Jennifer Reich is Professor of Sociology at the University of Colorado Denver. Her research examines how individuals and families weigh information and strategize their interactions with the state and service providers, particularly as they relate to healthcare and welfare. Over the last decade, she has examined how parents come to reject vaccines for their children, in dialog with physicians, complementary healthcare providers, activists, and researchers. She wrote Calling the Shots: Why Parents Reject Vaccines. She & her husband have three children.


Imagine 2019 speaker Jennifer Reich shares her thoughts with TEDxMileHigh on exceeding personal expectations, her love of teaching, and the need for encouragement, not unsolicited advice. Find out what advice Jennifer lives by and how you can support her big idea.

Get to Know Jennifer

For over a decade, Jennifer Reich has been studying the phenomenon of  vaccine refusal from the perspectives of parents who distrust vaccines and the corporations that make them, as well as the health care providers and policy makers who see them as essential to ensuring community health.  Reich reveals how parents who opt out of vaccinations see their decision:  what they fear, what they hope to control, and what they believe is in their child’s best interest.  Based on interviews with parents who fully reject vaccines as well as those who believe in “slow vax,” or altering the number of and time between vaccinations, the author provides a fascinating account of these parents’ points of view.

Placing these stories in dialogue with those of pediatricians who see the devastation that can be caused by vaccine-preventable diseases and the policy makers who aim to create healthy communities, Calling the Shots offers a unique opportunity to understand the points of disagreement on what is best for children, communities, and public health, and the ways in which we can bridge these differences.

In Fixing Families, Jennifer Reich takes us inside Child Protective Services for an in-depth look at the entire organization. Following families from the beginning of a case to its discharge, Reich shows how parents negotiate with the state for custody of their children, and how being held accountable to the state affects a family.

See Jennifer Speak at TEDxMileHigh: Imagine

Check out the TEDxMileHigh: Imagine speaker lineup!