Fumilayo Showers

Assistant Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies

Dr. Fumilayo Showers is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies at the University of Connecticut. Her research centers on race, gender, and US immigration; the social organization of health and long-term care; health professions (nursing and medicine); care work; and immigrant workers. In particular, she studies African immigrants in professional health care settings in the U.S. Her work has been published in Sociological Forum, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Social Science and Medicine: Qualitative Research in Health, and other venues.


Her book, Migrants Who Care: West Africans Working and Building Lives in US Health Care, is the first book to document the experiences of recent West African immigrants in a range of health care occupations in the US (nursing, disability support, elder care). The book elucidates how West African immigrants use family, friendship, and other social networks, to enter the health industry as workers, and how they build health care businesses that cater to vulnerable and underserved communities, in the face of racial/ethnic discrimination and blocked opportunities encountered in the health industry and other sectors of the U.S economy.


A second line of research centers sending-country perspectives to understand the globalization of health professions education and global migration of health professionals. Focusing on Ghana, West Africa, a country that has faced large scale emigration of its professional workforce, she studies contemporary Ghanaian medical and nursing students’ experiences of education; how students navigate resources and opportunities for professional development; and their aspirations for migration in an era of heightened globalization and cosmopolitanism. This work has been supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York through its African Diaspora Fellowship Program.


In another project, Post-Mortem of a Pandemic: A Temporal Frame of Work, Life, and Death in COVID-19, she is working with a team of UConn undergraduate researchers to conduct interviews among frontline health care workers to trace a history of loss, vulnerability, stress and burnout, moral injury, occupational inequality, racism, coping strategies, and unanticipated opportunity during the various waves of the COVID-19 pandemic.


She completed her PhD and Master’s in sociology at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA.


Selected Publications:

Showers, Fumilayo. 2023. Migrants Who Care: West Africans Working and Building Lives in US Health Care, Rutgers University Press.

Showers, Fumilayo. 2023. ““I just ended up in nursing”: Inequalities in Health Professions Education and Migration Aspirations among Medical and Nursing Students in Ghana.” Social Science and Medicine -Qualitative Research in Health, Vol 3 (Special Issue on Sociology of Health Professions Education.)

Showers, Fumilayo. 2022. “Moving Onward and Upward in a ‘Dead-End Job:’ Extrinsic Motivations and Rewards in Health Care Work” Sociological Forum, 37:2 (443-464)

Showers, Fumilayo. 2022. “Immigrant Social Networks and the Little-Known Story of African Immigrants Providing Solutions to the “Crisis of Care” in the US” Blog post for The Shape of Care Podcast:   https://theshapeofcare.org/episodes/from-fear-to-love/

Showers, Fumilayo. 2018. Learning to Care: Work Experiences and Identity Formation among African Immigrant Care Workers.” International Journal of Care and Caring IJCC, 2:1 (7-25)

Showers, Fumilayo. 2015. “Being Black, Foreign and Woman: African Immigrant Identities in the United States” Ethnic and Racial Studies, 38:10 (1813-1828)

Showers, Fumilayo. 2015 “‘Professional Identities, Boundary Work and Meaning Making Among West African Nurses” in Caring on the Clock: The Complexities and Contradictions of Paid Care Work, Duffy Mignon, Amy Armenia and Clare Stacey eds. (Rutgers University Press)


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