Kristy Maher, Ph.D. is a Professor of Sociology. She received her undergraduate degree in Sociology from St. Michael’s College in Vermont and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from Yale University. Once graduating from Yale, she knew she wanted a career at a small liberal arts college like her undergraduate experience and came to Furman in 1993. She served as the Chair of the Sociology Department for six years. Her main areas of interest include medical sociology, global health inequalities, sociology of gender and community based evaluation research.

Dr. Maher's research examines health care disparities and access to care issues. She has conducted program evaluations for a variety of local agencies (e.g. the March of Dimes, Healthy Connections, the Greenville Hospital System) and she is involved in a several community level activities designed to improve access to quality health care (e.g. Piedmont Health Foundation). Her recent research has her exploring the cultural reasons behind the “Botswana Paradox” – the fact that, despite all their best efforts, Botswana has the second highest rate of HIV in the world. Dr. Maher has directed the Southern Africa Study Away program since 2009 and a May X trip to Botswana since 2012.

Name Title Description


Curses, Cures & Clinics

This course examines the sociological dimensions of health, illness, and healing in different parts of the world. It focuses on social epidemiology (e.g. HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria), cultural dimensions, and the role of national health care systems and NGO's in promoting health.


Field Work in Medicine

Extensive observation in the medical arena. Observations in several units of a local hospital, a psychiatric facility and at private homes and/or nursing home facilities with a hospice care organization. Emphasis is placed on the sociological and philosophical interpretations of observations.Only available with PHL-302 and SOC-234 by application only.


Botswana Paradox

Examination of cultural factors affecting HIV/AIDS and a variety of programs in Botswana designed to prevent its spread and provide treatment. Exploration into the possible reasons for the paradox, where the government is actively involved in abating the virus, but the rate of infection is still one of the highest in the world, will include visits to several agencies and organizations working to ameliorate the crisis.


Introduction to Sociology

Introduction to the sociological perspective on human behavior, including an analysis of theory, research methods, culture, society, personality, the socialization process, social institutions and social change.


Medical Sociology

Introduction to the sociological study of medicine and the applications of sociology in medicine, emphasizing the sociocultural aspects of health and illness. Requires extensive field work at a Greenville hospital. Entry is by application only. Course must be enrolled with PHL-302 (28) and IDS-301.


Social Determinants of Health

Examination of the role of social factors (social class, race, ethnicity, inequality) in shaping health outcomes. Fundamental or root causes of disease as well as the structure vs. agency debate are explored. The impact of social policies on health is also examined.


Sociology Seminar

Advanced reading, research and discussion course for covering a specific topic in Sociology. Topics vary by professor and could include such topics as Organized Deviance: Terrorists, the Mafia and Genocidal States or Environmental Sociology. This course requires an independent or collaborative research project. May be repeated for credit based on change of topic.

