Research Interests

Medical sociology; social determinants of health; vaccination; prosocial behavior; quantitative and qualitative research methods

Current Research

Drawing on my training in sociology and public health, my research focuses on how people’s disease risk and general health are shaped by their social position.

For my dissertation, I investigate socioeconomic status- and race-ethnicity-based health inequalities with respect to three aspects of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination:

  1. I evaluate the impact of jurisdiction-based mandates requiring the vaccine for school attendance on inequalities in doctor recommendations of the vaccine and vaccine uptake among adolescent girls.
  2. I analyze differences in patterns of vaccine-related communication and decision-making among mothers and their adolescent daughters, and consider how these patterns of communication shape vaccine uptake.
  3. I examine differences in parents’ and adolescent boys’ attitudes toward HPV vaccination as a means to prevent HPV and some cancers in boys’ sexual partners and communities.

In addition to my dissertation research, I am currently engaged in collaborative research that examines social inequalities in the uptake of childhood vaccines.

Supervisor: Dr. Richard Carpiano


Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Polonijo, Andrea N., & Carpiano, Richard M. (2013). Social Inequalities in Adolescent Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination: A Test of Fundamental Cause Theory. Social Science & Medicine, 82: 115-125. (read it online:

Roberts, Suzanne M., Jarvis-Selinger, Sandra, Pratt, Daniel, Polonijo, Andrea, Stacy, Elizabeth, Wisener, Katharine, & Black, Kevin P. (2012). Reshaping Orthopaedic Resident Education in Systems-Based Practice. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, 94(15): e1121-1127. (read it online:

Polonijo, Andrea N., & Hollister, Brooke A. (2011). Normalcy, Boundaries, and Heterosexism: An Exploration of Online Lesbian Health Queries. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, 23(2): 165-187. (read it online:

Polonijo, Andrea N., & Carpiano, Richard M. (2008). Representations of Cosmetic Surgery and Emotional Health in Women’s Magazines in Canada. Women’s Health Issues, 18(6): 464-471. Erratum, Women’s Health Issues, 19(2): 157-158. (read it online:


Instructor for:

Sociology 479: Social Determinants of Health, Winter 2015

Sociology 250A: Crime and Society, Winter 2014 & Summer 2015

Teaching Assistant for:

Family Studies 316: Human Sexuality, Winter 2010 & 2014

Sociology 369: Sociology of Sexualities, Winter 2011 & Summer 2014

Sociology 250A: Crime and Society, Winter 2010, 2011, & 2012; Summer 2013


Curriculum Vitae


Ph.D., Sociology, University of British Columbia, expected 2016

M.P.H., Health Promotion, University of Toronto, 2009

B.A., Sociology Honours, University of British Columbia, 2007


Recent Awards & Felloships

  • Graduate Student Fellow, US-UK Medical Sociology Conference (Awarded by the American Sociological Association Medical Sociology Section), 2015
  • Robin Badgley Memorial Student Award (Best Student Paper), Canadian Society for the Sociology of Health 3rd Biennial Bilingual Conference, 2012
  • University of British Columbia 4-Year PhD Fellowship, 2010 – 2014
  • University of British Columbia Faculty of Arts Graduate Award, 2010 & 2013