Crystal Adams, Ph.D. Envelope

Assistant Professor of Sociology


B.A. Sociology, Texas A&M University, 2003
M.A. Sociology, Texas Tech University, 2006
Ph.D. Sociology, Brown University, 2012
M.P.H., Harvard School of Public Health, 2013

I am a medical sociologist whose research utilizes qualitative and community-based participatory research (CBPR) methods to investigate topics related to health and the environment. In one domain of my research, I seek to understand how CBPR interventions can serve as a form of social activism to stimulate improvements in communities suffering from health and environmental injustices. I have participated in CBPR-related projects in Rhode Island, the California Bay Area, and, most recently, in the country of Grenada. In a second domain of my research, I focus on how the mainstream American health culture intersects with race, ethnicity, class, and gender to shape patients’ health behaviors and identities. I have conducted numerous content analyses of drug promotion by pharmaceutical companies and studied patients’ differential responses to the messages in prescription drug advertising. In a third area of my research, I study how alternative health workers supplement or at times replace the health services provided by physicians, nurses, and other mainstream health professionals. Presently, I am collaborating with students at Muhlenberg on a project investigating the work experiences of doulas, or birth coaches, in the United States.

At Muhlenberg, I teach courses such as the Sociology of Health, Environmental Sociology, Social Movements, Protests, and Conflicts, Qualitative Methods, and Health Disparities in the United States.