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Jennifer Anne Reich is an American sociologist, researcher and award-winning author at the University of Colorado Denver. Her research interests include healthcare, adolescence, welfare, and policy. Her work on vaccine hesitancy gained widespread attention during the 2019 measles outbreaks. She is the author of three books and numerous journal articles.

Jennifer Reich
Jennifer Reich Head Shot.jpg
Known forResearch on vaccine hesitancy
Spouse(s)Dave Scudamore
Academic background
EducationPh.D in Sociology
Alma materUniversity of California, San Francisco
Academic work
DisciplineSociology, Healthcare
Sub-disciplineWelfare and Policy, Healthcare Issues, Childhood and Adolescence
InstitutionsUniversity of Colorado Denver
Notable worksCalling the Shots: Why Parents Reject Vaccines


Reich attended Calabasas High School and subsequently earned her B.A. at the University of California, Santa Barbara and her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of California, Davis.[1] She has been a tenured professor at the University of Denver, where she was a faculty member for ten years[2] and is currently a tenured and full professor at the University of Colorado Denver.[3]

Reich is a council member of the American Sociological Association.[4]

Vaccine hesitancyEdit

Reich spent nearly ten years exploring what motivates some parents to decline inoculations for their children, or delay them. Her interviews with parents and subsequent research are presented in her 2016 book Calling the Shots: Why Parents Reject Vaccines. She sees vaccine hesitancy as a consequence of societal pressures on parents (especially middle-class mothers) to make choices that are uniquely suited to their own children in terms of health and education, to maximize their chances of success in life: "We do vaccines in a way that has been shown to be scientifically the most efficacious and the safest and also the easiest to distribute at a national level. But for parents who really prioritize each child in their family as an individual, they don't accept this kind of logic."[5][6] Working full-time on their kids, these parents are inclined to disregard generic advice dispensed by health professionals.[7][8]

Facing a steady stream of misleading information, pediatricians and public health professionals have to know what motivates parents to be reluctant about vaccines, and to adjust how they communicate, says Reich. She suggests pediatricians have more success having a fruitful dialogue when they can communicate with empathy, parent-to-parent. How to put the focus on collective benefits - explaining own inoculation better protects all children - may be a way for public health authorities to overcome the reluctance of many parents.[5][9][10]

Selected publicationsEdit


Year Title Details
2016 Calling the Shots: Why Parents Reject Vaccines[11]
  • Donald W. Light Award for Applied Medical Sociology, 2018 American Sociological Association[12]
  • Distinguished Scholarship Award, 2018 Pacific Sociological Association[13]
  • Outstanding Book Award, 2017 American Sociological Association Section on Altruism, Morality, and Social Solidarity[14]
  • Honorable Mention, 2017 Mirra Komarovksy Book Award, Eastern Sociological Society[15]
2014 Reproduction and Society: Interdisciplinary Readings[16] With Carole Joffe.
2005 Fixing Families: Parents, Power, and the Child Welfare System[17]
  • Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Book Award, 2007, American Sociological Association section on Race, Gender, and Class[18]
  • Finalist, C. Wright Mills Award, Society for the Study of Social Problems, 2006.[18]

Selected journal articlesEdit

Personal lifeEdit

Reich lives in Denver, Colorado with three children and her husband Dave Scudamore.


  1. ^ "CCIC January Coalition Meeting: Individualist Parenting and Vaccine Refusal - Understanding Percepti". Retrieved 2019-04-18.
  2. ^ "Archives | University of Denver". Retrieved 2019-04-18.
  3. ^ "Jennifer Reich". Sociology. 2017-10-06. Retrieved 2019-04-18.
  4. ^ "ASA - Leaders". American Sociological Association. 2009-05-23. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Reich, Jennifer (June 13, 2019). "I've talked to dozens of parents about why they don't vaccinate. Here's what they told me". Vox. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  6. ^ Greene, David (April 29, 2019). "Why Aren't Parents Getting Their Children Vaccinated?". NPR. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  7. ^ Lubrano, Alfred (April 21, 2019). "Anti-vaxxers 'educated just well enough to make terrible decisions for their children'". The Spectator. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  8. ^ Beinart, Peter (August 2019). "What the Measles Epidemic Really Says About America". The Atlantic. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  9. ^ Dastagir, Alia (March 8, 2019). "Facts alone don't sway anti-vaxxers. So what does?". USA Today. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  10. ^ Gander, Kashmira (March 21, 2019). "Anti-vaxxers are anti-vaxxers for one of these four reasons". Newsweek. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  11. ^ Reich, Jennifer (2016). Calling the Shots: Why Parents Reject Vaccines. ASIN 147981279X.
  12. ^ "Medical Sociology Section Past Award Recipients". American Sociological Association. 2011-10-03. Retrieved 2019-04-18.
  13. ^ "PSA Awards | The Pacific Sociological Association". Retrieved 2019-04-18.
  14. ^ "Section Awards". American Sociological Association. 2016-08-25. Retrieved 2019-04-18.
  15. ^ "Jennifer A. Reich" (PDF).
  16. ^ Joffe, Carole; Reich, Jennifer (2015). Reproduction and Society: Interdisciplinary Readings (Perspectives on Gender). ISBN 0415731038.
  17. ^ Reich, Jennifer (September 1, 2005). Fixing Families: Parents, Power, and the Child Welfare System. ISBN 0415947278.
  18. ^ a b "Awards". NYUpress. Retrieved July 8, 2019.

External linksEdit