RWJF Health & Society Scholar:
Area(s) of Expertise:
Jenna Nobles is a social demographer who studies issues of development, family dynamics, and child welfare. Much of her previous work examines these processes in resource-constrained settings. Her dissertation research examines the effects of parental labor migration on child development in Mexico, with a particular focus on child nutrition, growth, and access to health care. In related work, she has also examined shifting family formation processes during periods of economic and social change. Jenna’s work builds on existing literature to consider whether the use of interesting natural variation in population experiences can improve our understanding of the role of context in health. For example: Can the lifespan changes we observe when a country gains emancipation from outside rule tell us about the importance of political context for mortality? Does the destruction of community networks during a natural disaster allow us to estimate the role of social ties in psychological distress? When occupational hierarchies are rearranged in periods of economic collapse, can we learn about the link between status and physical functioning? Can systematic changes in labor migration patterns shed light on the importance of living arrangements for children’s development? Jenna’s investigation of these questions uses population data from the United States, northern Europe, Indonesia, and several Latin American countries and includes collaborations with local scholars in Epidemiology, Psychology, Economics, Anthropology, and Public Policy. Jenna comes to UC-Berkeley and UC-San Francisco with training in Sociology and Demography from UCLA and from Boston College with a B.A. in sociology in 2002.