John Girdwood

John Girdwood



Curriculum Vitae


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John Girdwood

Dr. Girdwood got his Ph.D. from Michigan State University. His dissertation title was titled "Redefining the Homeless Experience in Michigan" and he utilized embedded ethnographic methods to acquire data. He lived in homeless shelters and participated in the homeless Point-In-Time (PIT) Count. He is interested in social issues and has a background in medical sociology.

Research Interest/Area of Expertise

    • Ethnography
    • Visual Sociology
    • Qualitative Methods
    • Marginalized Populations
    • Social Justice
    • Family Sociology


 Dr. Girdwood has written about sociology of health, dentistry, and IPM (inequality, poverty, and mobility) among other issues related to underserved populations.

Education – Degrees, Licenses, Certifications

  • Ph.D., Michigan State University
  • M.S.A., Central Michigan University
  • B.A., Western Michigan University

Awards and Grants

  • Department of Health and Human Services (CMS)

    • Grant Number 1C1CMS331321 $9,400,000
    • Title: “Reducing the Burden of Childhood Dental Disease”
    • Role: Program Manager; Research Analyst
    • Partners: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Delta Dental, and Altarum Institute

    Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM)

    • Smiles for Life (SFL) Research Award $500
    • Title: “Program Fidelity of a Statewide Initiative to Improve Oral Health”
    • Role: Primary Author

Selected Publications

“Factors Affecting Implementation of a Medical-Dental Initiative to Improve Oral Health Among Young Children: A Pilot Study”

Under Revision 2017

“The Importance of Quality Oral Health Care in Medical Clinics”

University of Michigan School of Dentistry Annual Research Day (Poster) 2017

“Program Fidelity of a Statewide Initiative to Improve Oral Health”

American Academy of Pediatrics, Annual Conference (Poster) 2016

“Successful Implementation of Dental Preventive Strategies in Medical Clinics via Inter-Professional Education and Training”

University of Michigan Health Professions Education Day (Poster) 2016

“Integrating Oral Health Strategies in Medical Clinics Using Lean Tools”

Michigan Association for Healthcare Quality; Annual Conference 2016

“Cultivating Inter-Professionalism to Enhance Fidelity of an Oral Health Initiative within the Medical Clinic”

Western Michigan University Family Medicine Research Day (Poster) 2016

“Program Fidelity of a Statewide Initiative to Improve Oral Health”

University of Michigan School of Dentistry Annual Research Day (Poster) 2016

“An Ethnography about Homelessness in Michigan Communities”

American Sociological Association; Section on Community and Urban Sociology 2015

“The Lives of Homeless Individuals Shown through Visual Ethnography”

Society for the Study of Social Problems 2015

“Providing Care for Patients Who Experienced Homelessness”

University of Michigan School of Dentistry (CE Course) 2015

Table Presider

American Sociological Association; Section on Health and Economic Issues 2015

“Visual Ethnography of the Michigan Homeless Experience”

Michigan State University; Graduate Academic Conference 2015

“Social Media and Networking as a Teaching Tool”

American Sociological Association; Teaching Workshop 2013

“Inside and Out: Leading a Team from Both Sides”

Michigan Hospice Volunteer Coordinators Association 2011

Top Down of Bottoms Up? Creating an Environment for Better Care

Visiting Nurse Association of America 2011

“Volunteer Participation: The Other Half of the Equation We Often Take for Granted”

Hospice and Palliative Care Association of Michigan 2010

Moyer Foundation National Bereavement Conference 2010

Currently Teaching

  •  Recently taught Sociology of Families at Wayne State University

    Other teaching positions:

    Saginaw Valley State University

    Adjunct Faculty: SOC111 Introduction to Sociology 2011-2015

    SOC112 Introduction to Anthropology

    SOC280 Global Studies

    SOC331 Population

    Taught variety of topics including a writing intensive course.

    Alma College

    Visiting Instructor: SOA280 Environmental Sociology 2014

    SOA101 Principles of Sociology

    Small, private school in rural area.

    Adrian College

    Adjunct Faculty: SOC104 Introduction to Sociology 2013

    Small, private school in rural area.

    Delta College

    Adjunct Faculty: SOC211 Principles of Sociology 2012-2013

    Community college, non-traditional students, near urban city.

    University of Michigan – Flint

    Temporary Instructor: SOC354 Sociology of Families 2012

    Mid-sized public university in urban city.

    Guest Lecturer: Michael Moore, Academy Award Winning Filmmaker

    Michigan State University

    Instructor of Sociology: SOC315 Families and Society 2010-2012

    Taught course online using Blackboard.