Katherine (Kate) Weatherford Darling is a sociologist working across the boundaries of the sociology of health, illness and disability, and feminist science studies.Kate cares about bringing social justice and health inequalities to the center of discussions about the ethics and politics of biomedicine. Her research examines how chronic illness and complex disease are transformed by biomedical science and health policy in the U.S. In her dissertation (2016), she asks what it means for HIV to be defined, managed and experienced as a chronic illness in U.S. healthcare and policy. She ethnographically traces how people living with HIV and their healthcare providers are navigating biomedical bureaucracies, grappling with new insurance markets and attempting to control healthcare costs. Adele Clarke, Janet Shim, Howard Pinderhughes and Jenny Reardon served on her dissertation committee. She was in residence at the Brocher Foundation in Geneva, Switzerland in Winter 2017 to extend her research into a book project.
Kate began her training in at UC Berkeley in the College of Natural Resources, where she studied Molecular Environmental Biology and volunteered at a feminist health clinic. She studied abroad in Santiago, Chile and then investigated the health effects of air pollution in New York City at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health. She completed her doctorate in Sociology at University of California, San Francisco and moved to University of California, Santa Cruz in Fall 2016.
While a graduate student, she collaborated on research projects at UCSF and the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics. Through these collaborations, she has examined concepts of race/ethnicity in gene-environment interaction research, the history of race in genetics after World War II, and new frameworks for examining implicated values in biomedical research.
Kate grew up in Santa Cruz County and lives in San Francisco with her family. She enjoys swimming, hiking, camping, gardening and home-brewing. Her parents are very proud UCSC alumni.