Center on Health, Risk, and Society

The Center on Health, Risk and Society (CHRS), based in the Department of Sociology at American University, is comprised of an interdisciplinary community of scholars applying social science theories, concepts, and methods to the study of health. The Center provides a range of resources to foster the development and implementation of innovative collaborative research on the social, political, cultural, economic, historical, and legal dimensions of health conducted at all levels of analysis. Thematic areas reflected in the work of CHRS currently include:

  • Global health [GH]
  • Global/Transnational processes [GTP]
  • Health across the life course [HLC]
  • Organizations and networks [ON]
  • Inequality and health disparities [IHD]
  • Urban life and community change [ULCC]
  • Other projects [Other]

CHRS-affiliated investigators use these thematic areas to understand population health generally, by studying specific health issues, including aging, breast cancer, Ebola, environmental health, HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, obesity, sexual health, surgical conditions, violence, and access to health care. More.


Current projects of the Center on Health, Society, and Risk include:


CHRS is committed to ensuring that social science theories, concepts and methods are well represented in research aimed at understanding and analyzing health. This approach recognizes that health, and the factors associated with it, can be conceptualized at multiple levels, including individual, organizational, institutional, community, population, and global. The Center fosters research for the purposes of advancing academic understanding of health and of improving health-related outcomes locally, nationally, and globally.

Goals and Objectives

  • Promote innovative interdisciplinary health-related research using social science theories, concepts, and methods
  • Foster a sense of community and collaboration among researchers
  • Facilitate externally funded health-related research
  • Influence health-related debates and policies
  • Gain media exposure for the contributions of social science perspectives in promoting understanding of health
  • Expand social science theories, concepts and methods by applying them to health-related questions
  • Contribute to improved health outcomes locally, nationally, and globally


  • Weekly seminar series
  • Undergraduate internship program
  • Sponsorship of thematic working groups, currently including: Community Disruption and Health; Global Health Governance; and Social Determinants and Structural Interventions
  • Mentoring and consultations
  • Support of grant development and grant administration
  • Office space
  • RA support
  • Bibliographic resources

Watkins, Room G-12

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