Contested Illnesses Research Group
The Contested Illnesses Research Group, ranging from 6 to 10 people, has met weekly since its inception in 1999, has attracted faculty and graduate students to study environmental factors in disease, health social movements, community-based participatory research, and research ethics.
The Contested Illnesses Research Group (CIRG) has met weekly since its inception in 1999, has attracted faculty and graduate students, and creates a solid foundation for training that bridges sociology and STS by taking health social movements, community-based participatory research, and research ethics as its primary areas of study. It is co-led by two faculty members, Phil Brown and Rachel Morello-Frosch. Over its short history, the CIRG has worked with six graduate students, three junior faculty, and four undergraduates. It is likely that two or three new graduate students entering the Department of Sociology in the fall of 2006 will be part of it. The group works collaboratively on research projects, and writes and published together, thus providing students and junior faculty with an opportunity to develop their research skills. It has provided an opportunity to mentor junior faculty on publications, future research topics, and job opportunities. The CIRG has had grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NSF (3 grants), and NIEHS. This has resulted in nineteen articles in a range of venues (see below for complete list), which have appeared in major journals (including Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Social Science and Medicine, Sociology of Health and Illness, Public Health Reports, Science, Technology, and Human Values, and Science as Culture), and edited a special issue of Sociology of Health and Illness on "Social Movements in Health," since published as a book. The CIRG has also published in the popular press, including op-ed pieces in newspapers, Ms. Magazine, and advocacy organization newsletters, as well as in conference anthologies. This work has been presented at the American Sociological Association, the Society for the Social Study of Science, and the American Public Health Association conferences.
The CIRG has also been able to create and sustain research partnerships with community organizations, including: Alternatives for Community and Environment, a Boston environmental justice organization; Communities for a Better Environment, an environmental justice advocacy organization in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area; the Silent Spring Institute, a major research institute in Newton, MA that examines women's health and the environment and the environment; the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, a statewide environmental health coalition; and Toxics Action Center, a regional organization with a new office in Rhode Island, that provides organizing and technical assistance to grassroots groups dealing with environmental hazards. We have collaborated on research, distributing published and unpublished manuscripts, participating in their events, and giving talks. Of special note is the CIRG's major collaborations with Silent Spring Institute, through working on two grants (NIEHS and NSF). Collaborations involve innovative air and dust sampling for many endocrine disrupters never before examined in homes, as well as unique forms of community informed consent and individual report-back. The research group cooperates closely with the Community Outreach Core of the NIEHS Superfund Basic Research Program.
Articles and Reports Available From the
CONTESTED ILLNESSES RESEARCH GROUP
Research supported by
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research Program (Grant # 036273), the National Science Foundation Program in Social Dimensions of Engineering, Science, and Technology (SES-9975518, SES-0401869, and SES-0350691), the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (1 R25 ES013258-01), and the Brown University Salomon Faculty Research Award Program
1) "A Gulf Of Difference: Disputes Over Gulf War-Related Illnesses" (Phil Brown, Stephen Zavestoski, Sabrina McCormick, Joshua Mandelbaum, Theo Luebke, Meadow Linder) Journal of Health and Social Behavior 2001, 42:235-257
2) "Print Media Coverage Of Environmental Causation Of Breast Cancer" (Phil Brown, Stephen Zavestoski, Sabrina McCormick, Joshua Mandelbaum, and Theo Luebke) Sociology of Health and Illness 2001, 23:747-775
3) "Science, Policy, Activism, and War: Defining the Health of Gulf War Veterans" (Stephen Zavestoski, Phil Brown Meadow Linder, Brian Mayer, and Sabrina McCormick) Science, Technology, and Human Values 2002 27:171-205.
4) "Moving Further Upstream: From Toxics Reduction to the Precautionary Principle" (Brian Mayer, Phil Brown, and Meadow Linder). Public Health Reports 2002 117:574-586.
5) "Policy Issues in Environmental Health Disputes" (Phil Brown, Stephen Zavestoski, Brian Mayer, Sabrina McCormick, and Pamela Webster). 2002. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 584:175-202.
6) "The Social Context of Science: Cancer and the Environment" (Devra Davis and Pamela Webster) 2002. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 584:13-34.
