Beard, Renée

Renée Lynn Beard is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, where she teaches courses on the sociology of health, illness, aging, the family, and research methods. She got her doctorate in medical sociology at the University of California in San Francisco. Her dissertation, Managing Memory: Scientific Facts, Biomedical Identities, and Early Alzheimer’s, was an 18-month ethnography of being evaluated, diagnosed, and living with the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). After completing her doctoral studies, she spent three years as a National Institute of Aging Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Illinois Chicago. There, she collected more data on the experiences of affected individuals and family members, and she was the site-PI for the cross-national, CDC-funded Brain Health Initiative. She also examined the Alzheimer’s disease social movement, clinicians at specialty clinics, and the literature on arts-based therapies for people with dementia. Most recently, she has been following affected couples over time to understand their experiences of AD, especially how perceived marital closeness impacts their respective roles and relationship. She published widely on the subjective experiences of Alzheimer’s drawing on illness narratives, including one piece co-authored with a woman who had AD and her husband. Living with Alzheimer’s, featured in her Rorotoko interview, was the culminating project of over a decade of research.


On Rorotoko:

On her book Living with Alzheimer’s: Managing Memory Loss, Identity, and Illness
(Our Cover Feature of February 07, 2017)