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Alexandra Tate, PhD

Alexandra is Research Director in the Section of Hospital Medicine at the University of Chicago.

As a medical sociologist, my research uses mixed methods approaches to examine the role of medicine in health for aging patients in the U.S. My interests lie in the complexities of doctor-patient interaction and the related implications for care of older adults, with a current focus on the relationship between clinicians and patients with complex illnesses. My current research projects investigate end-of-life decision making among high utilizers of health care, public perceptions of death and dying, and the impact of the pandemic on end-of-life decision-making.

I have presented my work at the American Sociological Association, the National Communication Association, and the International Conference on Conversation Analysis, among others. I also serve as a reviewer for the American Journal of Sociology, Journal of Health & Social Behavior, Social Science and Medicine, Sociology of Health & Illness, and the Journal of Palliative Medicine.

Fields of Study

Medical Sociology, Death & Dying, Aging, Inpatient Medicine, Mixed-Methods, Health Systems, Oncology, Health Inequality, Palliative Medicine, Survey methods, Ethnography, Conversation Analysis, Doctor-Patient Relationships

Publications

In press. “Death and the Treatment Imperative: Decision-making in late-stage cancer.” Social Science and Medicine.

In press. Lazaridis, C., Goldenberg, F., Mansour, A., Kramer, C. and Tate, A. “What Does Coma Mean? Implications for Shared Decision Making in Acute Brain Injury.” World Neurosurgery

2020: Tate, A. “Invoking Death: How oncologists discuss a deadly outcome.” Social Science and Medicine.

2020: Tate A. & BJ Rimel. “The Duality of Option-Listing in Cancer Care.” Patient Education & Counseling. 

2019: Tate, A. “Matter Over Mind: How mental health symptom presentations shape diagnostic outcomes.” Health. 

2019: Tate, A. “Treatment Recommendations in Oncology Visits: Implications for patient agency and physician authority.” HealthCommunication. 34(13): 1597-1607.

2018: Snyder, K.A, A. Tate & E. Roubenoff. “Young Women with Breast Cancer and Treatment Decision-Making: Rethinking patient involvement and empowerment.” in Jennie Jacobs Kronenfeld (ed.) Gender, Women’s Health Care Concerns and Other Social Factors in Health and Health Care: Research in the Sociology of Health Care, Volume 36. Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing, pp.37 – 58

2016: Robinson, J.D., A. Tate & J. Heritage. “Agenda-Setting Revisited: When and how do primary care physicians solicit patients’ additional concerns?” Patient Education and Counseling. 99(5): 718-723.

2014: Snyder K.A. & A. Tate. “Oncofertility and the Potential for Patient Navigators,” in Oncofertility Communication: Sharing information and Building Relationships Across Disciplines, ed. Theresa Woodruff et al. New York: Springer Press. 49-60.

2013: Snyder K.A. & A. Tate. “What to Do Now: How Women with Breast Cancer Make Fertility Preservation Decisions.” Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care. 39: 172-178.

Presentations

2021: “Avoidance of End-of-Life Discussions Among Stage IV Cancer Patients.” Conversation Analysis Working Group, UCLA.

2020: “Use of Machine Learning to Measure Advance Care Planning in the Electronic Health Record: The case of the Comprehensive Care Program” Outcomes Research Workshop, The University of Chicago.

2019: “Conceptualizing Medical Certainty in Clinical Interactions: A first pass in the oncology context.” National Communication Association Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD.

2019: “How Physicians Communicate Patient Involvement in Decision-Making: Evidence from oncology clinics.” University of Chicago and Northwestern (UCANU) Research Seminar.

2018: “The Duality of Option-Listing In Oncology.” National Communication Association Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT.

2018: “The ‘Elasticity’ of Medical Certainty in Oncology.” American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA.

2018: “Talking Death: How oncologists discuss an emotional outcome.” International Conference on Conversation Analysis, Loughborough, UK.

2017: “Treatment Recommendations in Oncology Visits: Implications for Patient Agency and Physician Authority.” National Communication Association Annual Meeting, Dallas, TX.

2017: “Mobilizing Certainty in Medicine to Secure Treatment Acceptance.” National Communication Association Meeting, Dallas, TX.

2017: “Invocations of Death: A resource for negotiating treatment compliance in cancer care.” American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Montréal, Canada.

2016: “Option-Listing and Physician Bias in Cancer Care.” National Communication Association Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA.

2016: “Treatment Recommendations in Oncology Visits: A conversation analytic approach.” American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA.

2015: “Younger Women with Breast Cancer and Treatment Decision-Making: Rethinking patient involvement and empowerment,” with Karrie Ann Snyder, PhD. Twelfth International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

2015: “Putting Agenda Setting on the Agenda,” with Jeffrey Robinson, PhD and John Heritage, PhD. National Communication Association Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, NV.

2015: “The Role of Patient Symptom Presentation in Mental Health Diagnosis and Treatment in Primary Care.” American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL.

2014: “Solidarity and Affiliative Disagreement in the Focus Group Setting: A case study of female cancer survivors.” International Conference on Conversation Analysis, Los Angeles, CA.

2010: “Breast Cancer and Parenting: How breast cancer impacts the parenting goals of younger women,” with KA Snyder, PhD. Joint Annual Meeting of the North Central Sociological Association and the Midwest Sociological Society, Chicago, IL.

Grants and Awards

Principal Investigator, “The effect of defragmented care and the doctor-patient relationship on advance care planning and end of life care”. NIA P30 Center on Healthy Aging Behaviors and Longitudial Investigations., 2022-2023

Awardee, Institute for Translational Medicine Pilot Award, 2021.

Scholar, Center for Healthcare Delivery, Science and Innovation (HDSI), The University of Chicag0, 2021

Awardee, National Institute of Aging Loan Repayment Award, 2020-2022

Top Paper Panel, National Communication Association,  Language and Social Interaction Division, 2019

Graduate Student Paper Award, American Sociological Association Section of Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis, 2019

Dorothy L. Meier Dissertation Fellowship, 2017-2018

Top Paper Panel, National Communication Association,  Language and Social Interaction Division, 2017

UCLA Graduate Research Mentorship Award, 2014-2015

UCLA Graduate Summer Research Mentorship, 2014

Excellence in Teaching Award, Department of Sociology, 2013-2014

UCLA Graduate Summer Research Mentorship, 2013

Honorable Mention, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 2013

Education and Training

Postdoctoral Fellow, TL1 Program, National Institutes of Health (PI: Meltzer), 2018-2020

PhD, Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles, 2018

MA, Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles, 2014

BA, Sociology, Northwestern University 2010

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