Tina Sacks

Job title: 
Associate Professor

Tina Sacks is an associate professor at UC Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare. Her fields of interest include racial inequities in health, social determinants of health, and poverty and inequality. Professor Sacks focuses on the how macro-structural forces, including structural discrimination and immigration, affect women’s health. Her current work investigates the persistence of racial and gender discrimination in health care settings among racial/ethnic minorities who are not poor. She published a book on this subject entitled Invisible Visits: Black Middle Class Women in the American Healthcare System (Oxford, 2019) Her next major project explores the implications of the infamous U.S. Public Health Service Tuskegee Syphilis Study on the Study’s direct descendants.

Professor Sacks is also the principal investigator of two projects on immigration and health including a bi-national study of migration, labor, and health among indigenous Mexican women in California and Oaxaca, Mexico. She also leads a study of gender dynamics and food stamp participation among Latina immigrants in California in collaboration with the Berkeley Food Institute and the UC Berkeley Nutrition Policy Institute.

Professor Sacks’ work has been published in Race and Social Problems, Qualitative Social Work, Family and Community Health, Health Affairs, the New Yorker, and MSNBC News. In addition to her scholarship, Dr. Sacks collaborates with Carlos Javier Ortiz, a photographer and documentary filmmaker, on issues affecting Black and Latino communities. Their films, We All We Got (2015) and A Thousand Midnights (2016), appeared at the AFI, Tribeca, LA, and St. Louis International Film Festivals among others.

Prior to joining Berkeley Social Welfare, Professor Sacks spent nearly a decade working for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where she worked on public health policy with special emphasis in environmental and women’s health programs.  Her experience includes serving as the special assistant to the director of the CDC, legislative director of the Baltimore City Health Department, and executive director of a non-profit healthcare organization.

Current Projects

Gender Dynamics and SNAP/CalFresh Enrollment among Immigrant Households in California

In The News

Awards / Honors

2015, IIS Manuscript Mini-Conference Grant, The Institute of International Studies (IIS)

Expanded Publications

Tina K. Sacks (2017): Performing Black womanhood: a qualitative study of stereotypes and the healthcare encounter. Critical Public Health, DOI: 10.1080/09581596.2017.1307323

Gunn, Alana J., Sacks, Tina K., and Jemel, Alexis (2016). "That's not me anymore": Resistance strategies for managing intersectional stigmas for women with substance use and incarceration histories. Qualitative Social Work.

Sacks, T. (2015). "Qualitative Social Work. 14(6) 753–757.

Ferrera, M. J., Sacks, T. K., Perez, M., Nixon, J. P., Asis, D., & Coleman, R. W. L. (2015). < a href = "https://oce.ovid.com/article/00003727-201501000-00003/HTML>Empowering immigrant youth in Chicago: utilizing CBPR to document the impact of a youth health service corps programFamily & community health, 38(1), 12-21.

Sacks, T. (under review). Mobilizing class resources and presenting the self: The differential healthcare experiences of black middle class women.

Campos-Castillo, Celeste, Benjamin W. Woodson, Elizabeth Theiss-Morse, Tina Sacks, Michelle Fleig-Palmer and Monica E. Peek. Forthcoming. "Examining the Relationship between Interpersonal and Institutional Trust in the Political and Health Care Contexts." in Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Trust: Towards Theoretical and Methodological Integration, edited by E. Shockley, T. M. S. Neal, L. M. PytlikZillig and B. H. Bornstein. New York: Springer

Sacks, T. (2013). “Race and Gender Concordance: Strategy to Reduce Health Disparities or Red Herring? Evidence from a Qualitative Study.” Race and Social Problems.

Gehlert, S., Sohmer, D., Sacks T., Mininger, C., McClintock, MK, & Olopade, O. (2008). “Targeting Health Disparities: Linking Upstream Determinants to Downstream Interventions.” Health Affairs.

Furimoto-Dawson, A. & Gehlert, S., Sohmer, D., Olapade, O., & Sacks, T. (2007). “Early life conditions and mechanisms population health vulnerabilities.” Health Affairs.

