Changemakers in Family Planning: Jennifer James
Awarded 2021
Changemakers in Family Planning
Jennifer James, PhD, MSW, MSSP
University of California, San Francisco

Jennifer James is an Assistant Professor in the Institute for Health and Aging, the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and the Bioethics program at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Dr. James is a qualitative researcher and Black Feminist scholar whose research lies at the intersection of race, gender and health, with a specific focus on experiences of cancer and chronic illness. She uses community engaged research and an intersectional framework to explore ethical issues related to experiences of illness, patient-provider relationships, and resistance and resilience in biomedicine. Dr. James holds a PhD in Sociology from UCSF, a Master’s of Social Work and a Master’s of Science in Social Policy from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Yale University. She received postdoctoral training in Bioethics at UCSF while serving as the project director for an NCI-funded R01 grant, focused on how patients understand genomic risk for breast cancer and make breast cancer screening decisions. Her current work is focused on patient-provider relationships and shared decision-making in carceral settings. Across several research projects, her work centers the voices and experiences of people incarcerated in prisons and jails to better understand women’s health and aging behind bars. She is now engaging in research examining the forced sterilizations that occurred inside California State Prisons to interrogate how reproductive decisions are made at the intersection of racism, state violence, regulatory constraints, and the legacy of eugenics.