  • “Social Science and Humanities: Bridging Social Science and Humanities through Medicine” by Kristy Maher and Carmela Epright, in Sean O’Rourke and Margaret Oakes (editors), Engaging the Humanities, Sense Publishers of Rotterdam (under contract)
  • “Women as Patients” by Kristy Maher, in Laurel Peterson and Lisa Dresdner (editors), (Re)Interpretations: The Shapes of Justice in Women’s Experience, Cambridge Scholars Press, 2009
  • “Prescription Drugs, Medicare Part D” By Kristy Maher, in Howard B. Radest (editor), Biomedical Ethics: Humanist Perspectives, Volume 17 of Humanism Today, Prometheus Books, 2006, pp.229-233
  • “Physician Socialization and the Loss of Idealism” By Kristy Maher, The Journal of the South Carolina Medical Association, Volume 102, Number 3, April 2006, p.67-70
  • “Practicing Sociology as a Vocation” By Kristy Maher. In Explorations in Theology and Vocation. Edited by William E. Rogers. Center for Theological Explorations of Vocation. 2005
  • "The Status of Physicians in the 20th Century.” By Kristy Maher McNamara, The Journal of the South Carolina Medical Association, Volume 97, Number 12, December 2001, p. 522-525
  • “An Assessment of Extramural Activities that Encourage Support for the Liberal Arts.” By Kristy Maher McNamara and J. Daniel Cover, College Student Journal, Volume 33, Number 4, December 1999, p. 594-607
  • “Racial Issues in HealthCare”, a special issue of The Journal of the South Carolina Medical Association, Guest Editor, Kristy Maher McNamara, Volume 95, Number 3, March 1999, p. 85-126
  • “Racial Disparities in Health: A Sociological Analysis.” By Kristy Maher McNamara, in The Journal of the South Carolina Medical Association, Volume 95, Number 3, March 1999, p. 95-98
  • “Race, Class and Health.” By Kristy Maher McNamara. In Perspectives: Social Problems, edited by Robert P. McNamara. New York: Coursewise Publishing, 1999
  • “Elderly Women: Do They Suffer a Double Burden?” By Kristy Maher McNamara pp. 143-154 in Social Gerontology. Edited by David E. Redburn and Robert P. McNamara. Westport, CT: Auburn House,1998
  • “Women, Health and Medicine: A Sociological Perspective” by Kristy Maher McNamara, The Journal of the South Carolina Medical Association, March 1998, 94(3):106-112
  • “The Viola Street Community: A Study in Change” by Robert P. McNamara, Kristy Maher McNamara and Maria Tempenis. Monograph submitted to the Greenville Urban League, June 1996.
  • The Urban Landscape: Selected Readings. 1995. Edited by Kristy Maher McNamara and Robert P. McNamara, New York: University Press of America
  • “Urbanism as a Way of Whose Life? The Role of Women in Urban Community Studies” by Kristy Maher McNamara in The Urban Landscape: Selected Readings. 1995. Edited by Kristy Maher McNamara and Robert P. McNamara, New York: University Press of America
  • “Sleeping in the Playtime of Others: The Effects of Shift Rotation Among Police Officers.” by Robert P. McNamara, Kristy Maher McNamara, and Wendy Riley. in Nicky Ali Jackson (ed.) Criminal Justice: Current Trends and Issues. 1995. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • 2006-07: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Career Advanced Planning Grant to fund full-year sabbatical leave
  • 2006: Freeman Foundation Award to study Traditional Chinese Medicine in Kunming, China
  • 2004: HRSA Grant to evaluate “Healthy Connections” Program
  • 2003: Fellowship at Dartmouth University on the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of the Human Genome Project
  • 2002: Greenville’s Best and Brightest Under 35, Greenville Magazine
  • 2002: Lilly Foundation, “Theology and Vocation”, June 2001-June 2002, Furman University
  • 2001: Fullerton Foundation, “Genetics and Justice”, June 26-27, 2001, Davidson College
  • 2001: Interdisciplinary Fellow, Medical University of South Carolina, Institute of Human Values in Health Care
  • 2000: March of Dimes Grant to evaluate their “Babies and You” program
  • 1999: Furman Advantage Faculty Summer Stipend
  • 1998: Mellon Foundation Advanced Web Authoring Workshop
  • 1998: Connections: Women Leaders of the Upstate, participant
  • 1997: Mellon Foundation Introductory Workshop
  • 1997: Senior Order, Honorary Faculty Member
  • 1995: Pew Foundation Grant to integrate gender issue into Principles of Sociology course
  • 1993: Southern Connecticut State University, Sociology and Anthropology Department Outstanding Teaching Award
  • 1992: Yale University Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship
  • 1988: Sociology Department Award, Rosabeth Kanter Fund
  • 1988: Delta Epsilon Sigma, National Catholic Honor Society
  • 1988: Valedictory Honors, St. Michael's College. Summa Cum Laude
Yale University
Yale University
Yale University
St. Michael's College

Connect with Admission

Furman is one of the nation's premier liberal arts and sciences universities. We offer our students The Furman Advantage—an over-arching approach to education that promises every student a four-year personalized pathway, a team of advisors and mentors, and the opportunity for an engaged learning experience that is tracked and integrated with the students' academic and professional goals.

Want more information about the admission process at Furman?

Contact us

Once you see our campus, making the right college decision will be so much easier.

Plan a visit

Undergraduate Evening Studies provides adults the opportunity to receive an education from one of the premier liberal arts universities in the nation.

Whether you are starting or continuing your education, or have been away from the classroom for a few months or several years, our program provides many services to assist you with accomplishing your educational and professional goals.

Apply now

Our graduate studies program is designed for the professional educator.

We know the challenges teachers and administrators face every day, and we are committed to helping you become a leader within your school system or district.

Apply now
  • Furman University