Ruby Mendenhall, Ph.D

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Department of Sociology

Department of Urban and Regional Planning
Department of Gender and Women’s Studies
Department of African American Studies
Dean for Diversity and Democratization of Health Innovation at Carle Illinois College of Medicine


     Ruby Mendenhall, Ph.D is an Associate Professor of Sociology, African American Studies, Urban and Regional Planning, Gender and Women’s Studies and Social Work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is also an affiliate of the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology; Women and Gender in Global Perspectives; the Cline Center for Advance Social Research; Epstein Health Law and Policy Program; Family Law and Policy Program and the Institute for Computing in Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences. Mendenhall is the Assistant Dean for Diversity and Democratization of Health Innovation at the Carle Illinois College of Medicine.

Mendenhall’s research examines how living in racially segregated neighborhoods with high levels of violence affects Black mothers’ mental and physical health using surveys, interviews, crime statistics, police records, data from 911 calls, wearable sensors and genomic analysis. She examines the role of the Earned Income Tax Credits in social mobility and health outcomes and the medicalization of poverty. She also employs big data to recover Black women’s lost history using topic modeling and data visualization to examine over 800,000 documents from 1740 to 2014.

Supported by Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities