Based on data from a diverse selection of HIV-positive women across the Chicagoland area, the HHR study is concerned with how HIV-positive women make ends meet. We are interested in how money and health mix by talking to women about how they cope financially while living with HIV. We ask how HIV-positive women find and access resources for help; cope with financial obstacles they may encounter; move up in their jobs; take care of their families; and manage their health while paying their bills.

We pay special attention to how race, gender, class, and sexual orientation affect the women’s opportunities and experiences and how public policies, labor markets, and neighborhoods shape their tools for survival and upward mobility. With this study, we aim to increase awareness of the successes and obstacles of women living with HIV/AIDS, illuminate how social and economic inequalities inform the AIDS epidemic, and point to strategies that help women take care of their economic resources and their health.

Celeste Watkins-HayesDr. Celeste Watkins-Hayes is currently Associate Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Northwestern University and a Faculty Fellow at Northwestern's Institute for Policy Research. Her areas of research specialization are urban poverty; social policy; HIV/AIDS; non-profit and government organizations; and race, class, and gender. While completing her book, The New Welfare Bureaucrats: Entanglements of Race, Class, and Policy Reform (2009, University of Chicago Press), Dr. Watkins-Hayes conducted the pilot Sister to Sister Study. She holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology from Harvard University and a B.A. from Spelman College.

Visit Dr. Celeste Watkins-Hayes's Website >

Curriculum Vitae

Northwestern University Excellence in Research Profile 

Elyse Kovalsky

Elyse Kovalsky is a fourth-year graduate student in the Sociology Department at Northwestern University. She is interested in how our health and education systems play a role in shaping patterns of inequality. Before coming to Northwestern, Elyse was involved in several public health projects. She worked as a health educator in El Alto, Bolivia, focusing on sexual and reproductive health, and worked with the Academy of Educational Development on international HIV prevention programs. She also worked at the California Primary Care Association, managing a quality improvement project that partnered with community clinics across the state.

“I am honored to participate in this project and to have the opportunity to listen to and share with the incredible women that have participated in HHR. I have learned so much from the mothers, daughters, workers, sisters, wives, girlfriends, storytellers, friends, and activists with whom I have spoken, and I hope that we can draw on their experiences to develop more effective HIV programs and policies.”

Marisol Mastrangelo

Marisol Mastrangelo is a Research Assistant for the Health, Hardship, and Renewal Study. Her research interests include urban sociology, social stratification, and racial inequality. Prior to joining the project, she worked at the Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago. Marisol is a doctoral student in the Sociology department at Northwestern University, where she also received her B.A. in Journalism in 2008.

“As a researcher on the HHR project, I have had the opportunity to meet many inspiring individuals who are dedicated to making a difference for those impacted by HIV/AIDS.”

Courtney J. Patterson

Courtney J. Patterson is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Department of African American Studies at Northwestern University. A former high school teacher and staff member of Oberlin College, she holds a Bachelor's Degree and Teaching Certificate from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests include black women's histories and social realities, intersections of HIV/AIDS and body size, and black theater and drama.

“The HHR study has truly been one of the most cultivating research experiences that I have ever had. Not only do I get to work on a team of immensely talented people who help me develop as a scholar, but I also get to work with women living with HIV/AIDS who inspire, push, and reenergize me to be a better person.”

Additional HHR Team Members

Amanda Armour, Project Coordinator
Amy Thom, Interim Project Coordinator
Ivy Zhu, Project Coordinator
Jean Beaman, Postdoctoral Fellow
Robert Vargas, Graduate Research Assistant
LaTisha Campbell, Summer Undergraduate Research Assistant
Marrion Johnson, Summer Undergraduate Research Assistant
Bethany Polhamus, Undergraduate Research Assistant
Shaquita Webster, Undergraduate Research Assistant
Jasmyne McDonald, Undergraduate Research Assistant
Alicia Sheares, Summer Undergraduate Research Assistant
Tiffany Tobias, Summer Undergraduate Research Assistant

General information: