Robert M. Brown III, Ph.D. (Dr. Rob) is a medical sociologist who investigates the impact of economic stress to empower groups, communities and to inform policy. He defines economic stress as the inability of a person or family to meet their financial obligations because of job loss, not enough work, job instability or low wages and the impact on their mental, emotional, spiritual, physical and economic well-being. More than 10 years since the beginning of the Great Recession, economic stress continues to adversely affect millions of people around the country, with disproportionate effects on low-income communities, communities of color, growing numbers of Millennials and young people who are a part of Generation Z. His research and technical assistance services focus on the management and reduction of economic stress and he provides these services to community groups, nonprofit organizations, private agencies, local governments, colleges and universities.
Economic stress can also adversely affect health. As a health promotion advocate, Dr. Rob believes that health is not just the absence of an illness or disease but it is holistic and includes a state of mental, emotional, spiritual, physical and economic well-being. As more groups are being exposed to economic stress, the likelihood that the overall state of health in society will continue to be adversely impacted will also increase. To achieve a higher quality of living among a variety of groups, understanding and managing economic stress more effectively and advocating for the reduction of economic stress through policy must be a priority.