As deputy dean, she will provide leadership on the division’s academic programming and planning, including undergraduate and graduate programs. She will also engage with divisional faculty and research partners across UChicago to facilitate new research initiatives, with an emphasis on computational, health, and urban focused research, and to provide leadership regarding research policies and infrastructure.
In her research, Cagney examines social inequality and its relationship to health, with a focus on neighborhood, race, and aging and the life course. She brings urban sociological theory and methods to research on health, examining outcomes such as asthma prevalence, physical activity, mortality during the 1995 Chicago heat wave, and recovery after Superstorm Sandy. She is currently fielding a study that examines the social and spatial environments that older adults inhabit (their “activity space”), using smartphones to both geolocate respondents and implement brief surveys. She also examines health in the presence of rapid neighborhood change; a component of the survey focuses on oral health, and the extent to which it impacts general health and success in the labor market. Her research interests include new methods to characterize a neighborhood’s influence, including sensors to capture environmental exposures and street activity with attention to the computational methods best suited to analyze these data.
In addition, Cagney is director of the Population Research Center, co-director of the Center on the Demography and Economics of Aging, and a senior fellow at the NORC at the University of Chicago. She also directs the University of Chicago’s Health Services Research Training Program. She earned a PhD from Johns Hopkins University, an MPP from the University of Chicago, and a BA from Western Michigan University.