Claire Yang has won the 2014 Population Association of America Early Achievement Award. The award recognizes the career of a promising scholar who is a member of PAA and who received the Ph.D. in the previous ten years. The Award is given biennially to scholars who have made distinguished contributions to population research during the first ten years of their career. Such contributions may be original research published as articles or books, significant newly collected data, or a public policy achievement that broadens the impact of demography. The Award consists of a cash prize and a certificate and was presented this year at the PAA Annual Meeting in Boston.
Yang’s nomination was supported by eminent demographers and the social scientists. One leading scholar noted that, “Yang has published more ground-breaking papers in her early career than most scholars do over their entire career. The breadth of her research accomplishments is staggering, as is the quality and quantity of her publications.” Another senior scholar praises Yang as “a high achiever” who ”will be a future population science leader in the social and biological linkages in health and aging across the life course.”
Professor Yang joined UNC’s Department of Sociology in 2010 and has engaged in an innovative, acclaimed program of scholarship in population studies, medical sociology, social stratification, and statistical methods. She brings an unusual combination of superb methodological and analytic skills and insight into her research on key social and demographic processes.
Prof. Yang received her PhD from Duke University in 2005. In that same year, she was hired as an assistant professor at the University of Chicago. In 2009, an opportunity for a new tenured position in Sociology arose at Carolina as part of an initiative with the University Cancer Research Fund and the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. She left Chicago and joined UNC on July 1, 2010. She was hired with the intent of building interdisciplinary bridges between the social sciences and health affairs in the broad area of cancer research.
Yang’s main research interests crosscut demography, medical sociology, cancer, and quantitative methodology. Her overarching goal is to construct an integrative social and bio-demographic approach to better understand and find solutions to problems arising from reciprocal interactions between individuals’ social and physical worlds. Building upon her methodological breakthroughs, Yang’s recent and current substantive research focuses on trends and patterns of social inequalities in health and aging and the underlying bio-behavioral mechanisms. This active research agenda has produced numerous publications in prestigious peer-reviewed journals, books, external funding from the National Institutes of Health ranging from two to five years, and invited talks across countries.
Her professional colleagues have recognized her accomplishments by electing her to a number of important posts, including the American Sociological Association’s Methodology Section Council, as well as the Population Association of America Board of Directors.