7) "Chemicals And Casualties: The Search For Causes Of Gulf War Illnesses" in Monica Casper, ed., Synthetic Planet: Chemical Politics and the Hazards of Modern Life 2003: Routledge. (Phil Brown, Stephen Zavestoski, Meadow Linder, Sabrina McCormick, and Brian Mayer)
8) "The Health Politics of Asthma: Environmental Justice and Collective Illness Experience in the United States" (Phil Brown, Stephen Zavestoski, Theo Luebke, Joshua Mandelbaum, Sabrina McCormick, and Brian Mayer). 2003. Social Science and Medicine 57:453-464. Reprinted in Where We Live, Work, and Play: A Critical Appraisal of the Environmental Justice Movement, David Pellow and Robert Brulle, eds. Cambridge: MIT Press.
9) "The Personal Is Scientific, The Scientific Is Political: The Public Paradigm of the Environmental Breast Cancer Movement" (Sabrina McCormick, Phil Brown, and Stephen Zavestoski) Sociological Forum. 2003 18:545-576
10) "Patient Activism and the Struggle for Diagnosis: Gulf War Illnesses and Other Medically Unexplained Physical Symptoms in the US" (Stephen Zavestoski, Phil Brown, Sabrina McCormick, Brian Mayer, Maryhelen D'Ottavi, and Jaime Lucove) Social Science and Medicine 2004. 58:161-175.
11) "Lay Involvement in Breast Cancer Research" (Sabrina McCormick, Julia Brody, Phil Brown, and Ruth Polk), International Journal of Health Services 2004 34:625-646
12) "Qualitative Methods In Environmental Health Research" (Phil Brown) Environmental Health Perspectives 2003. 111:1789-1798
13) "Embodied Health Movements: Uncharted Territory in Social Movement Research" (Phil Brown, Stephen Zavestoski , Sabrina McCormick, Brian Mayer, Rachel Morello-Frosch, and Rebecca Gasior,). Sociology of Health and Illness 2004 26:1-31
14) "Clearing the Air and Breathing Freely: Disputes Over Air Pollution and Asthma" (Phil Brown, Stephen Zavestoski , Theo Luebke, Joshua Mandelbaum, Sabrina McCormick, and Brian Mayer), International Journal of Health Services 2004 34:39-63. Also reprinted in Smoke and Mirrors: Air Pollution as a Social and Political Artifact, Melanie Dupuis ed., 2004, New York: New York University Press.
15) "Children's Asthma Experience and the Importance of Place" (Kirsten Rudestam, Phil Brown, Christine Zarcadoolas, and Catherine Mansell). Health 2004 8:423-444
16) "Embodied Health Movements and Challenges to the Dominant Epidemiological Paradigm" Research in Social Movements, Conflict and Change 2004. 25:253-278. (Stephen Zavestoski, Rachel Morello-Frosch, Phil Brown, Brian Mayer, Sabrina McCormick, and Rebecca Gasior Altman)
17) "Gender, Embodiment, and Disease: Environmental Breast Cancer Activists' Challenges to Science, the Biomedical Model, and Policy" (Stephen Zavestoski, Phil Brown, Sabrina McCormick) Science as Culture 2004 Vol. 13.
18) "Embodied Health Movements: Responses to a 'Scientized' World" In The New Political Sociology of Science: Institutions, Networks, and Power. Kelly Moore and Scott Frickel, eds. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press. (Rachel Morello-Frosch, Stephen Zavestoski Phil Brown, Rebecca Gasior Altman, Sabrina McCormick, and Brian Mayer), forthcoming
19) "'A Lab of Our Own': Environmental Causation Of Breast Cancer and Challenges to the Dominant Epidemiological Paradigm" (Phil Brown, Sabrina McCormick, Brian Mayer, Stephen Zavestoski, Rachel Morello-Frosch, Rebecca Gasior Altman, and Laura Senier), in press, Science, Technology, and Human Values
1) "Boston Public Schools Green Cleaners Project: Pilot Program Assessment"
Report to Massachusetts Committee on Occupational Safety and Health and Boston Urban Asthma Coalition (Laura Senier, Brian Mayer, Phil Brown)
Brown faculty collaborators:
Other project collaborators:
Steven Zavestoski, University of San Francisco
Sabrina McCormick, Michigan State University
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