FACULTY SPOTLIGHT: Dr. Charles Peek
My research focuses primarily on health disparities in middle-age and late-life. I am currently working on projects that examine the ways that inequality translates into differential health outcomes over the lifecourse. I am also interested in the structure and evolution of social support networks. I regularly teach graduate and undergraduate courses in medical sociology and social research methods.
What project are you working on now?
I am currently working on a project that examines the extent and causes of intergenerational differences in self-rated health. Although we often think of the Baby Boomers as comparatively healthy and active as they age, several studies have offered evidence that the Baby Boom (of which I am a member having been born in 1962) will be less healthy than previous generations. My study seeks to determine whether Baby Boomers propensity to rate their health lower compared to previous cohorts is a consequence of worse health or different expectations regarding health and functioning in mid and late life.
How did you get interested in research on health and disability in the older population?
Honestly, what initially drew me to sociology (other than disenchantment with engineering, my initial major in college) was the study of occupations and the labor force. In fact, my doctoral research focused on race and gender differences in the career trajectories of scientists and engineers. After moving to Gainesville, I serendipitously met some folks in the college of medicine who needed someone to analyze data from a study of race and residential patterns of aging in Florida. That is how I initially developed an interest in health, aging, and medical sociology.
What do you do for fun?
That’s an easy question to answer: I love to play table tennis! I also enjoy cooking and bird watching.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Well, I’m not sure how surprising this is, but one of my long-term goals is to coach table tennis. I’ve begun the USATT certification process to become a club-level coach.