EDITOR ANASTACIA SCHULHOFF, HUMANIST SOCIOLOGIST Biography: Dr. Anastacia Schulhoff joined the faculty of Appalachian State University in 2017 as an Assistant Professor of Sociology. She performs the duty of The Humanist Sociologist newsletter editor for the Association of Humanist Sociology. She also serves on the Journal of Aging Studies (JAS) as an Editorial Board Member and as the Department of Sociology Inclusive Excellence Liaison at AppState. Her research interests address a broad array of issues within the field of Sociology and Gerontology. She is currently working on several research projects that range from an analysis of older adult volunteers in the Appalachian High Country, a photovoice project that looks at the influence of COVID-19 on college students’ social networks, and a cultural gerontology project that centers upon tribal nursing homes, which was her dissertation project. In the latter, she will be completing a book manuscript for publication by 2021/22 about Native American CNAs, nurses, administrators, and residents working, living, and creating identities and culture within a tribal nursing home.
Reflexive Statement: As a graduate student at USF, I heard about AHS from Shawn Bingham who invited Marc Settembrino and I to the 2010 annual conference. He lured us in by stating, “it’s a sociological professional organization that has a bunch of older hippies and activists in it. It’s a great place to find a community with like minded sociologists.” Little did we know how at home we would feel at our very first AHS meeting. Each year that I attend the annual conference I continue to find AHS members who are kind, caring, and supportive colleagues. They do not judge or use hyper-criticism to comment upon my work. Rather, I find a group of colleagues who are there to support me as a scholar, activist, and fully embodied person who lives beyond the ivory tower. At our meetings we have enjoyable intellectual and humanist grounded conversations with one another. Indeed, I have often told others after returning home from our annual conference that “AHS is a place to feed the soul, not just the vita.”
As an educator of health science, public health, social work, and sociology students, I focus on inquiries about how health disparities and social vulnerabilities (poverty, racism, stigma, homophobia, sexism, etc.) affect minority groups’ health and lived experiences. As an expert in community-based participatory research and in using qualitative and visual patient-driven methods, I believe these methods allow the experiences of people with stigmatized illness or marginalized social positions to inform innovative public health and sociological questions. These approaches also provide the space for participants to come up with their own community and policy solutions. My goal is to honor research participants' knowledge and lived experiences and for the products of our research to shape the development of effective, patient-centered, culturally competent health programs and social policies that lessen the burden of health disparities among vulnerable communities.