Brown University

Contested Illnesses Research Group
Brown University , Providence RI

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Phil Brown

Phil Brown is Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies at Brown University. He leads the Contested Illnesses Research Group, which started in 1999, supported by grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Science Foundation, and has subsequently been funded by numerous other NIEHS, NIH, and NSF grants. He directs the Community Outreach Core of Brown’s Superfund Research Program and the Community Outreach and Translation Core of Brown’s Children’s Environmental Health Center. He is the author of No Safe Place: Toxic Waste, Leukemia, and Community Action, and Toxic Exposures: Contested Illnesses and the Environmental Health Movement, and co-editor of Illness and the Environment: A Reader in Contested Medicine and Social Movements in Health. With Stephen Zavestoski, he co-edited the 2004 special issue of Sociology of Health and Illness, “Social Movements in Health,” released in December 2005 as a book. His co-edited book (with Rachel Morello-Frosch and Stephen Zavestoski) Contested Illnesses: Ethnographic Explorations will appear in 201, published by the University of California Press. His current research includes connections between breast cancer activism and environmental justice, biomonitoring and household exposure, ethics of reporting back research data to participants, and health social movements.

In his work in medical sociology, he is editor of Perspectives in Medical Sociology, now in its 4th edition. Prior to studying health and the environment, he studied mental health policy, mental patients’ rights, and clinical interaction in psychiatric settings. Among his publications from that work are The Transfer of Care: Psychiatric Deinstitutionalization and Its Aftermath, and Mental Health Care and Social Policy (edited).

Phil Brown was previously Chair of both the Medical Sociology Section and the Environment and Technology Section of the American Sociological Association. He received the Fred Buttell Award from the Environment and Technology Section for a lifetime of achievement in environmental sociology.

Apart from health social movements and environmental health, Phil Brown also studies the Jewish experience in the Catskill Mountains. He is the author of Catskill Culture: A Mountain Rat's Memories of the Great Jewish Resort Area, and editor of In the Catskills: A Century Of The Jewish Experience In “The Mountains.” He is a co-founder and President of the Catskills Institute, an organization that works to record and remember the history of the Catskills through yearly conferences, a newsletter, a website , public speaking, coordination and support of scholarly research, and coordinating a large archival collection.

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Brown University, Department of Sociology
Brown Univeristy, Center for Environmental Studies
Brown University, Committee on Science and Technology Studies
Brown University, Superfund Research Program

Collaborating organizations:

Toxics Action Center
Silent Spring Institute
Communities for a Better Environment
Boston University School of Public Health Environmental Health Department
Collaborative Initiative for Research Ethics in Environmental Health