DME Health Humanities Faculty

Laura E. Hirshfield, PhD

Associate Professor in DME, Co-director of the PhD program in Curriculum Studies/HPE and the Associate Director of Graduate Studies for DME Department of Medical Education
Website: Laura’s Personal Website
Photo of Laura E. Hirshfield PhD

Biographical Info

Curriculum Vitae

Laura E. Hirshfield is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Education and a faculty affiliate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Michigan and her B.A. from Swarthmore College, where she studied Sociology/Anthropology and Education. In her work at UIC, Laura works closely with a variety of trainees, including undergraduates, medical students, residents, faculty, and graduate students (both in Health Professions Education and in Sociology). A sociologist and ethnographer by training, Laura is broadly interested in social interaction, identity, education, science, work/organizations, and medicine. Her research centers on gender and other forms of inequality in academic and clinical settings, particularly in the natural sciences and medicine. As a result, her workplace is basically her fieldsite! Her main research includes studies focusing on the “hidden labor” undertaken by and expected of members of marginalized groups in the workplace, cultural competence (broadly defined) in medical contexts (particularly related to trans patients), and socialization (especially regarding communication and emotions) in medical school.

Laura is the co-director of the PhD program in Curriculum Studies/HPE and the Associate Director of Graduate Studies for DME. Laura is course director for MHPE 504 (Leadership in Health Profession Education), and two electives (Leadership & Professional Identity and Interviewing & Ethnographic Methods). In the UGME & GME curriculum, she teaches primarily about inequality, identity, and bias, as well as patient-centered communication and empathy.  Laura is a member of the AERA Division I executive committee (Mentoring Committee Chair) and is a founding member of the Sociologists for Health Professions Education (, a group that aims to bridge disciplinary divides between health professions educators and sociologists.

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Categories: Department of Medical Education, DME Faculty, Health Humanities, Master of Health Professions Education

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