Laura Sochas is a Visiting Fellow at the III and a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Political Economy of Health at the University of Oxford. She is a social demographer, with an academic background in political science, economics, and public administration. She conducts health inequalities research from a critical perspective, using multidisciplinary social science theories & mixed methods (random effects, decomposition, causal inference, GIS analysis, in-depth interviews). As a Postdoctoral Fellow, Laura works with PI Dr Aaron Reeves exploring the health effects of institutions such as: democracy; collective bargaining; political institutions in a historical perspective; and more. She has held research officer roles at the LSE and Kings College London, and taught graduate modules at Imperial College London. Her research has been published in journals such as Social Science and Medicine, Demography, and BMJ Global Health, among others. Previously, she worked as a consultant on public health programmes in African and South Asian countries, on topics such as maternal and newborn health, human resources for health, health financing, and the use of evidence & accountability in public health policy.
She obtained her PhD in Demography in 2020 from the London School of Economics, studying maternal health inequalities in Zambia. Her thesis contributed to the field of inequalities in global health by demonstrating that the multidimensional social and geographic context in which individuals seek healthcare matters more than individual attributes when explaining health care access inequalities. It further showed that health facility rules play a key role in perpetuating social exclusion and reinforcing unequal power relations, both between patients and health workers, and among patients themselves. Finally, it developed and tested a new hypothesis, the Concurrent Barrier Hypothesis, regarding the heterogeneous effects of policies aiming to alleviate healthcare access barriers and their unintended consequences for population-level health equity. The PhD was funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and received an advanced quantitative methods award.
Sochas, L. (2021) “Challenging categorical thinking: a mixed methods approach to explaining health inequalities”. Social Science and Medicine. July 2021.