Amber Nelson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Sociology

(317) 955-6228
Marian Hall, Room 307B

Amber D. Nelson is an Assistant Professor of Sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences. 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. Prior to that fellowship, Dr. Nelson was a Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellow for the National Academies of Science.

Dr. Nelson is a medical sociologist whose work contributes to understanding the medical (and mental health) professions, their education and training, and their work processes, especially processes of diagnosis, standardization, and treatment. She examines how scientific knowledges and processes, including technologies and policies, are negotiated in the accomplishment of clinical work. She is interested in the social determinants of health, the role of professionals’ background education and training, and how providers negotiate social, ethical, and technological processes in their work. Nelson’s new research examines the ways in which mental health care delivery has changed under the context of the Affordable Care Act and the DSM-5. She is also collaborating with MU-COM faculty and medical students to better understand how first and second year students define and practice humanistic medicine, the role mentoring plays in their education, and how they learn to balance medical work while leading healthy personal lives.

Research interests

  • Medical and Mental Health Professions
  • Biomedicalization
  • Diagnosis & Standardization
  • Health Policy
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Humanistic Medicine
  • Gender and Health Rights as Human Rights

Courses taught

  • PBH 201 Public Health and Society
  • SOC 490 Senior Seminar in Public Health and Sociology
  • 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 255 Environmental Sociology
  • SOC 210 Marriage and Family
  • SOC 101 Introduction to Sociology
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