Debra Umberson is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin.
Professor Umberson's research focuses on social factors that influence population health with a particular emphasis on aging and life course change, marital and family ties, and gender and racial variation in health disparities. Her recent research, supported by a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator in Health Policy Research Award and the National Institute on Aging, examines how marital relationships affect health-related behavior and health care, and how those processes vary across gay, lesbian, and heterosexual unions. She is the past editor of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior and current Chair of the Medical Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association. Dr. Umberson is an elected Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, the 2015 recipient of the Matilda White Riley Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Sociological Association's Section on Aging and the Life Course and the 2016 recipient of the Leonard I. Pearlin Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Sociological Study of Mental Health from the American Sociological Association's Section on Mental Health. In her newest research, she focuses on black/white differences in exposure to the death of family members across the life course and the implications for long-term health and mortality disparities.
Professor Umberson participates in the Population Research Center's Primary Research Areas and lab meetings for (1) Population Health and (2) Demography: Family and Intergenerational Relationships.