Graduate Student Directory

Lucia Vitale
  • Pronouns she/her
  • Title
    • Ph.D. Candidate
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Politics Department
  • Affiliations Global & Community Health, Dolores Huerta Research Center for the Americas, Science & Justice Research Center, Teaching & Learning Center (TLC)
  • Phone
    (831) 459-4450 (message only)
  • Email
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Merrill College Academic Building, 123
  • Office Hours Tuesdays 10:30am-12:30pm PST, Sign-up here:
  • Mail Stop Merrill/Crown Faculty Services
  • Mailing Address
    • 1156 High Street
    • Santa Cruz CA 95264

Research Interests

Global health

Social policy (health care)


Migration and Citizenship

Mixed methods

Subnational comparative methods

Artificial Intelligence in global health

Biography, Education and Training

Lucia Vitale is an interdisciplinary global health scholar who uses comparative methods to study the politics of primary healthcare access. She is a PhD candidate in the Politics Department at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and a visiting research fellow at the Center for Migratory Observation and Social Development in the Caribbean (OBMICA) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. In spring of 2022, Vitale was awarded a Fulbright grant to the Dominican Republic, where she is currently conducting fieldwork for her dissertation entitled "The Borders of Health Citizenship: Inclusion and Exclusion along the Dominican-Haitian Border". She is an active member of the International Studies Association’s (ISA) Global Health Section, and the '23-'24 graduate student representative to the executive committee of the American Political Science Association’s (APSA) Health Politics and Policy Section.


Vitale holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison where she graduated with honors in International Relations. After graduating with her B.A. in 2015, Vitale taught English in Comayagua, Honduras, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic (DR), and then worked as a contractor for USAID’s Local Works program where she investigated access to documentation, and assessed the needs of cooperatives at the community level.  

Honors, Awards and Grants

(2023) APSA Summer Centennial Center Research Grant ($2,500)

(2023) APSA Spring Centennial Center Research Grant ($2,500)

(2023) University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI) working group grant for project “Towards a Critical Fugitive Transdisciplinary Methodology” ($5000)

(2023) Dolores Huerta Research Center Fieldwork Support Grant ($1500)

(2022) Fulbright U.S. Student Fellowship ($27,500)

(2022) UCSC Politics Department Spring Quarter Qualifying Exam Fellowship ($9,300)

(2021) Research Center for the Americas Fieldwork Grant ($1,200)

(2021) UCSC’s Science and Justice Center Award ($3,000)

(2020) Blum Center for Poverty Research Summer Research Grant ($3000)

(2020) Tinker Foundation Field Research Grant ($2,500)

(2019) Global Community Health Fellowship ($1,500) 

(2019) UCSC Academic Year Chancellor’s Fellowship ($28,000)


Selected Publications

Fischer, Sara; Vitale, Lucia; Agutu, Lisa Akinyi; Kavanaugh, Matt. “Framing access, innovation and the public good in a pandemic: Global negotiations for a COVID-19 TRIPS waiver at the WTO” Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. 2023.


Sparke, Matthew; Vitale, Lucia. “COVID’s Co-PathogenisisSyndemics Magazine. 2022.


Vitale, Lucia. Virtual Trust: Building Confidence at a Distance. Georgetown’s Digital Fieldwork website. 2021.


Vitale, Lucia; Browe, Dennis. “Race, Contagion and the NationUniversity of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI). 2021.


Rehrig, J., Vitale, L., Moore, L., “Evaluating Patients Using Mission Services in the Dominican RepublicInternational Journal of Academic Medicine. 2019.


Selected Presentations

(2024) SPSA CWC “Borders and Migration,” full paper panel: “The Borders of Health Citizenship: Results from a Survey Experiment” (abstract accepted)


(2023) IDOS workshop “Social Cohesion in Displacement Contexts,” invited speaker: “Community-Directed Surveillance and Migrant Health Rights”


(2023) APSA full paper panel: “Technology vs. Politics: Critiquing Artificial Intelligence in Global Health”


(2023) ISA-West full paper panel: “Artificial Intelligence as Cure: Frontiers of an Anti-Political Health for All”


(2023) ‘Humanities in the Age of AI’ Research Cluster invited lecture:Artificial Intelligence and the Politics of Avoidance in Global Health”


(2023) University of Maryland, School of Public Policy, invited lecture “Border Closures during Public Health Crises” with Professor Catherine Worsnop


(2023) Virginia Tech, School of Public and International Affairs, invited lecture “Decolonizing Global Health” with Professor Stephanie Smith


(2022) APSA full paper panel: “Framing Access, Innovation, and the Public Good in a Pandemic: Global Negotiations for a COVID-19 TRIPS Waiver at the WTO”, selected as a theme panel for the 2022 conference


(2022) Pace University, Political Science Department, invited lecture: “Defining Global Health” with Professor Nancy Wright


(2021) COVID Calls podcast, invited panelist: “EP #357: Researchers’ Roundtable


(2021) UCSC Community Studies Program, invited lecture: “The Coloniality of Global Health Systems” with Professor Barbara Garcia

Teaching Interests

(W 2024) Instructor of record, CMMU 165: Community Analysis for Global Health

(Su 2023) Teaching assistant (TA), GCH 1: Foundations for Global Health/ Matthew Sparke

(F 2021) Teaching assistant (TA), POLI 61: Politics of Social Policy/ Sara Niedzweicki

(Sp 2021) Teaching assistant (TA), SOCY/LGST 122: Sociology of Law/ Jaimie Morse

(W 2021) Teaching assistant (TA), CMMU 165: Analysis for Global Health/ Andrea Steiner

(F 2020) Teaching assistant (TA), CMMU 163: Healthcare Inequalities/ Andrea Steiner




(AY 23-24) Graduate Student Representative, APSA Health Politics and Policy Section’s Executive Committee

(AY 21-22) Graduate Student Representative, UCSC’s Politics Department

(AY 21-22) Colloquium Committee Member, UCSC’s Politics Department

(AY 21-22) Student Ambassador, University of California Global Health Institute (UCGHI)

(W 2020) Hiring Committee Member for UCSC Global Health program