My research and teaching interests focus on understanding patterns of seeking, giving, and paying for care, in the United States and elsewhere. Using ethnographic methods, in my current research I investigate how different institutions in health care financing determine the price of human suffering in the United States. As part of this project, I study the work of people, who are charged with preparing, processing, and paying for medical bills. These workers, such as medical assistants, coders, and medical billers, are central to the delivery of care, but little is known about the conditions under which they carry out their work, how they incorporate health reform policies in their work, and how their activities affects patients’ accessibility and affordability of care.
This project builds upon previous research on transgender care delivery. Transgender care delivery is a critical field in U.S. medicine that raises fundamental questions about the recognition of human suffering, the price of illness, and the psychiatric labelling of human diversity.
Both projects investigate the mundane, extraordinary, and contested labor that is carried out in response to and as a result of the ways nation states allocate or reduce collective resources to alleviate individual suffering.