Ph.D., Science & Technology Studies (2005), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
M.S., Science & Technology Studies (2002), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
B.A., Psychology-Based Human Relations and French (1998), Connecticut College
Jill A. Fisher, Ph.D., is Professor of Social Medicine and core faculty in the Center for Bioethics at UNC-Chapel Hill. Dr. Fisher is a social scientist with a Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and expertise in medical sociology. Her research and teaching interests include social studies of the pharmaceutical industry, clinical trials, political economy, healthcare and social inequalities, and research ethics.
Dr. Fisher’s scholarship focuses on how social inequalities are produced or exploited by commercialized medicine in the United States. Her NIH-funded research examines how clinical trials are conducted and who participates in them as researchers and human subjects. In her 2009 book Medical Research for Hire, she shows how clinical trials have become a revenue stream for physicians and an important source of medical “care” for uninsured patients. Her more recent work has explored healthy volunteers’ participation in clinical trials. Healthy volunteers gain no health benefits and expose themselves to risks for the stipends that pharmaceutical companies pay for their time. In her 2020 book Adverse Events, Dr. Fisher analyzes healthy volunteers’ participation in these drug trials through the lenses of stigma and social inequality.
In addition to her work on clinical trials, Dr. Fisher has published on the social construction of Munchausen syndrome, tattooing as a cultural practice, gender and science, hospital tracking and location technologies, and on qualitative methods.