Robert M. Brown III, Ph.D. (Dr. Rob) is a medical sociologist and social justice advocate 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 a decade 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 Generation Z. And, now, we are confronted with coronavirus (COVID-19), a global pandemic which is fueling an economic crisis unlike anything that we have seen.
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. And, the impact of health i.e., COVID-19, and economic stress i.e., the economic crisis that has been a result of COVID-19, are bi-directional, each can affect the other. To achieve a higher quality of health and living among a variety of groups in the time of COVID-19, understanding the disease and the ways that it can affect diverse communities through the promotion of health protective behaviors and through policy must be a priority.