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Department of Sociology Graduate Students

Morgan Montanez


M.A. Applied Cultural Anthropology, Oregon State University 2017
B.A. Cultural Anthropology, Sociology, University of Colorado Denver 2014


Rural Poverty, Persistent Poverty, Rural Health, Safety-Net Stigma, Safety Net Policy, Southwest Populations, Symbolic Capital, Race and Ethnicity, Hispanic Identity, Qualitative Methods, Survey Methods, Mixed-Methods Research.

Current Research

I am currently working on two research projects. Both center around healthcare access and rural populations and approach this social problem in different ways.

The first is a qualitative project being conducted as part of my dissertation work. This project explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on a rural, persistently poor, minority-majority county in the Southwestern United States. Data collection took place between March 2021 and September 2021. Analysis is focused on problems worsened or highlighted by the pandemic. Particularly important are problems around access to healthcare, internet/communication, transportation, and affordable housing/rural gentrification. The study includes 57 interviews (lasting 55 minutes on average) and 250+ hours of participant observation at local nonprofits during the summer of 2021. Dissertation and papers expected by Summer/Fall 2022.

The second study is a quantitative exploration of the impact of COVID-19 on rural counties. Following the project in which Namrata Ray and I found evidence that rural isolated counties had a higher risk of mortality in waves 1 and 2 of the COVID-19 pandemic, we decided to explore the individual level risk factors for mortality in these counties in a follow up study. Using CDC’s restricted COVID-19 dataset, this study is a follow up to our forthcoming paper.

My previous research has focused on rural poverty—rural food security or on hypertension in Native American populations using the Add Health dataset. Additionally, I am a consultant with the Social and Economic Sciences Research Center where I work both collaboratively with a team of consultants on a variety of survey projects (student, administrative, faculty, government, community and nonprofit) and as a qualitative research assistant on select projects that require analysis of qualitative survey data for clients.


Zamora-Kapoor, Anna, Luciana E Herbert, Morgan Montañez, Debra S Buchwald, Kaimi Sinclair. 2021. “Risk factors for elevated blood pressure and hypertension in American Indian and Alaska Natives, compared to three other racial/ethnic groups.” Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health 23 (4): 717-724. Epub 2020.