Patricia Morton

Patricia Morton

Assistant Professor of Sociology/Public Health
Adjunct, Institute of Gerontology


313-577-2735 (fax)

 2251 Faculty/Administration Building

Curriculum vitae

Patricia Morton

Dr. Morton received her dual-title Ph.D. in Sociology and Gerontology from Purdue University. Broadly, Dr. Morton's academic interests center on understanding health inequality throughout the life course. Her research primarily focuses on the lasting health consequences of childhood conditions. This line of work underscores the importance of how early-life conditions produce unequal opportunities and constraints which impact health through multiple life domains such as socioeconomic status, health behaviors, and physiology.

Dr. Morton's approach to studying the early origins of adult health also addresses conceptual and methodological issues surrounding life course research. Her work has been published in various journals such as Demography, Social Science & Medicine, and the Journals of Gerontology: Series B; highlighted by national and international news outlets; and received several awards, including the Gerontological Society of America's Theoretical Developments in Social Gerontology.

Research interest(s)/area of expertise

  • Aging and the Life Course
  • Population Health
  • Health Disparities
  • Social Inequality
  • Quantitative Methodology


Health and aging over the life course.


  • Ph.D., Sociology and Gerontology (dual-title), Purdue University
  • M.S., Sociology, Purdue University
  • B.S., Applied Sociology, Texas State University

Awards and grants

  • Theoretical Developments in Social Gerontology Paper Award, Gerontological Society of America, 2014

    Distinguished Dissertation Award, Purdue University, 2016

    Behavioral and Social Sciences Student Research Award, Dissertation Level, Gerontological Society of America, 2016


  • NIH R01. National Institute on Aging. “Childhood Misfortune and Adult Health among Black, White, and Hispanic Americans.” PI: Ferraro. (R01AG043544). $824,948, 2020-2022.
    Role: Site PI and Co-Investigator

Selected publications

Morton, Patricia M., and Kenneth F. Ferraro. 2020. "Early Social Origins of Biological Risks for Men and Women in Later Life." Journal of Health and Social Behavior 61:503-522.

Ferraro, Kenneth F. and Patricia M. Morton. 2018. “What Do We mean by Accumulation? Advancing Conceptual Precision for a Core Idea in Gerontology.” The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Social Sciences 73:269-278.

Morton, Patricia M., Sarah A. Mustillo, and Kenneth F. Ferraro. 2014. “Does Childhood Misfortune Increase Acute Myocardial Infarction Risk?” Social Science & Medicine 104:133-41.

Vuolo, Michael, Kenneth F. Ferraro, Patricia M. Morton, and Ting-Ying Yang. 2014. “Why Do Older People Change Their Ratings of Childhood Health?” Demography 51:1999-2023.

Currently teaching

  • PH 3300: Epidemiology

    SOC 4204: Aging and the Life Course Seminar


Courses taught

FPH 7250: Applied Epidemiology

FPH 7780: Epidemiology of Aging

PH 3300: Epidemiology

SOC 2020/1020: Social Problems

SOC 4204: Seminar in Aging and the Life Course

SOC 7760: Health and the Life Course

FPH=Famliy Public Health; PH=Public Health; SOC=Sociology