Although Patricia Morton was born in California, she considers San Antonio, Texas her hometown. She received her B.S. in Applied Sociology from Texas State University, and M.S. in Sociology and Ph.D. in Sociology and Gerontology from Purdue University. Whereas Patricia has always been interested in the field of health, her interest in medical sociology began during a 2003 medical mission trip to Antigua, Guatemala. During this time, she became aware of the salient nature of social, economic, and healthcare inequalities and how they impact health outcomes. This experience drew her to medical sociology, a field in which she could use quantitative methods to elucidate the social determinants of health inequality.
Broadly, Patricia’s academic interests center on understanding health inequality throughout the life course. Her research focuses on the health consequences of childhood conditions, considering both immediate and long-term effects. This line of work underscores the importance of how early-life conditions produce unequal opportunities and constraints which impact health through multiple life domains such as socioeconomic status, health behaviors, and physiology. Patricia employs various statistical techniques to contextualize these multidimensional life course processes of health.
Here at Rice, Patricia is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Children’s Environmental Health Initiative with a dual appointment in the Departments of Statistics and Sociology, working with Provost Marie Lynn Miranda and Dr. Rachel Kimbro (Sociology Professor). She is continuing her research on the effects of early-life conditions, focusing on neighborhood-level factors. Patricia is excited to be an affiliate of the Rice University Academy of Fellows where she can engage with an interdisciplinary group of scholars who share her passion in understanding and improving health.