Family: Untangling Race and Adoption; and Bun in the Oven: How the Food and Birth Movements Resist Industrialization.

According to Katz Rothman, The Tentative Pregnancy was one of the biggest inspirations for conducting this research project in Finland. This book examines the ways in which prenatal diagnosis changes women’s experiences of pregnancy.

Katz Rothman studied the experiences of pregnant women with the technology that detects fetal anomalies, which led her to the question of how the prenatal care providers saw this issue.


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