Heather Dillaway

Heather Dillaway

Associate Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Professor, Department of Sociology



2237 FAB (Sociology)

2155.4 Old Main (College of Liberal Arts and Sciences)

Curriculum vitae





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Heather Dillaway


Office of the Dean and Department of Sociology

Dr. Dillaway received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Michigan State University in 2002, and joined the Sociology Department at Wayne State University in the same year. Her research primarily focuses on two topics: (1) women's experiences of menopause and midlife and (2) the reproductive health experiences of women with physical disabilities. Additional research projects include examinations of access to reproductive health care among homeless women in Detroit, health disparities among immigrant populations in the U.S., and day-to-day experiences of women living with HIV. Dr. Dillaway typically teaches courses on race, class, and gender inequalities, women and health, health disparities, families, qualitative methods, and research methods. She has also taught courses in the new public health major, including courses such as social and behavioral aspects of health, and the public health practicum and capstone courses.

In addition to faculty responsibilities, Dr. Dillaway is Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Wayne State. In her Associate Dean role she has created and launched a variety of undergraduate programs, including the undergraduate Department of Public Health and the LawStart program at Wayne State, and facilitates many other interdisciplinary curriculum efforts as well. She also coordinates undergraduate student success initiatives and academic staff matters for the College. Dr. Dillaway's previous administrative roles at Wayne State include: Founding Chair of Public Health (2016-2020), Associate Dean of Master's Programs in the Graduate School (2014-2015), Acting Director of the Institute of Gerontology (Summer 2014), Chair in Sociology (2011-2013), Graduate Director in Sociology (2010-2011), and Undergraduate Director in Sociology (2005-2010, 2012-2013).

Dr. Dillaway has also completed the following leadership trainings: 

Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), Institute for Educational Fundraising, August-September 2020
Fundraising in higher education, changing contexts for development, stewardship and donor relations

HERS Executive Leadership Institute, Boston, MA Fall 2018 – Spring 2019
Leadership principles, higher education trends, change management, budgets and financial
statements, career planning, legal and risk management, inclusive excellence, and fundraising

ACE Women’s Regional Forum, Clemson University, South Carolina Fall 2016
Higher education trends, campus challenges, crisis management, career planning, and inclusive

American Sociological Association, Department Chair Trainings Aug 2011, Aug 2012

Research interest(s)/area of expertise

menopause, reproductive health, women and aging, women and disabilities, body/embodiment, motherhood, access to health care, health disparities, public health, and race/class/gender/sexuality (intersectionality)


  • Ph.D., Sociology, Michigan State University, 2002
  • M.A., Sociology, University of Delaware, 1997
  • B.A., Sociology and History, Cornell University, 1995

Awards and grants

  • Kathleen S. Lowney Mentoring Award, Society for the Study of Social Problems, 2021

  • Outstanding Publication Award in the area of Families and Health, National Council on Family Relations (NCFR), 2014

  • Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award, Wayne State University, 2010

  • President's Excellence in Teaching Award, Wayne State University, 2007

  • SSTEP Educational Development Grant. Sub-award of NSF DUE-1524878. Title: “Flipping Introduction to Biostatistics: Increasing Student Learning of Biostatistics and Improving Program Retention Through the Use of Student-Centered Classroom Experiences.” My role: Co-Investigator (PI: Andrew Feig). $57,577 for two years (06/01/2018 – 05/31/2020).

  • National Institute on Mental Health and Health Disparities, R15 Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) Grant (#R15MD010214). Title: “Social Determinants of Primary Care Utilization among Urban Community Mental Health Center Patients with Serious Mental Illness.” My role: Co-Investigator (PI: Kristen Abraham). $417,827 for 3 years (07/09/2015 – 06/30/2018).

