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Virginia A. Brown, Ph.D.


Ph.D., Sociology
Howard University

M.A., Philosophy
Howard University


Virginia A. Brown, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at Dell Medical School in the Department of Population Health and a courtesy assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

She earned her master’s degree in philosophy with a concentration in ethics and public policy and her doctorate in sociology with concentrations in race, class, gender and medical sociology. Her areas of interest include the structural determinants of health, (conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age) and their influence on health and health care outcomes. Through the theoretical lens of historical materialism, she seeks to disrupt how the social and political structures contribute to the formation and reformation of racial bias in health and health care. By incorporating the principles of human-centered design and health care ethics into CBPR (community-based participatory research), she works to engage social service organizations, foundations, researchers and any collaborates who seek to improve the health outcomes of those most affected in Austin-Travis County, Texas.

As a researcher in population health, she looks to combine her work as a clinical ethicist and medical sociologist to expand not only researchers’ understanding of research ethics, but also to enhance the way the ethical review of research (led at UT Austin by the Internal Review Board) extends protections from the individual to the collective. She also teaches an honors course titled Ethics in Medicine and Society to upper-level honors students in the College of Liberal Arts at UT Austin.

Professional Affiliations
  • American Society for Bioethics and Humanities
  • American Sociological Association
  • Community-Campus Partnerships for Health