Claudia Chaufan

Associate Professor

Locations / Contact Info:

312 Stong College - SC
Keele Campus
Ext. 22134

Email address(es):

Faculty & School/Dept.

Faculty of Health - School of Health Policy & Management


MD - 1985
National University of Buenos Aires

PhD - 2006
University of California Santa Cruz


My research examines the factors and forces that shape health and other inequities in basic human needs at local, national and global levels. My frame of reference to understand and explain these inequities and their reproduction includes the geopolitics of health/global health policy and governance, the history of capitalist globalization and the role of the medicalization of social problems - significantly, their individualization through “geneticization” - in the reproduction of the social order. My former career in medicine has led me to use diabetes and obesity as case studies to illuminate the power dynamics underlying these factors and forces.

While I don’t think of myself as an “area studies” scholar, I have conducted research on what is generically labelled the “global South” -- the Middle East (Palestine), Asia (Taiwan), and Latin America (Argentina, Cuba, Venezuela). Drawing from a Marxist, critical development and anticolonial lens, I have sought to understand how the power dynamics underlying economic (IMF, World Bank), military (NATO) and political/policy (UN/WHO) institutions shape health and other inequities in those regions. Other interests include the sociology, philosophy and history of science, power/discourse, and the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Because my research and my teaching are tightly intertwined, I teach or have taught courses in the sociology of health, in the political economy of global health policy, in comparative health policy, in the sociology of science, in the sociology of power, and in sociological theory. Indeed, one of the greatest pleasures of academia has been the bonds developed with my students such that I can hardly think of my research as separate from my teaching. Both constitute what I think of as my scholarship, and jointly challenge me to clarify my ideas, seek better ways to communicate them, and sharpen my ability to articulate the power of the sociological lens that has so deeply transformed my intellectual, professional, civic, and personal lives.

Selected Publications

2019. Claudia Chaufan. "The unbearable lightness of the dominant narrative on Cuba." The Lancet 394(10200): 734.

2019. Claudia Chaufan and D. Saliba (2019). "The global diabetes epidemic and the nonprofit state corporate complex: Equity implications of discourses, research agendas, and policy recommendations of diabetes nonprofit organizations." Social Science & Medicine 223: 77-88.

2018. Claudia Chaufan, C. "A “genetic predisposition” for diabetes or for speaking Spanish? A critical analysis of the Sigma Initiative in Genomic Medicine for the Americas." Kalfou: A Journal of Comparative and Relational Ethnic Studies.

2017. P. Ford-Jones and C. Chaufan. "A critical analysis of debates around mental health calls in the prehospital setting." INQUIRY: The Journal of Health Care Organization, Provision, and Financing.

2017. C. Chaufan, Mi-kung Hong and A. Fernandez. "“Lost in translation”: How clinicians make sense of structural barriers to diabetes care among US Latinos with limited English proficiency." Research in the Sociology of Health Care.

2016.  Claudia Chaufan. "What Can US Single-Payer Supporters Learn From the Swiss Rejection of Single Payer?" International Journal of Health Services 46(2): 331-345.2015.

2015. Claudia Chaufan, Catherine Chesla, Hegla Fielding and Alicia Fernandez, “It’s not the doctor – it’s me”: How self-blame obscures language and other structural barriers to diabetes care among low-income Latinos with limited English proficiency. Research in the Sociology of Health Care Vol. 33, p.p.187-208

2014. Claudia Chaufan, Jarmin Yeh, Leslie Ross and Patrick Fox, You cannot bike or walk yourself out of poverty: Active school transport, child obesity, and blind spots in the public health literature. Critical Public Health, DOI: 10.1080/09581596.2014.920078

2014. Claudia Chaufan and Yi-Chang Li, Can information technology improve health care equity in the United States? Lessons from Taiwan. Research in the Sociology of Health Care, Vol. 32, 19-33.

