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Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

School of Public Policy

School ofPublic Policy

Sarah Brothers

Sarah Brothers

Assistant Professor of Sociology and Public Policy
SSRI Co-Funded Faculty

Phone: (814) 865-2527

Curriculum Vitae:


Sarah Brothers’ research examines how vulnerable groups experience and respond to health-related issues. Her work uses surveys, in-depth interviews, ethnographic observations, and Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) to focus on issues such as methadone treatment during COVID-19, issues facing youth experiencing homelessness, and patient perspectives on HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) treatment. Her dissertation research, which received multiple awards including the Simmons’ Award for Outstanding Dissertation in Medical Sociology from the American Sociological Association, examines the construction, performance, and assessment of “uncredentialed expertise” in assisted injection, a high-risk and common practice in which one person injects another with illicit drugs. Her work has been supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program, the Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship, the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship in Women’s Studies, and others.

She holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Yale University and a B.A in sociology from the University of California Berkeley. Her research has been published in journals including Social Science & MedicineAids and Behaviorthe Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, and the International Journal of Drug Policy. 

Research Interests:

Medical Sociology, Expertise, Substance Use, Gender, Inequality and Marginality, Qualitative Methods, Ethnography

Research Papers:

Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, Volume 131, Online Publication: April 28, 2021

Sarah Brothers, Adam Viera, & Robert Heimer

Interational Journal of Drug Policy, Volume 92, Online Publication: November 28, 2020

Sarah Brothers, Alex H. Kral, Lynn Wenger, Kelsey Simpson, & Ricky N. Bluthenthal