Assistant ProfessorAlexis Dennis

Peterson Hall Building, Room 314
3460 McTavish, Montreal, Quebec, H3A 0E6

E-Mail: alexis.dennis [at]

Office hours: By appointment

Research Areas

Race and Racism, Population Health, Medical Sociology, Life Course.



PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2022

MPH, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2014


Dr. Dennis is a population health scientist and sociologist with cross-training in public health. Her research broadly investigates how and why structural and social stratification processes generate inequality in health and wellbeing. She is particularly interested in uncovering the mechanisms that give rise to health inequalities across and within racial/ethnic groups. Dr. Dennis is also attentive to the need to refine theory, conceptualization, and measurement in her work to better reflect how our quantitative measures may have qualitatively different meanings across racial/ethnic groups. A central strand of her research investigates why Nonwhites do not consistently reap the same beneficial health returns to material resources as Whites. One project in this area examines how access to various types of socioeconomic and material resources across early portions of the life course gives rise to racial/ethnic inequalities in depression observed among US adults by midlife. Another thread of Dr. Dennis’ research examines how various forms of racism differentially restrict opportunities for health and wellbeing across and within racial/ethnic groups in the United States.


Selected Publications


Boen, Courtney E., Y. Claire Yang, Allison E. Aiello, Alexis C. Dennis, Kathleen Mullan Harris, Dayoon Kwon, and Daniel Belsky. 2023. “Patterns and Drivers of Black-White Disparities in Biological Age Acceleration in Mid-to-Late Life.” Demography, 60(6) 1815–1841

Renson, Audrey, Alexis C. Dennis, Grace Noppert, Elizabeth McClure, Allison Aiello. 2022. “Interventions on socioeconomic and racial inequities in respiratory pandemics: a rapid systematic review.” Current Epidemiology Reports. 9(2):66-76.

Hargrove, Taylor W., Lauren M. Gaydosh, Alexis C. Dennis. 2021. “Educational Gradients in CMR by Race/ethnicity, Nativity, and County-level Characteristics.” Demography.

Dennis, Alexis C. 2021. “Those Left Behind: Socioeconomic Predictors and Social Mediators of Psychological Distress among Working-aged African Americans in a Post-industrial City” Du Bois Review. 18(1):119-151.

Dennis, Alexis C., Esther O. Chung, Evans K. Lodge, Rae Anne Martinez, and Rachel E. Wilbur. 2021. “Looking Back to Leap Forward: A Framework for Operationalizing the Structural Racism Construct in Minority Health Research.” Ethnicity & Disease, 31(Suppl 1):301-310.

McCarraher, Donna R., Catherine Packer, Sarah Mercer, Alexis C. Dennis, Harry Banda, Namakau Nyambe, Randy M. Stalter, Jonathan K. Mwansa, Patrick Katayamoyo, and Julie A. Denison. 2018. “Adolescents living with HIV in the Copperbelt Province of Zambia: Their reproductive health needs and experiences.” PLOS ONE.

Velloza, Jennifer, Melissa H. Watt, Laurie Abler, Donald Skinner, Seth C. Kalichman, Alexis C. Dennis, and Kathleen J. Sikkema. 2017. “HIV-risk behaviors and social support among men and women attending alcohol-serving venues in South Africa: Implications for HIV prevention.” AIDS and Behavior. 21(Suppl 2):144-154.

Watt, Melissa H., Alexis C. Dennis, Karmel W. Choi, Nonceba Ciya, John A. Joska, Corne Robertson, and Kathleen J. Sikkema. 2017. “Impact of Sexual Trauma on HIV Care Engagement: Perspectives of Female Patients with Trauma Histories in Cape Town, South Africa.” AIDS and Behavior. 21(11):3209-3218.

Dennis, Alexis C., Sarah M. Wilson, Mary V. Mosha, Gileard G. Masenga, Kathleen J. Sikkema, Korrine E. Terroso, and Melissa H. Watt. 2016. “Experiences of Social Support among Women Presenting for Obstetric Fistula Repair Surgery in Tanzania.” International Journal of Women’s Health 8:429-439.

Watt, Melissa H., Lisa A. Eaton, Alexis C. Dennis, Karmel W. Choi, Seth C. Kalichman, Donald Skinner, and Kathleen J. Sikkema. 2015. “Alcohol Use During Pregnancy in a South African Community: Reconciling Knowledge, Norms, and Personal Experience. Maternal and Child Health Journal 20(1):48-55.

Sikkema, Kathleen J., Alexis C. Dennis, Melissa H. Watt, Karmel W. Choi, Tatenda Yemeke, and John A. Joska. 2015 . “Improving Mental Health Among People Living with HIV: A Review of Intervention Trials in Low- and Middle-income Countries.” Global Mental Health 2:e19-42.

Dennis, Alexis C., Clare Barrington, Sayaka Hino, Michele Gould, David Wohl, and Carol E. Golin. 2015. “‘You’re in a World of Chaos:’ Experiences Accessing HIV Care and Adhering to Medications After Incarceration.” Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care 26(5):542-555.

Grewe, Mary Beth, Arianna Taboada, Alexis Dennis, Elizabeth Chen, Kathryn Stein, Sable Watson, and Alexandra F. Lightfoot. 2015. “‘I learned to accept every part of myself’: the transformative impact of a theatre-based sexual health and HIV prevention programme.” Sex Education: Sexuality, Society, & Learning 15(3):202-217.

Denison, Julie A., Harry Banda, Alexis C. Dennis, Catherine Packer, Namakau Nyambe, Randy M. Stalter, Jonathan K. Mwansa, Patrick Katayamoyo, and Donna R. McCarraher. 2015. “‘The sky is the limit’: Adhering to Antiretroviral Therapy and HIV Self-management from the Perspectives of Adolescents Living with HIV and their Adult Caregivers.” Journal of the International AIDS Society 18(1):19358.

Grodensky, Catherine A., Carol E. Golin, Chaunetta Jones, Meheret Mamo, Alexis C. Dennis, Melinda G. Abernethy, and Kristine B. Patterson. 2015. “‘I Should Know Better’: The Roles of Relationships, Spirituality, Disclosure, Stigma, and Shame for Older Women Living with HIV Seeking Support in the South.” Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care 26(1):12-23.

Dennis, Alexis C. and Julia.T. Wood. 2012 . “‘We’re not going to have this conversation but you get it!’: Black Mother-Daughter Communication about Sexual Relationships.” Women’s Studies in Communication 35(2):204-223.


Courses Taught

Undergraduate Courses:

SOCI 310 Sociology of Mental Disorder

SOCI 225 Medicine and Health in Modern Society


Research Grants

2023-2024 “From Neurons to Neighborhoods.” CONNECT Team - Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives, McGill University. Co-Investigator. (Anna Weinberg, Alexis Dennis, Sam Nelson, Keita Christophe). Total costs: $100,000 CAD.

2022-2023 “A Scoping Review of Structural Racism and Racial and Ethnic Inequality in Wellbeing in Canada.” McGill University Internal Social Sciences and Humanities Development Grant. Principal Investigator. Total costs: $5,000 CAD.

Back to top