Heather Dillaway

Heather Dillaway

Professor of Sociology
Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Interim Chair of Public Health


313-577-2735 (fax)


2237 FAB (Sociology)

2155.4 Old Main (College of Liberal Arts and Sciences)

Curriculum vitae






Heather Dillaway


Office of the Dean, Department of Sociology, and Department of Public Health

Dr. Dillaway received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Michigan State University in 2002, and also joined the Sociology Department at Wayne State University in 2002. Most of her research focuses on two topics: (1) women's experiences of menopause and midlife and (2) the reproductive health experiences of women with physical disabilities. She typically teaches courses on race and gender inequalities, women and health, health disparities, families, qualitative methods, and research methods. In the past few years 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 her faculty responsibilities, Dr. Dillaway is Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Wayne State and Interim Chair of the Department of Public Health. In her Associate Dean role she has created and launched a variety of undergraduate programs, including the Bachelors of Science in Public Health program and the new LawStart program at Wayne State, and is facilitating many other interdisciplinary curriculum initiatives as well. She also coordinates academic staff matters for the College. As Interim Chair of the Department of Public Health, she has helped to build and stabilize the program's curriculum and infrastructure over its two-year launch, and has supervised all hiring and strategic planning for the unit. Dr. Dillaway's previous administrative roles at Wayne State include: Associate Dean in the Graduate School's Master's Office (2014-2015), Acting Director of the Institute of Gerontology (Summer 2014), Interim 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: 

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

Research interest(s)/area of expertise

  • menopause, reproductive health, women and aging, women and disabilities, body/embodiment, motherhood, access to health care, health disparities, 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

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

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

  • Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award, Wayne State University, 2010

    President’s Excellence-in-Teaching Award, Wayne State University, 2007

Selected publications

Naples, Nancy, Mauldin, Laura, & Dillaway, Heather. (2019). From the Guest Editors: Intersectionality, Gender and Disability. Gender & Society 33(1): 5-18. https://doi.org/10.1177/0891243218813309

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 B, gby057. https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gby057

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