Jessica Polos

Postdoctoral Fellow

Institute for Policy Research

Northwestern University, Chicago

I am a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University in Chicago. In July 2020, I received my PhD in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I was a predoctoral trainee at the Center for Demography and Ecology and the Center for the Demography of Health and Aging.


Presently, my research agenda focuses on social determinants of health, particularly on how structural discrimination and social contextual mechanisms generate health disparities. My research interests also include maternal-child health and wellbeing, caregiving and intensive parenting, and the intergenerational transmission of health. My research has been published in Social Science & Medicine, Population Studies, Population Research and Policy Review, and the Oxford Handbook of Women and the Economy.


I specialize in quantitative methods and use quasi-experimental designs and demographic methods in my work. My research integrates sociological, biosocial, and life course approaches.


Prior to studying for my PhD, I received a Master of Public Policy from the University of Chicago's Harris School, as well as a dual-B.A. in Anthropology and International Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.