Valerie Chepp, PhD, is a sociologist and lead qualitative methodologist in the Healthcare Delivery and Implementation Science Center at the Cleveland Clinic. In collaboration with other methodologists, she rigorously studies the implementation of healthcare practices to improve healthcare delivery and outcomes. Her research explores social systems of inequality, with specific expertise in how different dimensions of social inequality intersect to result in unequal outcomes. Her current work examines the influence of sociomedical forces on healthcare delivery and health outcomes. Dr. Chepp has led multiple social scientific research studies using a diverse array of qualitative methods, including ethnographic participant observation, in-depth interviewing, cognitive interviewing, and various approaches to textual analysis.

Prior to joining the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Chepp served as associate professor of sociology and director of the Social Justice Program at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN, where she taught courses on Social Justice, Sociology of Gender, Ethnographic Field Methods, Youth Activism, Introductory Sociology, Sociology of Storytelling, and American Cool. Before that, she spent five years working as a qualitative methodologist in the Collaborative Center for Questionnaire Design and Evaluation Research at the National Center for Health Statistics, where she collaborated on numerous health survey evaluation studies. She is co-editor and co-author of the book Cognitive Interviewing Methodology (Wiley, 2014), which advocates for an interpretive approach to cognitive interviewing. She is also editor of the anthology Readings in Social Justice: Power, Inequality, and Action (Cognella, 2022). Her most recent book, Speaking Truths: Young Adults, Identity, and Spoken Word Activism, draws upon more than two years of ethnographic fieldwork to reveal how neoliberalism has shaped contemporary young adults’ activist approaches.

The most memorable aspects of my time at UMD are, by far, the relationships built and the ideas spawned. I made lifelong friends, including Lester Andrist, Kendra Barber, Nihal Çelik-Lynch, Aleia Clark, Denae Johnson, Emily Mann, Dawn Norris, Bev Pratt, Heather Ridolfo, Michelle Smirnova, among many others. I could have never gotten to where I am without academic mentors such as Melissa Milkie, Bill Falk, and Linda Moghadam. I am especially grateful to Patricia Hill Collins whose close guidance and modeling not only prepared me for a successful career in academia, but also the courage and clarity to step outside of it. Among the graduate school collaborations of which I'm most proud is my work with Paul Dean and Lester Andrist on the creation of The Sociological Cinema (

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