UCF Sociologists Research Children’s Health


Sociologists at the University of Central Florida are actively researching issues surrounding children’s health. Assistant Professor of Sociology Melanie Sberna Hinojosa, Ph.D., is at the forefront of research on this important topic.

As part of a grant provided through the Office of Research and Commercialization at UCF for $7500, Sberna Hinojosa formed the UCF Child Health Research Group. The research group consisted of undergraduate and graduate students at UCF, a researcher from the University of Florida Melissa Bright, Ph.D., and UCF Sociology Assistant Professor Ramon Hinojosa, Ph.D. The group started in the summer of 2015 and Jenny Nguyen, Ph.D., a UCF sociology doctoral candidate, served as the coordinator of the group

The team’s paper, titled ‘Individualized Education Program Development Among Racially/Ethically Diverse Children and Adolescents with Health Conditions,” was published in the academic journal Maternal and Child Health Journal in July 2016. The paper investigated the relationship between health and schooling outcomes.

The purpose of the paper was to understand the sociodemographic predictors of special education service use among children with health conditions in the public school system. They also sought to understand if a public health services model could be used to predict special education services used by children in the schools. The team found that that African American and Hispanic students were less likely to use special education services unless they had family and neighborhood supports.

“This is an important first step in merging the sociology, education and health literature,” Sberna Hinojosa said.

Read the paper here. 

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