2013. Claudia Chaufan and Jay Joseph, The “missing heritability” of common disorders: Should health researchers care? International Journal of Health Services, 43 (2): 281–303

2013. Claudia Chaufan, Sophia Constantino & Meagan Davis, “You must not confuse poverty with laziness”: A case study on the power of discourse to reproduce diabetes inequalities. International Journal of Health Services, 43 (1): 143-166

2012. Claudia Chaufan, Brooke Hollister, Jennifer Nazareno & Patrick Fox, Medical ideology as a double-edged sword: The politics of cure and care in the making of Alzheimer’s disease. Social Science & Medicine. Vol. 74 (5):788-95.

2011. Claudia Chaufan & Khaleel Isa, Heal thyself: Dealing with trauma work–Gaza 2008/2009. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine. Vol. 15 (1):22-37.

2009. Claudia Chaufan and Rose Weitz, The elephant in the room: The invisibility of poverty in research on type 2 diabetes. Humanity and Society, 33 (February/May): 74-98.

2007. Claudia Chaufan, How much can a large population study on genes, environments, their interactions and common diseases contribute to the health of the American people? Social Science & Medicine. Oct; 65(8):1730-41.



University of California San Francisco
Affiliated faculty


Clarification of current research
All but the first project includes collaborators, significantly, my own students

Service/Community Activities

Physicians for a National Health Program
Former past president of California chapter. Current active member of the National organization and the San Francisco chapter.


Science Communication Fellow, Campomar Institute, ARGENTINA - 1986

Allen Van Son Diabetes Education Award, USA - 2000

Medical Education Research - MEDICC, CUBA - 2012

US Fulbright Scholar @ York University, CANADA - 2015

US Fulbright Specialist @ Birzeit University, PALESTINE - 2018


Currently available to supervise graduate students: Not Indicated

Currently taking on work-study students, Graduate Assistants or Volunteers: Yes

Available to supervise undergraduate thesis projects: No

Current Research

I am currently conducting research on the following:

Critical pedagogy and student engagement
This project assesses student experience and learning with cooperative, active learning approaches, including but not limited to, jigsaw and flipped classrooms. Participants include students from earlier and advanced courses in health/global health policy. I am evaluating how these pedagogical philosophy and techniques increase student engagement defined by intellectual excitement and quality of course assignments. This project is no longer funded yet is ongoing and an aspect of my scholarly teaching.

The geopolitics of Canadian sanctions policy
This project is a critical, comparative analysis of Canada’s sanctions policy. We are investigating the overall implications of sanctions for the health and well-being of three contrasting nations – Iran, Nicaragua and North Korea - targeted by Canadian sanctions. Our data include publicly available documents, historical sources, fieldwork and personal experience. This multinational study is part of the first author’s program of research on the geopolitics of global health.

The geopolitics of Canadian refugee policy
This project critically interrogates Canada’s refugee policy by comparing how it engages asylum seekers from Syria on the one hand and Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala – referred also as the Northern Triangle of Central America (NTCA) - on the other. Preliminary observations indicate that Canada’s embrace of Syrian refugees stands in stark contrast with its neglect or outright rejection of NTCA refugees and that the contrast is best explained by considering Canadian corporate interests and state support for the US (informal) empire. Data include publicly available documents government documents, field work at a local resettlement agency, and personal experience.

Dominant narratives on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and Indigeneity in Canada
This project examines narratives of FASD in Canada, seeking to identify the (re) production of colonial dominance in the expert literature. We argue that dominant narrative on FASD, while persuasive and partly true, depoliticize FASD by ignoring ongoing processes of settler colonial dispossession, conceptualizing settler colonialism as a past event, and resituating FASD within a technical, expert language that locates solutions to FASD within individual behavioural change. In so doing, these narratives contribute to the problem they purport to address, with significant implications for policy, practice, and equity in Canada and other settler colonial states.

Curriculum Vitae (C.V. file):

CV of Claudia Chaufan