Amber Nelson, Ph.D.

Amber Nelson, Ph.D.

Amber Nelson, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of sociology and directs the public health major and minor programs at Marian University. Nelson received her Ph.D. at the University of Maryland (UMD), College Park in 2013. She also received her master’s degree from UMD and holds bachelor’s of arts in English and sociology from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

Before joining the Marian University community, she was a research fellow for the Institute of Science, Technology, and Society Studies in Graz, Austria. Her research focused on the definitions of the social environment in behavioral genetics research on youth behaviors. Prior to that fellowship, Dr. Nelson was a Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellow for the National Academies of Science. During her stint with the Academies, she organized a conference dedicated to launching a “Forum on Childhood and Adolescent Mental Health Issues” on May 18, 2012 for the Board on Children, Youth and Families within the Institute of Medicine.

Research Interests

Dr. Nelson’s dissertation examined the professional definition of and approaches to adolescent mental illnesses, the social processes of diagnosis, and how mental health professionals negotiate the DSM as a socially scripted technology within a managed care context. Her paper titled “Diagnostic Dissonance and Collective Resistance to Biomedicalisation: Mental Health Practitioners’ Negotiations of the DSM Technology and Diagnosis” is in the process of being revised for resubmission. Dr. Nelson is a medical sociologist devoted to examining health care and gender rights as human rights. Nelson’s new research examines the way in which mental health care delivery has changed under the context of the Affordable Care Act and the DSM-5. She is interested in social construction, stratification, and delivery of health care.

Mamo, L., A. Nelson and A. Clark 2010. “Producing and Protecting Risky Girlhoods” in Three

Shots at Prevention: The HPV Vaccine and the Politics of Medicine’s Simple Solutions, edited by Keith Wailoo, Julie Livingston, Steven Epstein and Robert Aronowitz. John Hopkins University Press.


Courses Taught

GST 301 Sex, Gender, and Sexuality
PBH 201 Public Health and Society
SOC 450 Sociological Theory
SOC 380 Science, Technology, and Society
SOC 335 Sociology of Health and Illness
SOC 305 Sociology of Sex, Gender and Sexuality
SOC 301 Social Science Research Methods
SOC 267 Sociology of Aging
SOC 255 Environmental Sociology
SOC 210 Marriage and Family
SOC 101 Introduction to Sociology

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