Professor Debora Paterniti

  • Debora PaternitiAssistant Professor
  • Ph.D., University of California, Davis
  • Health Policy Fellowship, Yale School of Medicine

Contact Information:

Email: debora.paterniti@sonoma.edu
Voicemail: 707.664.3033
Fax: 707.664.3920
Office: Stevenson 2084-I

Areas of Expertise:

Research Methods, Health Inequities, Medical Sociology, Social Welfare and Policy, Social Psychology, Ethics, and Community-Based Research.

Academic Interests:

Dr. Paterniti is a medical sociologist with extensive expertise in qualitative and mixed-methods research, including research design, thematic and textual analyses, and intervention development. Her work has focused on socialization & medical education and physician-patient communication & decision making and has emphasized critical examination of disparities in access to and provision of care.  As an applied sociologist, she has worked with interdisciplinary teams in medicine to develop interventions for enhancing information exchange, increasing health-related awareness, understanding, and communication between patients and their care providers.  Her most current projects include (1) examining innovative community-based strategies for resource mobilization; (2) understanding the impact of behavioral interventions on health-related decision making; and (3) developing strategies to incorporate mindfulness into social research and teaching.  She is co-chairperson for the Society for the Study of Social Problems Health, Health Services, and Health Policy division, co-chairperson for the Pacific Sociological Association Awards Committee, and a member of the editorial board of Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine.

Course Offerings:

  • SOCI 201: Introduction to Sociology
  • SOCI 300: Sociological Research Methods
  • SOCI 326: Social Psychology
  • SOCI 417: Sociology of Mental Health and Illness
  • SOCI 461: Social Welfare and Social Work
  • SOCI 488: Social Welfare & Health
  • SOCI 498: Senior Seminar - Identity, Biography, & Society

Selected Publications:

Shauman K, Howell LP, Paterniti DA, Beckett LA, Villablanca AC. 2018. “Barriers to Career Flexibility in Academic Medicine: A Qualitative Analysis of Reasons for the Underutilization of Family-Friendly Policies, and Implications for Institutional Change and Department Chair Leadership.” Acad Med.93(2):246-255.


Perez SL, Kravitz RL, Bell RA, Chan MS, Paterniti DA. 2016. “Characterizing internet health information seeking strategies by socioeconomic status: a mixed methods approach.” BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. Aug 9;16:107.


Tarn DM, Paterniti DA, Wenger NS. 2016. “Provider Recommendations in the Face of Scientific Uncertainty: An Analysis of Audio-Recorded Discussions about Vitamin D.” J Gen Intern Med. 31(8):909-17.

Jerant A, RL Kravitz , D Tancredi, DA Paterniti, et al. 2016. "Training Primary Care Physicians to Employ Self-Efficacy-Enhancing Interviewing Techniques: Randomized Controlled Trial of a Standardized Patient Intervention." J Gen Intern Med 31(7):716-22.

Fenton JJ, RL Kravitz, A Jerant, DA Paterniti, et al. 2016. "Promoting Patient-Centered Counseling to Reduce Use of Low-Value Diagnostic Tests: A Randomized Clinical Trial." JAMA Intern Med 176(2):191-7.

Tarn, DM, A Karlamangla, ID Coulter, DA Paterniti, et al. 2015. “A cross-sectional study of provider and patient characteristics associated with outpatient disclosures of dietary supplement use.Patient Educ Couns  98:830-36.

Tong, EK, LC Fung, SL Stewart, DA Paterniti, JH Dang, MS Chen Jr. 2014. “Impact of a biospecimen collection seminar on willingness to donate biospecimens among Chinese Americans: Results from a randomized, controlled community-based trial.Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 23(3):392-401.

Tarn, DM, DA Paterniti, DK Orosz, CH Tseng, NS Wenger. 2013. “Intervention to enhance communication about newly prescribed medications.”  Ann Fam Med 11(1):28-36. 

Kravitz, RL, DA Paterniti, RM Epstein, AB Rochlen, RA Bell, et al. 2011. “Organizational and Relational Barriers to Depression Help-Seeking in Primary Care: A Qualitative Study.” Patient Educ Couns 82(2):207-13.

Li, ST, DA Paterniti, JP Co, DC West. 2010. “Successful self-directed lifelong learning in medicine: a conceptual model derived from qualitative analysis of a national survey of pediatric residents.Acad Med  85 (7):1229-36.

Paterniti, DA, TL Fancher, CS Cipri, S Timmermans, J Heritage, RL Kravitz. 2010. “Getting to ‘No’: Strategies Physicians Use to Deny Patient Requests.” Arch Intern Med 170(4):381-8.

Paterniti, DA, RJ Pan, LF Smith, NM Horan, DC West.  2006. “From Physician-Centered to Community-Oriented Perspectives on Health Care: Assessing the Efficacy of Community-based Training.” Acad Med 81:347-353.

Paterniti, DA. 2004. “A Second Opinion.” Contexts: Understanding People in Their Social Worlds 3(3):56-7.

Ashton, CM, PM Haidet, DA Paterniti, et al.  2003. “Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care: Doctors’ Biases, Patients’ Preferences, or Poor Communication?” J Gen Intern Med 18(2):146-152.

Paterniti, DA.  2003. “Claiming Identity in a Nursing Home.” In J Gubrium and J Holstein, eds. Ways of Aging. Blackwell Publishers pp.58-74.

Charmaz, K, DA Paterniti, eds. 1999. Health, Illness, and Healing: Society, Social Context, and Self. Los Angeles: Roxbury Publishing Company.