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Sociology Professor Receives Bioethics Research Support, Book Award

June 14, 2019

Assistant Professor of Sociology Miranda Waggoner has been named a Greenwall Faculty Scholar in Bioethics for 2019-2022, a career development award from The Greenwall Foundation that enables junior faculty members to carry out innovative bioethics research.

The program supports research that goes beyond current work in bioethics to help resolve pressing ethical issues in clinical care, biomedical research and public policy.

The project for which Waggoner is receiving support examines recent shifts toward advancing clinical research with pregnant women, specifically new regulations that do not automatically classify pregnant women as vulnerable. It aims to 1) trace the historical and contemporary trajectory of including pregnant women in clinical research; 2) describe how various actors navigate the risks of clinical research with pregnant women; and, 3) develop a framework for ensuring an adequate knowledge base to inform care of pregnant women.

According to the foundation, "this work will reframe debates about reproductive risk and vulnerability in ethical research."

Waggoner will receive 50 percent salary support for three years to enable her to develop her research program.

In related news, Waggoner's book, "The Zero Trimester: Pre-Pregnancy Care and the Politics of Reproductive Risk" (University of California Press), won the competitive Robert K. Merton Book Award from the Science, Knowledge, and Technology (SKAT) Section of the American Sociological Association.

In the book, Waggoner writes about the pre-pregnancy care model now promoted by public health messages encouraging women of reproductive age to anticipate motherhood and prepare their bodies for healthy reproduction—even when pregnancy is not on the horizon. She argues that the emergence of this "zero trimester" model is not simply related to medical and health concerns; it also reflects the power of culture and social ideologies to shape both population health imperatives and women’s bodily experiences.

The award will be presented at the SKAT business meeting, August 10, 2019, in New York City.