Laura López-Sanders

Assistant Professor of Sociology
Laura López-Sanders

López-Sanders’ research examines the role of institutions and societal policies and practices in the patterning of inequality. This research includes a study of immigrant integration in regions undergoing rapid demographic change, an analysis of the processes and mechanisms that influence the transition from a two-group (i.e., black and white) to a three group (i.e., black-white-Latino) racial system, and an investigation of racial competition before and after the Great Recession. To examine these dynamics, she conducted interviews and ethnographic research while working and living alongside Latino immigrant, African American, and white populations in South Carolina. She is currently completing a book manuscript on the subject.

On a related line of research, López-Sanders examines the ways in which health care reform influences access to and the delivery of health services for undocumented Latino immigrants at Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and community hospitals. She is extending this research to examine how the experiences of Latino immigrants with health care reform in traditional immigrant destinations compare with the experiences of this population in new immigrant destinations.

López-Sanders’ research further examines the mechanisms that shape people’s decisions affecting their health and well-being.  For this project, she examined the persistent use of coal in Guatemalan households after a policy went into effect that provided people with clean burning gas stoves. Additionally, she conducted research in Mexico following hurricane Patricia to examine why many people decided not to evacuate coastal towns even in the face of clear predictions that devastation was imminent. 

Selected Publications

López-Sanders, Laura. 2017. "Changing the navigator's course: How the increasing rationalization of healthcare influences access for undocumented immigrants under the Affordable Care Act." Social Science & Medicine 178: 46-54.

López-Sanders, Laura. 2017. “Navigating health care: brokerage and access for undocumented Latino immigrants under the 2010 Affordable Care Act.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, pp.1-17.

López-Sanders, Laura. 2014. “Embedded and External Brokers: The Distinct Roles of Intermediaries in Workplace Inequality.” American Behavioral Scientist, 58(2), 331-346.

Scholarly Interests

Immigration, Organizational and institutional processes and outcomes, Public policy, Race and ethnic relations, Social Inequality

Affiliated Departments

Department of Sociology