Dr. Kyler J. Sherman-Wilkins


Sociology and Anthropology
Role: Faculty
Campus: Springfield

Postal mail

Missouri State University
Sociology and Anthropology
901 S. National Ave.
Springfield, MO 65897


Dr. Kyler James Sherman-Wilkins is an associate professor of sociology and faculty affiliate in the gerontology program at Missouri State University. A social demographer and life course sociologist by training, Sherman-Wilkins’ research centers around the social and structural determinants of health and health inequities, particularly as it pertains to cognitive health, across the life course. His work has appeared in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Geriatrics and the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. In recognition for his contributions to the field, he serves as an editorial board member for the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, the premier medical sociology journal in the United States. 

He is a dedicated and award-winning teacher and advisor who focuses on empowering students to address challenges in their communities through activism and policy. He directs the Health Equity Research Collective (HERC) Working Group, which is committed to training the next generation of health equity researchers, and also frequently contributes to advisor training through the Academic Advising and Transfer Center’s advisor forums.  

In addition to teaching and research, Sherman-Wilkins is engaged in professional and community service and sits on several boards including PRB, a population research organization in Washington D.C., PROMO, Missouri’s Statewide LGBTQ+ Advocacy organization, the Missouri Foundation for Health and the Missouri Council on Aging. Locally, he is community liaison for the GLO Center and first vice president and education chair of the NAACP-Springfield Chapter. 



  • PhD, Sociology and Demography, 2017, The Pennsylvania State University
  • MA, Sociology and Demography, 2015, The Pennsylvania State University
  • BS, Human Development and Family Studies, 2011, Cornell University


  • SOC 150 Introduction to Society
  • SOC 301 Research Methodology
  • SOC 220 Statistics for Social Research
  • GER 375/SOC 375 Social Forces and Aging
  • SOC 450 Population, Society, and Public Policy
  • SOC 480 Health Inequities Across the Life Course

Professional experience

Professional Affiliations

  • Board Secretary, Missouri Council on Aging
  • Vice President, NAACP-Springfield Chapter
  • Board President, The GLO Center
  • Board of Directors, Missouri Foundation for Health
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Health and Social Behavior
  • Member of Nomination Committee, Midwest Sociological Society
  • Member, Population Association of America
  • Member, Gerontological Society of America
  • Member, American Sociological Association
  • Member, Society for the Study of Social Problems

Selected publications

  • Thierry, Amy D., Kyler J. Sherman-Wilkins, Marina Armendariz, Allison Sullivan, and Heather R. Farmer. 2021. “Perceived Neighborhood Characteristics and Cognitive Functioning among Diverse Older Adults: An Intersectional Approach.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18:1-14.
  • Sherman-Wilkins, Kyler J., and Amy D. Thierry. 2019. “Education as the Great Equalizer? Racial and Ethnic Differences in Returns of Education on Cognitive Functioning in Late Life.” Geriatrics 4(51):1-13.
  • Alwin, Duane F., Jason R. Thomas, and Kyler J. Sherman-Wilkins. 2018. “Race, Social Relations and the Life Course.” in Social Networks and the Life Course, edited by D. Alwin, D. Felmlee, and D. Kreager. New York, NY: Springer.
  • Pudrvoska, Tetyana, Eric Reither, *Ellis Logan, and *Kyler J. Sherman-Wilkins. 2014. “Gender and Reinforcing Association between Socioeconomic Disadvantage and Body Mass over the Life Course.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 55(3):283-301.

Research and professional interests

  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Health Inequities
  • Social Integration and Health
  • College Student Health
  • Intersectionality
  • Cognitive Aging and Dementia

Awards and honors

  • Missouri State University Foundation Award for Excellence in Service, 2023
  • W.E.B. DuBois Education Award, NAACP-Springfield, MO Chapter, 2022
  • Mellon Emerging Faculty Leaders Award, Institute for Citizens & Scholars 2021
  • Missouri State University Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2021
  • Curtis P. Lawrence Award for Excellence in Advising, Missouri State University, 2021
  • Division of Student Affairs’ Bridge Builder Award, Missouri State University, 2019
  • National Institute on Aging’s Butler-Williams Scholar, National Institutes of Health, 2019
  • Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center Research Scholar, Rush University Hospital, 2019
  • Science-Industry Research Collaborations Trainee, Stanford University, 2018
  • International Travel Award, Missouri State University, 2017
  • Diversity Scholar Award, Missouri State University, 2017

Additional resources

Areas of Expertise

Health and wellness Sociology

Media Appearances

U.S. Supreme Court lacks legitimacy and structural changes needed to instill confidence
Springfield News-Leader

Sociologist Dr. Kyler Sherman-Wilkins expresses his views about the U.S. Supreme Court's decisions.

Are Numbers Really Neutral?

Sociologist Dr. Kyler Sherman-Wilkins writes about why numbers generated from statistics are powerful, but they're not neutral.

LGBTQ+ Missourians are more than twice as likely to not receive medical care

Sociologist Dr. Kyler Sherman-Wilkins explains why.

Gun violence in U.S. has clear proximate cause: access to firearms
Springfield News-Leader

Sociologist Dr. Kyler Sherman-Wilkins expresses his views about gun violence and access to firearms.

Attacks on trans community very real, but the community is resilient
Springfield News-Leader

Sociologist Dr. Kyler Sherman-Wilkins expresses his views about the resiliency of the trans community.

Black History Month: Dr. Kyler Sherman-Wilkins

Sociologist Dr. Kyler Sherman-Wilkins shares his passion for research, inspiring the next generation of researchers.

Missouri’s 1st, 2nd Districts could be redistricting targets
Associated Press

Sociologist Dr. Kyler Sherman-Wilkins addresses population changes.

Q&A With Kyler Sherman-Wilkins

Sociologist Dr. Kyler Sherman-Wilkins shares about his new curriculum that aims to bring a deeper understanding of the roles of race and ethnicity in demographic research and methods.

Do you control your health?

Sociologist Dr. Kyler Sherman-Wilkins addresses health outcomes and health disparities.