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SCICU honors Kristy Maher with 2023 Excellence in Teaching award

Kristy Maher, a professor of sociology

Last updated March 2, 2023

By Jerry Salley '90, Senior Writer

Kristy Maher, a professor of sociology, has received the 2023 South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU) Excellence in Teaching award for Furman University.

A member of the faculty from each of the 21 members institutions is selected, based on criteria determined by each institution. Maher and the other award recipients will be honored at the SCICU Excellence in Teaching Awards Dinner in Columbia, South Carolina, on April 18. She will also receive a professional development grant.

Maher joined the Furman faculty in 1993. Her main areas of interest include medical sociology, social determinants of health and health disparities. In her 30 years of teaching at Furman, she has created many unique learning opportunities that take her students out of the classroom. She is co-director of Furman’s Medicine Program, which combines her Medical Sociology course with the Biomedical Ethics course led by Carmela Epright, a professor of philosophy. The Medicine Program also includes extensive fieldwork in more than 11 units of the Prisma Health System.

Students in Maher’s Social Determinants of Health course observe court proceedings to better understand how the Upstate Medical Legal Partnership works to remove legal barriers for patients. Her most recent research is a qualitative evaluation of the impact of the Medical Legal Partnership on the lives of caregivers of pediatric patients.

For more than a decade, Maher has directed faculty-led study away programs, taking students to Cuba and southern Africa to explore global health inequalities and most recently to Denmark to study happiness.

Maher served as the chair of Furman’s Department of Sociology and currently serves as the Furman director of the Health Sciences Center at Prisma Health, where she helps foster collaborative research between Furman faculty and staff and Prisma Health partners. She holds master’s and doctorate degrees in sociology from Yale University and a B.A. in sociology from St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont.


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