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 what I believe to be a hierarchical, unfair 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 Marxist, critical development and anticolonial lenses, 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 intellectual and research 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

2021. Claudia Chaufan and K. J. Noh. The neglected role of the military as a disease vector: Implications for Covid-19 and global public health policy. Social Medicine, Vol. 14 (3). 

2020. Claudia Chaufan. "It’s the Politics, Stupid: Why More “Skin in the Game” Will Not Help Control  US Health Care Spending." Research in the Sociology of Health Care 38: Forthcoming.

2020. Claudia Chaufan and Maria Paez Victor. "The Violence of Non-Violence: Canadian Sanctions Policy in Times of Covid-19." Orinoco Tribune, May 1. 

2020. Claudia Chaufan and Faisal Mohamed.. Unfortunate distinction or corporate protectionism by design? The Lancet, May 9.

2020. Claudia Chaufan. "The unbearable lightness of the dominant narrative on Cuba." The Lancet 394, August 31.

2019. Claudia Chaufan and Daniel 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. "What Can the Slim Initiative in Genomic Medicine for the Americas (SIGMA) Contribute to Preventing, Treating, or Decreasing the Impact of Diabetes among Mexicans and Latin Americans?" Kalfou: A Journal of Comparative and Relational Ethnic Studies 5(1): 24 – 35.

2017. Claudia Chaufan, Mi-kung Hong and Alicia 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.

Publications as co-author of my students

2020. Nora Yousefi and Claudia Chaufan. "“Think before you drink”: Dominant narratives on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and Indigeneity in Canada." (under review in Science & Society)..

2020. Faisal Mohamed and Claudia Chaufan, A Critical Discourse Analysis of Intellectual Property Rights Within NAFTA 1.0: Implications for NAFTA 2.0 and for Democratic (Health) Governance in Canada. International Journal of Health Services 50 (3): 278-291.

2019. Jennifer McDonald and Claudia Chaufan. "Work-life balance in medical practice: The reproduction of patriarchy and the politics of gender." Research in the Sociology of Health Care 37: 205 - 223.

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


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

The geopolitics of anti-Asian racism in times of COVID-19: A multiple case study of public discourses in Canada, the USA, and the UK

This project is a comparative critical analysis of the geopolitical dimensions of dominant discourses on Covid-19 across three Anglophone nation-states. Specific objectives are: 1) to document and compare across selected Anglophone countries the geopolitics of public messages on Covid-19; 2) to identify indicators of anti-China sentiments in these messages; and 3) to critically assess potential overlaps between these sentiments and public attitudes towards Asians as well as towards Covid-19 pandemic policy. The long-term goal is to inform science-based, equitable public policy as multiple waves of Covid-19, and perhaps future pandemic’s, unfold.

The geopolitics of Canadian sanctions policy in times of Covid-19
This project is a critical analysis of the effects of sanctions on the health and well-being of civilian populations in selected countries targeted by Canadian sanctions. It includes a systematic review of these effects and the implications of the policy of sanctions for public health policy development and implementation vis-à-vis the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The military transmission of infectious disease, from the World Wars to Covid-19.
This project, which includes a systematic review, seeks to identify the role of the military as a transmission vector of infectious disease and elaborate on the implications of distinct features of military personnel, such as its freedom of movement, for the successful development and implementation of public health policies vis-à-vis the Covid-19 pandemic.

Critical pedagogy and student engagement
This project asesses 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.

Research Projects

Understanding Social Perceptions of Risk, Information Sources, Trust, and Public Engagement Related to the COVID-19 Outbreak
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Amount funded: $428,816
Year Funded: 2020
Duration: 2
Funded by: Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Curriculum Vitae (C.V. file):

CV of Claudia Chaufan