Professor; Chair of the Department of Sociology
Mather Memorial Building 230
Education: Ph.D. Purdue University, 2002
Professor Jessica A. Kelley studies the causes and consequences of health disparities over the life course, particularly those related to race, socioeconomic status, and disability. She has expertise in the quantitative analysis of longitudinal and panel data, including latent trajectories and multilevel modeling. Her recent research has focused on: life course influences on later-life functional disparities among Black and White adults; how cohort trends and social change affect later-life health profiles; social influences on the experience of disability; structural inequality and social exclusion of older adults.
Jessica currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences (2021 – 2024). Jessica also serves as Co-Editor (with Dr. Roland J. Thorpe, Jr. of Johns Hopkins School of Public Health) of the series Annual Review of Gerontology and Geriatrics. She served as volume editor for Volume 40, 2020, on Economic Inequality in Later Life.
Her own work has appeared in Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, Research on Aging, Journal of Health and Social Behavior and American Sociological Review. Her article with Jielu Lin, “From Noise to Signal: Capturing the Age and Social Patterning of Intra-Individual Variability in Late-Life Health” (JG:SS 2017) received the 2019 Outstanding Publication Award from Section on Aging and the Life Course of the American Sociological Association.
Jessica also serves on the Editorial Boards of Journal of Aging and Health, Research on Aging, and Journal of Aging and Social Policy. Jessica has a position on the Advisory Board for the Resource Center for Minority Data at ICPSR. She also recently completed terms as Chair of the Section on Aging and the Life Course in the American Sociological Association and Member-at-Large for the Behavioral and Social Sciences section of the Gerontological Society of America.
Some of her previous work focused on issues of access to healthy food in disadvantaged urban neighborhoods. Jessica is featured on NetWellness.com discussing family-based strategies for healthy eating. She also completed a cooking-based intervention project for residents of public housing. The project was featured on WVIZ in a story on Be Well: Obesity – Poverty and Food Deserts.