Grad Students

Alexandra Tate

Contact Information

Office  Haines 261A
Alexandra is a PhD candidate at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Her research explores the U.S. health care system and engages theories of ethnography and conversation analysis to inform her findings. Her interests lie in the complexities of doctor-patient interaction and implications for patient care, with a current focus on cancer patients and oncologists during the treatment process. Her other current research projects include exploring treatment outcomes of mental health issues in primary care, the implementation of palliative care, the economic organization of healthcare systems, and fertility preservation practices of women with cancer. Her research aims to benefit the medical and patient communities through in-depth fieldwork at hospitals and health clinics.

She has presented her work at the American Sociological Association, the National Communication Association, and the International Conference on Conversation Analysis, among others. She has also served as a reviewer for the American Journal of Sociology, Journal of Health & Social Behavior, the Journal of Palliative Medicine, Social Science and Medicine, and The Agenda Setting Journal.

Fields of Study

Medical Sociology, Death & Dying, Qualitative Methods, Health Systems, Oncology, Health Inequality, Palliative Medicine, Ethnography, Conversation Analysis, Aging, Mental Health


Revise & resubmit: Tate, A. "Matter Over Mind: How mental health symptom presentations shape diagnostic outcomes." 

Revisions submitted: Tate, A. "Treatment Recommendations in Oncology Visits: Implications for patient agency and physician authority." 

In press: Snyder, K.A, A. Tate & E. Roubenoff. “Young Women with Breast Cancer and Treatment Decision-Making: Rethinking patient involvement and empowerment.” Research in the Sociology of Health Care. 36(1).

Robinson, J.D., A. Tate & J. Heritage. 2016. “Agenda-Setting Revisited: When and how do primary care physicians solicit patients’ additional concerns?” Patient Education and Counseling. 99(5): 718-723.

Snyder K.A. & A. Tate. 2014. "Oncofertility and the Potential for Patient Navigators," in Oncofertility Communication: Sharing information and Building Relationships Across Disciplines, ed. Theresa Woodruff et al. New York: Springer Press. 49-60.

Snyder K.A. & A. Tate. 2013. "What to Do Now: How Women with Breast Cancer Make Fertility Preservation Decisions." Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care. 39: 172-178.

Grants and Awards

Top Student Paper Panel, National Communication Association,  Language and Social Interaction Division, 2017

Dorothy L. Meier Dissertation Fellowship, 2017-2018

UCLA Graduate Research Mentorship Award, 2014-2015

UCLA Graduate Summer Research Mentorship, 2014

Excellence in Teaching Award, Department of Sociology, 2013-2014 

UCLA Graduate Summer Research Mentorship, 2013 

Honorable Mention, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 2013

Conference Presentations

In 2018: "The 'Elasticity' of Medical Certainty in Oncology." American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA.

2017: "Treatment Recommendations in Oncology Visits: Implications for Patient Agency and Physician Authority." National Communication Association Annual Meeting, Dallas, TX.

2017: "Mobilizing Certainty in Medicine to Secure Treatment Acceptance." National Communication Association Meeting, Dallas, TX.

2017: "Invocations of Death: A resource for negotiating treatment compliance in cancer care." American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Montréal, Canada.

2016: "Option-Listing and Physician Bias in Cancer Care." National Communication Association Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA.

2016: "Treatment Recommendations in Oncology Visits: A conversation analytic approach." American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA.

2015: "Younger Women with Breast Cancer and Treatment Decision-Making: Rethinking patient involvement and empowerment," with Karrie Ann Snyder, PhD. Twelfth International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

2015: “Putting Agenda Setting on the Agenda,” with Jeffrey Robinson, PhD and John Heritage, PhD. National Communication Association Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, NV.  

2015: "The Role of Patient Symptom Presentation in Mental Health Diagnosis and Treatment in Primary Care." American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL.

2014: "Solidarity and Affiliative Disagreement in the Focus Group Setting: A case study of female cancer survivors." International Conference on Conversation Analysis, Los Angeles, CA.

2010: "Breast Cancer and Parenting: How breast cancer impacts the parenting goals of younger women," with KA Snyder, PhD. Joint Annual Meeting of the North Central Sociological Association and the Midwest Sociological Society, Chicago, IL.


Tanya Stivers, PhD, Professor

John Heritage, PhD, Distinguished Professor

Stefan Timmermans, PhD, Professor

Patricia Ganz, MD, Distinguished Professor


2016: C. Phil, Sociology, UCLA 

2014: MA, Sociology, UCLA 

2010: BA, Sociology, Northwestern University