Centers and Institutes

Contested Illnesses Research Group (CIRG)

The Contested Illnesses Research Group (CIRG) was begun by Phil Brown in 1999 at Brown University. CIRG studies environmental factors in disease, health social movements, community-based participatory research, and research ethics, and carries out many community engagement projects with environmental groups and government agencies. CIRG continues with Phil Brown co-directing it with Elizabeth Hoover, Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies at Brown University. CIRG includes faculty, postdocs, and graduate students, and has a long history of major funded projects.

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.

The Institute works on the following areas:

  • Create specialized emphasis for training social scientists to collaborate with life scientists
  • Coordinate with the Department of Sociology and Anthropology’s focus on doctoral training in environmental sociology
  • Link faculty and students with research and internship opportunities at local and distant environmental health research sites
  • Continue and expand biomonitoring and air/dust monitoring, including innovative methods of reporting individual data to participants
  • Develop low-cost, community-based monitoring programs
  • Create campus-wide resource for the teaching of research ethics, cultural competence, and community-based participatory research
  • Conduct lecture series designed to integrate environmental health interests across campus
  • Develop Hospitals for a Healthy Environment in Massachusetts

Catskills Institute

The Catskills Institute preserves the legacy of Jewish life in the Catskills by holding an annual History of the Catskills Conference (since 1995), keeping an extensive website, maintaining the world’s largest archive of Catskills material, developing museum exhibitions, public speaking, and assisting researchers and filmmakers.

Children’s Environmental Health Center (Brown University)

The Children’s Environmental Health Center, jointly funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the Environmental Protection Agency, focuses on environmental stressors and how they alter normal fetal development. We aim to develop new human-relevant approaches to evaluating fetal responses to environmental stressors by direct exposure and assessment of human tissues.

Superfund Research Program (Brown University)

Brown’s Superfund Research Program’s Community Engagement Core works in partnership with community-based organizations, primarily those concerned with toxic waste contamination, in order to better understand and remediate existing contamination, and to prevent future contamination.