Susan Bodnar-Deren appointed chair of Department of Sociology
Congratulations to Susan Bodnar-Deren, Ph.D., in the Department of Sociology on her recent election and appointment to department chair, effective July 1, 2021. We’d like to thank Jennifer Johnson, Ph.D., the outgoing chair, for her work in the Department of Sociology.
Bodnar-Deren has worked at VCU for the past nine years, serving most recently as an associate professor and associate chair in the Department of Sociology. She is also the co-director of perinatal mental health research at VCU’s Institute for Women’s Health and an assessment co-chair of the CHS Committee on Racial Equity (CORE).
Bodnar-Deren is a medical sociologist whose research focuses on the life course and social determinants of health and health behaviors and the ways that macro-social factors affect individual-level health and well-being. Broadly, using community-based participatory research methods, her research takes a life course perspective in the areas of perinatal health disparities and social psychology all within medical sociology, but her work spans various sub-disciplines, including behavioral health, health psychology and social policy. She has been a co-investigator on two NIH funded interventions to reduce postpartum depression, and is involved in a number of community-engaged research projects and interventions aimed at reducing postpartum depression and increasing breastfeeding initiation and duration.
Bodnar-Deren is also instrumental in teaching many of the service learning courses in the Department of Sociology, such as Sociology of Aging and the Life Course, as well as Medical Sociology, Sociology of Mental Disorder and Senior Seminar.
In addition to her role at VCU, Bodnar-Deren is also an affiliate researcher at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Prior to coming to VCU, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in the Departments of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Health and Population Health; and an excellence fellow at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research at Rutgers University. Bodnar-Deren also has more than a decade of experience in human and social services, serving most recently as a social services and policy consultant and director of senior services for two large nonprofit agencies in New Jersey.