Peer Reviewed Presentations

Sacks, T. (2015, January). “Use of the Vignette Technique in a Qualitative Study of Health Disparities.” Presentation delivered at the Society for Social Work Research Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA.

Sacks, T., Das, A., Jones, A., Hoffman, C., Staller, K., Padgett, D., Gilgun, J. (2015, January). “Beyond Description: A Workshop on Moving from Description to Analysis in Qualitative Social Work Research.” Panel discussion held at the Society for Social Work Research Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA.

Sacks, T. (2014, October). Negotiating the Health Care Encounter: Race, Class and Gender in the Age of the Affordable Care Act. University of California Berkeley Alumni Weekend Speaker’s Series (invited).

Sacks, T. (2014, January). “Sanguinity and the Black Body: African American Women, Hysterectomy and Reproductive Freedom.” Presentation delivered at the Society for Social Work Research Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX.

Sacks, T. (2013, March). "Ain’t I a Woman": Black Middle Class Women Discuss Race and Gender Preference in Healthcare. Presentation delivered at the University of Illinois at Chicago Engendering Society Conference, Chicago, IL.

Sacks, T. (2013, January). "Ain’t I a Woman": Black Middle Class Women Discuss Race and Gender Preference in Healthcare. Presentation delivered at the Society for Social Work Research Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA.

Sacks, T. (2012, October). “Demonstrate You Are Also a Person”: Healthcare Disparities Among Black Middle Class Women. Presentation delivered at the American Public Health Association Conference, San Francisco, CA.

Sacks, T. (2012, January). Mobilizing Class Resources and Presenting the Self: A Qualitative Study of Healthcare Disparities Among Black Middle Class Women.Presentation delivered at the Society for Social Work Research Annual Meeting, Washington, DC. 

Sacks, T. (2011, October). The Black Women’s Health Care Project: Health and Resilience Among the Black Middle Class. Presentation delivered at the American Public Health Association Conference, Washington, DC.

Sacks, T. (2010, October). Understanding Health Care Disparities: Using Qualitative Data to Explore Perspectives of Middle Class African American Women.Presentation delivered at the Council on Social Work Education Annual Meeting, Portland, OR.

Mininger, C. & Sacks, T. (2008, January). Measuring the Built Environment in Breast Cancer Research. ;Paper presentation at the annual conference of the Society for Social Work Research, Washington, DC.

Sacks, T. & Brazelton, J. (2005, December). Loneliness: A Risk Factor for Breast Cancer Among African-American Women. Paper presentation at the American Public Health Association. Philadelphia, PA.

Grand Rounds and Other Professional Presentations

Sacks, T. (2012, December). “Demonstrate You Are Also a Person”: Healthcare Disparities Among Black Middle Class Women.Presentation delivered at Rush Medical Center University Preventive Medicine Grand Rounds, Chicago, IL.;

Sacks, T. (2012, June). Black, Female, and Middle-Class: A Healthcare Negotiation.Presentation delivered at the Institute for Healthcare Studies, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL.

Sacks, T (2009, January). Understanding Health Care Disparities: Perspectives of Middle class African Americans. Presentation to the Health Economics Workshop, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Sacks, T. (2008, May). Middle-class African-Americans: Persistent Health Challenges.Presentation to the Health Economics Workshop, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Sacks, T. Curry, A., Bird, Jason, Darrow, J. (October, 2008). Exploring Opportunities and Challenges for Teaching Assistants. The University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration, Teaching Workshop, Chicago, IL.

Sacks, T. Mininger, C. & Gehlert, S. (2007, April). Social Isolation, the Built Environment, and Breast Cancer. Proseminar Series at the Institute for Mind and Body, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Sacks, T. & Gehlert, S. (2006, November). Felt Loneliness and Breast Cancer Outcomes.Proseminar Series at the Institute for Mind and Body, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Sacks, T. & Mininger C. (2006, November). Trans-disciplinary Research: Breast Cancer and the Social Environment. External Advisory Committee-National Institutes of Health (NCI and NIEHS), Chicago, IL.

Research interests: 
  • Health and Healthcare Disparities
  • Race/Class/Gender
  • Racial Disparities in Health
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Race, Class and Gender
  • Poverty and Inequality


(510) 642-0929
Haviland Hall 330