Don Willis

Don Willis
PDF Documents: 
Areas of Study: 

Inequality, Health Disparities, Food Insecurity, Youth/Life Course

Research and Teaching: 

Social Inequality | Health Disparities | Food Insecurity | Youth/Life Course | Research Methods

SOC 1000 – Introduction to Sociology (Honors)

SOC 3440 – Sociology of Health

SOC 4210 – Aging and The Life Course

SOC 3420 – The Family

Bio: 

I am a Huggins Fellow and doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Broadly, my interests are in social inequality and health disparities, with a particular focus on food, social relationships, and social status. I am interested in how material hardships, such as food insecurity, may operate through social mechanisms to impact health. I frequently borrow from the life course paradigm to help inform and frame my research.

My dissertation examines food insecurity among college students—a population that has only recently received attention within the literature—and the impact it has on academic performance, social lives, and health outcomes. A primary goal of this study is to broaden the understanding of food insecurity and how it impacts health by revealing the ways it operates through social factors; rather than treating food as simply a source of calories or nutrients, I emphasize the importance of food to social status, relationships, trust, and belonging. In other words, I investigate the non-nutritional pathways through which food and food insecurity may impact health.

Awards and Honors: 

Mizzou Advantage International Travel Award ($900) – 2017

Sociology Research Award ($2,000) – 2017

Deaton Scholar – Spring 2017

G. Ellsworth Huggins Fellowship ($8-9,600 per year) – Fall 2013-Present

Bernice Jones Endowed Chair in Community Award ($500) – Spring 2013

Select Publications: 

Books:

Fitzpatrick, Kevin M. and Don Willis (Eds.). 2015. A Place-Based Perspective of Food in Society. New York: Palgrave/Macmillan.

Book Chapters:

Willis, Don E., and Kevin M. Fitzpatrick. Forthcoming 2018. “Food Insecurity and Childhood Health Outcomes.” Food and Poverty: Food Insecurity and Food Sovereignty among America’s Poor, edited by Leslie Hossfeld, Brooke Kelly, and Jill Waity. Vanderbilt University Press.

Fitzpatrick, Kevin M., and Don E. Willis. 2014. “Race and Place.” Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Health, Illness, Behavior and Society, edited by Stella Quah, William C. Cockerham, and Robert Dingwall. Oxford, England: Blackwell Publishing Limited.

Peer Reviewed Publications:

Willis, Don E. and Kevin M. Fitzpatrick. 2017. “Food Insecurity and Social Capital Among Middle School Students.” Youth & Society. https://doi.org/10.1177/0044118X17725460

Fitzpatrick, Kevin M., and Don E. Willis. 2017. "Risks, Resources, and Depressive Symptomatology Among Marshallese Adolescents." American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/ort0000288

Willis, Don E., and Kevin M. Fitzpatrick. 2016. “Psychosocial Factors as Mediators of Food Insecurity and Weight Status Among Middle School Students.” Appetite, 103:236-43. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2016.04.022

Fitzpatrick, Kevin. M., and Don E. Willis. 2015. “Parent/Student Risk and Protective Factors in Understanding Early Adolescents’ Body Mass Index.” The Journal of Early Adolescence, 36(4):510-526. https://doi.org/10.1177/0272431615570058

Fitzpatrick, Kevin. M., Don E. Willis, and Gail O'Connor. 2014. “Circumstances, Resources, and Weight Status Outcomes Among Middle School Students.” The Journal of Early Adolescence, 34(8):1058-74. https://doi.org/10.1177/0272431613518974

Professional Presentations:

Willis, Don E. 2018. “Feeding the Student Body: Food Insecurity, Social Status, and Health Among College Students.” Accepted for presentation at the Midwest Sociological Society Annual Meetings, Minneapolis (March).

Rubin, Zach., and Don E. Willis. 2018. “Defining and Measuring Success in Intentional Communities: An Analysis of What Works Today.” Accepted for presentation at the Midwest Sociological Society Annual Meetings, Minneapolis (March).

Fitzpatrick, Kevin M., and Don E. Willis. 2017. "Risks, Resources, and Depressive Symptomatology Among Marshallese Adolescents" Presented at the American Sociological Association Meetings, Montréal (August).

Schatz, Enid, Margaret Ralston, Sangeetha Madhavan, Don Willis, F. Xavier Gomez-Olive, and Mark Collinson. 2015. “Older person’s living arrangements and health in rural South Africa: Confirming social positioning?” Presented at the 7th African Population Conference, Johannesburg, South Africa (November/December).

Willis, Don E., and Kevin M. Fitzpatrick. 2015. “Psychosocial Mediators of the Food Insecurity-Obesity Paradox.” Presented at the Midwest Sociological Society Annual Meetings, Kansas City (March).

Hermsen, Joan., and Don E. Willis. 2015. “Young Women's Attitudes about Future Work: The Role of Maternal Education and Employment.” Presented at the Midwest Sociological Society Annual Meetings, Kansas City (March).

Willis, Don E., and Kevin Fitzpatrick. 2014. “Resources and Relationships: Food Insecurity and Social Capital Among Middle School Students.” Presented at the American Sociological Association Annual Meetings, San Francisco (August).

Fitzpatrick, Kevin M., Don E. Willis, and Gail O’Connor. 2013. “Social Class, Social Resources and Weight Status Outcomes Among Middle School Students.” Presented at the American Sociological Association Meetings, New York (August).CV