Courtney Boen, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Courtney Boen

Assistant Professor of Sociology


McNeil 232


Courtney Boen is an Assistant Professor and Axilrod Faculty Fellow in the Department of Sociology and the Graduate Group in Demography at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also a Research Associate in the Penn Population Studies Center and Population Aging Research Center and an Affiliate in the Center for the Study of Ethnicity, Race, and Immigration. Dr. Boen’s research focuses primarily on the social determinants of population health inequality, with particular attention to the social factors producing racial, immigrant-native, and socioeconomic health inequities. Her work aims to improve scientific understanding how macro-level social inequalities shape micro-level biophysiological processes to produce health disparities from birth through late life. Currently, Dr. Boen is leading several research projects examining how structures of racial domination and immigrant exclusion pattern stress exposure across domains of social life (e.g., in contacts with the criminal justice system, in exposure to immigration enforcement activities, in exclusion from processes of wealth accumulation) in ways that shape population health. Her research has been published in a number of journals, including the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Social Science and Medicine, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, The Journals of Gerontology, Biodemography and Social Biology, the Journal of Aging and Health, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention, and the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Dr. Boen received her PhD in sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her MPH from Tufts University.


Ph.D., Sociology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2017
M.A., Sociology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2013
M.P.H., Health Services Management and Policy, Tufts University, 2007
B.A., Sociology and Community Health, Tufts University, 2006

Research Interests

Population Health, Racial Health Inequality, Aging and the Life Course, Social Demography, Medical Sociology, Race and Racism

Selected Publications

2021    Hoke, Morgan and Courtney Boen. “The Health Impacts of Eviction: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health.” Social Science and Medicine 273: 113742.

2020    Boen, Courtney. “Criminal Justice Contacts and Psychophysiological Functioning in Early Adulthood: Health Inequality in the Carceral State.” The Journal of Health and Social Behavior 61(3): 290–30.

2020    Boen, Courtney, Karen Kozlowski, and Karolyn Tyson. “Toxic Schools?: School Exposures during Adolescence and Trajectories of Health through Young Adulthood.” SSM-Population Health 11: 100623.

2020    Boen, Courtney, Lisa Keister, and Brian Aronson. “Beyond Net Worth: Racial Differences in Wealth Portfolios and Black-White Health Inequality across the Life Course.” The Journal of Health and Social Behavior 61(2): 153–169.

2020    Y. Claire Yang, Kristen Schorpp, Courtney Boen, Karen Gerken, and Kathleen Mullan Harris. “Socioeconomic Status and Biological Risks for Health and Illness Across the Life Course.” The Journal of Gerontology: Series B, Social Sciences. 75(3):613-624.

2019    Boen, Courtney and Robert A. Hummer. “Longer—but Harder—Lives?: The Hispanic Health Paradox and the Social Determinants of Racial, Ethnic, and Immigrant-Native Health Disparities from Mid- through Late-Life.” The Journal of Health and Social Behavior 60(4):434-52.

2019    Boen, Courtney. “Death by a Thousand Cuts: Stress Exposure and Black-White Disparities in Physiological Functioning in Late Life.” The Journal of Gerontology: Series B, Social Sciences. Forthcoming.

2018    Boen, Courtney, David Barrow, Jeannette Bensen, Laura Farnan, Adrian Gerstel, Laura Hendrix, and Y.Claire Yang.  “Social Relationships, Inflammation, and Cancer Survival.” Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention 27(5): 541-549.

2017    Yang, Y. Claire, Moira Johnson, Kristen Schorpp, Courtney Boen, and Kathleen Mullan Harris. “Young Adult Risk Factors for Cancer: Obesity, Inflammation, and Socio-Behavioral Mechanisms.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine 53(3): S21-S29.

2017    Yang, Y. Claire, Karen Gerken, Kristen Schorpp, Courtney Boen, and Kathleen Mullan Harris. “Early Life Socioeconomic Status and Adult Physiological Functioning: A Life Course Examination of Biosocial Mechanisms.” Biodemography and Social Biology 63(2): 87-103.

2016    Boen, Courtney. “The Role of Socioeconomic Factors in Black-White Health Inequities Across the Life Course: Point-in-time Measures, Long-term Exposures, and Differential Health Returns.” Social Science & Medicine 170: 63-76.

2016    Boen, Courtney, and Y. Claire Yang. “The Physiological Impacts of Wealth Shocks in Late Life:  Evidence from the Great Recession.” Social Science & Medicine 150: 221-230.

2016    Yang, Y. Claire, Courtney Boen, Karen Gerken, Ting Li, Kristen Schorpp, and Kathleen Mullan Harris. “Social Relationships and Physiological Determinants of Longevity across Human Life Span.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113(3): 578-583.

2015    Yang, Y. Claire, Courtney Boen, and Kathleen Mullan Harris. “Social Relationships and Hypertension in Late Life: Evidence from a Nationally Representative Longitudinal Study of Older Adults.” Journal of Aging and Health 27(3): 403-431.

CV (file)