Selected publications

  • Dillaway, Heather, James, Allison Jendry, & Horn, Amanda J. (2022). The invisibilities of disability: Compiling conversations. Sociation 21. Accepted and in press.
  • Dillaway, Heather, and Pare`, Elizabeth. (2021). Reconfiguring motherhood and paid work: The time- and space-based contexts of COVID-19. Journal of Mother Studies 6(1): https://jourms.wordpress.com/reconfiguring-motherhood-and-paid-work-the-time-and-space-based-contexts-of-covid-19/.
  • Dillaway, Heather, and Wershler, Laura (Eds.). (2021). Musings on Perimenopause and Menopause: Identity, Experience, Transition. Demeter Press. https://demeterpress.org/books/musings-on-perimenopause-and-menopause-identity-experience-transition/  (See book launch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9MOTKCF4CA )
  • Tankha, Hallie, Caño, Annmarie, & Dillaway, Heather. (2020). “Now I have hope”: Rebuilding relationships affected by chronic pain. Families, Systems, and Health 38 (1): 51-56.
  • Tankha, Hallie, Caño, Annmarie, Corley, Angelia, Dillaway, Heather, Lumley, Mark, & Clark, Shannon. (2020). A novel couple-based intervention for chronic pain and relationship distress: A pilot study. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice 9(1):13–32.
  • Dillaway, Heather. (2020). Living in uncertain times: Experiences of menopause and reproductive aging. Chapter 21 in The handbook of critical menstruation studies, edited by Chris Bobel, Inga Winkler, Breanne Fahs, Katie Ann Hasson, Elizabeth Arveda Kissling, and Tomi-Ann Roberts. Palgrave MacMillan. Pp. 253-268.
  • Dillaway, Heather, Marzolf, Brianna, Fritz, Heather, Tarraf, Wassim, and Lysack, Cathy. (2019). Experiences of reproductive and sexual health and health care among women with disabilities. Chapter 38 in The Routledge international handbook of women's sexual and reproductive health, edited by Jane Ussher, Janette Perz, and Joan Chrisler. Routledge. Pp. 569-580.
  • Naples, Nancy, Mauldin, Laura, & Dillaway, Heather. (2019). From the Guest Editors: Intersectionality, Gender and Disability. Gender & Society 33(1): 5-18. 
  • Tarraf, Wassim, Jensen, Gail A, Dillaway, Heather E, Vásquez, Priscilla M, González, Hector M. (2018). Trajectories of aging among U.S. older adults: Mixed evidence for a Hispanic paradox. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B75 (3): 601-612.
  • Warren-Jeanpiere, Lari, Dillaway, Heather, Hamilton, Pilar, Young, Mary, and Goparaju, Lakshmi. (2017). “Life begins at 60”: Identifying the social support needs of African American women aging with HIV.” Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved 28(1): 389-405.
  • Tarraf, Wassim, Mahmoudi, Elham, Dillaway, Heather, & Gonzalez, Hector. (2016) Health spending among working-age immigrants with disabilities compared to those born in the US. Disability and Health Journal 9 (3): 479-490.
  • Dillaway, Heather. (2016). Are hysterectomies necessary? Racial differences in women’s attitudes. Journal of Women & Aging 28 (4): 309-321. 
  • Dillaway, Heather, & Lysack, Cathy. (2015). “Most of them are amateurs”: Women with spinal cord injury experience the lack of education and training among medical providers while seeking gynecological care. Disability Studies Quarterly 35 (3): http://dsq-sds.org/article/view/4934
  • Fritz, Heather, Dillaway, Heather, & Lysack, Cathy. (2015). “Don’t think paralysis takes away your womanhood”: Sexual intimacy after SCI. American Journal of Occupational Therapy 69(1): 69022-60030.
  • Warren-Jeanpiere, Lari, Dillaway, Heather, Hamilton, Pilar, Young, Mary, and Goparaju, Lakshmi. (2014). Taking it one day at a time: Older African American women aging with HIV and comorbidities. AIDS Patient Care and STDs 28 (7): 372-380.
  • Dillaway, Heather, & Lysack, Cathy. (2014). Encounters with inaccessibility: The contexts women with spinal cord injury face when seeking gynecological health care. Chapter 11 in Research in Social Science and Disability (volume 8), edited by Barbara Altman and Sharon Barnartt. Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Pp. 233-259.
  • Dillaway, Heather, & Lysack, Cathy. (2014). “’My doctor told me I can still have children but...’: Contradictions in women’s reproductive health experiences after spinal cord injury.” Chapter 8 in Reframing Reproduction, edited by Meredith Nash. Palgrave McMillan Publishers. Pp. 135-149.  (Dr. Dillaway won a 2014 Outstanding Publication Award from the National Council of Family Relations for this article.)
  • Dillaway, Heather, Cross, Katherine*, Lysack, Cathy, and Schwartz, Janet. (2013). Normal and natural, or burdensome and terrible? Women with spinal cord injuries discuss ambivalence about menstruation. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research 68(1-2): 107-120.
  • Dillaway, Heather. (2012). "Reproductive history as social context: Exploring how women converse about menopause and sexuality at midlife." Chapter 11 in J. DeLamater & L. Carpenter (Eds.), Sex for Life: From Virginity to Viagra, How Sexuality Changes Throughout Our Lives. New York: New York University Press. Pp. 217-235.


Courses taught

  • PH 5100: Capstone Course in Public Health, 4 cr., Winter 2018 (Co-taught with Dr. Suzanne Baker)
  • PH 5100: Capstone Course in Public Health, 4 cr., Fall 2017
  • PH 4100/4150: Public Health Principles and Practice, 4 cr., Spring/Summer 2017
  • PH 3100: Social and Behavioral Aspects of Health, 3 cr., Winter 2017
  • PH 3100: Social and Behavioral Aspects of Health, 3 cr., Winter 2016
  • SOC 2000: Introduction to Sociology, 3 cr., Winter 2016
  • SOC 8400: Sociology of the Family, 3 cr., Fall 2015
  • SOC 4200: Research Methods, 4 cr., Winter 2015

Citation index