Phil Brown

Director Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute, Distinguished Professor
  • College of Social Sciences & Humanities
  • Department of Health Sciences

Office: 317 INV
Phone: 617.373.2687

Education: PhD Brandeis University

Personal Website: For full details on research and publications, please see:

Director, Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute:
The mission of the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute is to conduct social science-oriented research, teaching, community engagement, and policy work in the area of environmental health.

SSEHRI website:

PFAS Chemicals Lab Group website:

Areas of Interest
Environmental Sociology
Medical Sociology
Environmental Health
Environmental Justice
Community-based Participatory Research
Health Social Movements
Jewish Culture in the Catskill Mountains

Selected Publications

Toxic Exposures: Contested Illnesses and the Environmental Health Movement (2007, Columbia University Press).

Contested Illnesses: Citizens, Science and Health Social Movements Phil Brown, Rachel Morello-Frosch, Stephen Zavestoski, and the Contested Illnesses Research Group (2012, University of California Press).

Illness and the Environment: A Reader in Contested Medicine (2000, New York University Press) edited by J. Stephen Kroll-Smith, Phil Brown, and Valerie Gunter.

Social Movements in Health (2005, Blackwell Publishers), co-edited with Stephen Zavestoski.

Catskill Culture: A Mountain Rat’s Memories of the Great Jewish Resort Area (1998, Temple University Press).

Summer Haven: The Catskills, the Holocaust, and the Literary Imagination. 2015, Academic Studies Press. Holli Levitsky and Phil Brown editors.

In the Catskills: A Century Of The Jewish Experience In “The Mountains” (2002, Columbia University Press), editor.

Rachel Morello-Frosch, Julia Green Brody, Phil Brown, Rebecca Gasior Altman, Ruthann A. Rudel, Carla Pérez. “‘Toxic Ignorance’ and the Right-to-Know: Assessing Strategies for Biomonitoring Results Communication in a Survey of Scientists and Study Participants”, Environmental Health, 2009, 8:6.

Alissa Cordner, Lauren Richter, and Phil Brown, “Can chemical-class based approaches replace chemical-by-chemical strategies?:  Lessons from recent FDA regulatory action on perfluorinated compounds”, Environmental Science & Technology, 2016, 50 (23), pp 12584–12591.

Julia Green Brody, Rachel Morello-Frosch, Ami Zota, Phil Brown, Carla Pérez, and Ruthann A. Rudel. “Linking Exposure Assessment Science with Policy Objectives for Environmental Justice and Breast Cancer Advocacy: The Northern California Household Exposure Study”, American Journal of Public Health, 2009, 99:S600-S609.

Elizabeth Hoover, Mia Renauld, Michael Edelstein, and Phil Brown, “Social Science Contributions to Transdisciplinary Environmental Health”, Environmental Health Perspectives, 2015,123:1100–1106.

Carmen Milagros Vélez Vega, Phil Brown, Colleen Murphy, Abigail Figueroa, Jóse Cordero, and Akram Alshawabkeh, “Community Engagement and Research Translation in Puerto Rico’s Northern Karst Region: The PROTECT Superfund Research Program”, New Solutions, 2016, 26:475-495.

Brian Mayer, Phil Brown, and Rachel Morello-Frosch. “Labor-Environmental Coalition Formation: Framing and the Right-to-Know”, Sociological Forum, 2010, 25:745-768.

Phil Brown, Rachel Morello-Frosch, Julia Green Brody, Rebecca Gasior Altman, Ruthann A. Rudel, Laura Senier, Carla Pérez and Ruth Simpson. “Institutional Review Board Challenges Related to Community-Based Participatory Research on Human Exposure to Environmental Toxins: A Case Study”, Environmental Health, 2010, 9:39.

Crystal Adams, Phil Brown, Rachel Morello-Frosch, Julia Green Brody, Ruthann Rudel, Ami Zota, Sarah Dunagan, Jessica Tovar, ¬ and Sharyle Patton. “Disentangling the Exposure Experience: The Roles of Community Context and Report-back of Environmental Exposure Data”, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 2011, 52 (2):180-196.

Matthew Judge, Phil Brown, Julia Brody, Ruthann Rudel, and Serena Ryan, “The Exposure Experience: Participant Responses to a Biomonitoring Study of Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA)”, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 2016, 57: 333-350.

Phil Brown, Mercedes Lyson, and Tania Jenkins. “From Diagnosis to Social Diagnosis”, Social Science & Medicine, 2011, 73:939-943.

Phil Brown and Alissa Cordner. “Lessons Learned from Flame Retardant Use and Regulation Could Enhance Future Control of Potentially Hazardous Chemicals”, Health Affairs, 2011, 30 (5):1-9.

Laura Senier, Phil Brown, Sara Shostak, and Bridget Hanna, “The Socio-Exposome: Advancing Environmental Science in a Post-Genomic Era”, Environmental Sociology, Published online head of print November 7, 2016.

Phil Brown, Julia Green Brody, Rachel Morello-Frosch, Jessica Tovar, Ami R. Zota, and Ruthann A. Rudel. “Measuring The Success Of Community Science: The Northern California Household Exposure Study”, Environmental Health Perspectives, 2012, 120:326–331.

Alissa Cordner, Phil Brown, and Margaret Mulcahy, “Chemical Regulation on Fire: Rapid Policy Successes on Flame Retardants,” Environmental Science & Technology, 2013, 47(3): 7067–7076.

Courses Taught

  • Environmental, Health, and Society
  • Health Social Movements
  • Community and Public Health
  • Environmental Justice
  • Environmental Health