Laurin Bixby

Laurin Bixby is a White woman with shoulder-length brown hair. She is wearing glasses and a blue shirt. Laurin is seated in her power wheelchair outside of an academic building.

2019 Cohort

I am a PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, jointly pursuing an MA degree in Statistics through the Wharton School. I also am part of Health Policy Research Scholars, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation leadership development program that supports doctoral students whose research helps build healthier and more equitable communities.

My research focuses on how ableism and other systems of inequality perpetuate structural discrimination and health inequities. My thesis focused on how socioeconomic status modifies the relationship between children’s disability and maternal health, arguing that instead of viewing disabled children as burdens on their families, scholars and policymakers need to shift their focus to how ableism and poverty burden disabled people and their families. My recent work addresses the intersection of disability, race, and gender in the carceral state, revealing how ableism, racism, and sexism are infused throughout the carceral system to confine and exclude disabled individuals from society through a variety of institutions. My dissertation work examines how ableism becomes embedded in structures and intersects with other systems of oppression to create and maintain relational inequalities that disproportionately harm multiply marginalized disabled people. This research illuminates how disability-based inequalities vary at the intersections of other axes of stratification, how they vary over time and geography, and how they vary depending on state policies and political contexts, particularly Medicaid and Long-Term Services and Supports policies. I primarily use quantitative methods and conduct statistical analyses in R and Stata. I also have experience with policy analysis, in-depth interviewing, content analysis, and program evaluation. Through my research, I aim to illuminate patterns of inequality that can be translated into policy solutions and structural changes that promote disability justice. Outside of my doctoral studies, you can find me experiencing #DisabledJoy through dancing, storytelling, and sewing costumes.


B.A., Sociology, Furman University, 2019

M.A., Statistics, University of Pennsylvania, 2023

Research Interests

Disability, Population Health, Health and Social Policy, Quantitative Methodology, Medical Sociology

Courses Taught

University of Pennsylvania

SOCI 2450: Poverty, Race, and Health (TA)

WH 297: Arts, Entertainment, and Media Sector (TA)

SOCI 175: Medical Sociology (TA)

Furman University

MXP 202: Science and Culture of Happiness (TA)

SOC 262: Social Determinants of Health (TA)

Selected Publications

Bixby, Laurin. 2023. “Disability is Not a Burden: The Relationship between Early Childhood Disability and Maternal Health Depends on Family Socioeconomic Status.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 64(3):354-369. DOI: 10.1177/00221465231167560.

Bixby, Laurin, Stacey Bevan, and Courtney Boen. 2022. “The Links Between Disability, Incarceration, and Social Exclusion.” Health Affairs 41(10):1460-1469. DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.2022.00495

Boen, Courtney, Nick Graetz, Hannah Olson, Zohra Ansari-Thomas, Laurin Bixby, Rebecca Anna Schut, and Hedwig Lee. 2022. “Early Life Patterns of Criminal Justice Involvement: Inequalities by Race-Ethnicity, Gender, and Parental Education.” Demographic Research 46(5):131-146. DOI: 10.4054/DemRes.2022.46.5.

McCarty, Kathleen, Laurin Bixby, and Winston Kennedy. “Access and Inclusion: Addressing Barriers and Reimagining Opportunities.” Forthcoming book chapter in Introduction to Para Sport and Recreation.


CV (file)