Renée Lynn Beard


Sociology and Anthropology

Ph.D., University of California San Francisco

Fields: medical sociology, social gerontology, illness narratives, Alzheimer's, social movements

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Renée L. Beard, Ph.D., received her degree in medical sociology from the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco.  Her dissertation, Managing Memory: clinical facts, biomedical negotiations, and Alzheimer's identities, was a sociocultural and historical analysis of treating, serving, and experiencing memory loss in clinical practice, advocacy arenas, and everyday life.  She completed a NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship in Gerontological Public Health at the Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago.  Her substantive areas are medical sociology and aging, including the senior rights movement, the bioethics of aging, lay and expert knowledges, doctor-patient interactions, and subjective experiences of illness and aging.  Her senior seminar, Illness Narratives, examines the psychosocial impact of various ailments through first-person accounts.  She also teaches medical sociology, families and societies, aging and society, and research methods.  Several of her publications include:


Beard, R.L. (2016) Living with Alzheimer’s: Managing Memory Loss, Identity and Illness. New York: New York University Press.

Peer-reviewed publications

  • Gallagher, E. & Beard, R.L. (2020) Buffer or Blade: Perceived relationship closeness in couples navigating Alzheimer’s, Journal of Aging Studies. 52: 100832.
  • Cormier, N., Gallo-Cruz, S. & Beard, R.L. (2017) Navigating the New, Transplanted Self: How Recipients Manage the Cognitive Risks of Organ Transplantation, Sociology of Health & Illness. 39(8): 1496–1513.
  • Beard, R.L. & Neary, T.M. (2013) Making sense of nonsense: experiences of mild cognitive impairment, Sociology of Health & Illness. 35(1): 130-146. 
  • Beard, R.L. (2012) Art therapies and dementia care: a systematic review, Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice. 11(5): 633-656. 
  • Beard, R.L., Sakhtah, S., Imse, V., & Galvin, J.E. (2011) Negotiating the joint career: Couples adapting to Alzheimer’s and aging in place, Journal of Aging Research, Special Issue on “Aging in Place in Late Life.” Online journal, Article ID 797023, 12 pages.
  • Beard, R.L., Knauss, J. & Moyer, D. (2009) How we manage our disability and enjoy life: Reframing dementia through narratives with those who live with it, Journal of Aging Studies. 23(4): 227-235.
  • Beard, R.L. (2008) Trust and Memory: organizational strategies, institutional conditions and trust negotiations in specialty clinics for Alzheimer’s disease, Culture, Medicine & Psychiatry. 32: 11-30.
  • Beard, R.L. & Fox, P.J. (2008) Resisting Social Disenfranchisement: Negotiating Collective Identities and Everyday Life with Memory Loss, Social Science & Medicine. 66(7): 1509-1520.