Phil Brown

Distinguished Professor
  • 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. .

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

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

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

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

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)

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.

Nerissa Wu, Michael D. McClean, Phil Brown, Ann Aschengrau, and Thomas F. Webster. “Participant Experiences in a Breastmilk Biomonitoring Study” Environmental Health. 2009 8:4.

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

Phil Brown, Rachel Morello-Frosch, Stephen Zavestoski, Laura Senier, Rebecca Altman, Elizabeth Hoover, Sabrina McCormick, Brian Mayer, and Crystal Adams. “Field Analysis and Policy Ethnography: New Directions for Studying Health Social Movements” In Jane Banaszak-Holl, Sandra Levitsky, and Mayer Zald,, eds., Social Movements and the Transformation of American Health Care. Oxford University Press. 2010.

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.

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.

Alissa Cordner, Alison Cohen, and Phil Brown. “Public Sociology for Environmental Health and Environmental Justice” Pp. 97-106 in Philip Nyden, Leslie Hossfeld, and Gendolyn Nyden, eds. Public Sociology; Research, Action, and Change. Los Angeles: Sage. 2011.

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, David Ciplet, Rachel Morello-Frosch, and Phil Brown. “Research Ethics for Environmental Health and Justice: Academics and Movement-Building”, Social Movement Studies 2012, 11:161-176.

Courses Taught
• Contested Environmental Illnesses
• Health Social Movements