Cathy J. Cohen Ph.D.

Deputy Provost for Graduate Education
Chair of the Department of Political Science
David and Mary Winton Green Professor of Political Science
University of Chicago
Email: Discipline: Political Science Expertise: AIDS, Politics and Policymaking, Gender Issues

Investigator Award
Race, Politics and Adolescent Health: Understanding the Health Attitudes and Behaviors of African American Youth
Award Year: 2004 Young African Americans face serious health risks and other vulnerabilities resulting from social disadvantage. The higher prevalence of HIV/AIDS, obesity, type 2 diabetes, homicide, and teen pregnancy in this population is well documented. Yet little is known about the attitudes of African American youth toward health, healthy living, and the health care system. Cathy J. Cohen, Ph.D. explores how these youth think about their health, their attitudes toward the health care establishment, their political views, and how those views and the influence of new cultural forms such as hip-hop music affect their decision-making processes in such areas as health, politics, and sexuality. Her project, Race, Politics, and Adolescent Health: Understanding the Health Attitudes and Behaviors of African American Youth, should produce new insights into behaviors often viewed by other segments of the American public and the news media as indulgent, deviant, and risky. The results of Dr. Cohen's research should help inform policymakers as they develop more targeted and effective public health interventions for this overlooked and understudied population.


Cathy J. Cohen is the David and Mark Winton Green Professor of Political Science, chair of the Department of Political Science and deputy provost for Graduate Education at the University of Chicago. She is the author of The Boundaries of Blackness: AIDS and the Breakdown of Black Politics (University of Chicago Press, 1999). She is also co-editor with Kathleen Jones and Joan Tronto of Women Transforming Politics: An Alternative Reader (NYU, 1997). Her work has been published in numerous journals and edited volumes including the American Political Science Review, GLQ, NOMOS and Social Text. Her general field of specialization is American politics, although her research interests include African American politics, social movements, power and resistance, and youth and politics. Dr. Cohen is the recipient of numerous awards including an RWJ Scholar in Health Policy Research Fellowship and a major research grant from the Ford Foundation for her work on African American youth. She serves on a number of national advisory boards and is the co-editor of a book series at Oxford University Press entitled Transgressing Boundaries: Studies in Black Politics and Black Communities.