Alex Broom is Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of the Practical Justice Initiative at The University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney. He is recognised as an international leader in the social aspects of medicine and health, specialising in illness and wellness experiences; the therapeutic encounter; heath and medical decision-making; experiences of suffering, healing and survivorship; and, the dynamics of caregiving. Empirically he is currently exploring these, and many other issues, in areas such as cancer and palliative care and antimicrobial resistance.
His recent critical sociological work focused on cancer, chronicity, and the end of life, has featured in journals such as The Sociological Review (2016, 2017), Sociology (2015), Social Science and Medicine (2013, 2017), Subjectivity (2017), Qualitative Health Research (2016, 2017) and Critical Public Health (2017), largely focused on the phenomenology of illness, and the complexity of care.
He also leads a program of research on the cultural, political and social dynamics of antimicrobial resistance, exploring such things as the role of habit and norms (Social Science and Medicine, 2014), inter-professional relations (Social Science and Medicine, 2015), institutionalised praxis (Qualitative Health Research, 2016), fetishism and defensive medicine (Qualitative Health Research, 2017), and core-periphery relations (e.g. Health and Place, 2017) in this emerging global health crisis.
Across all his projects Alex works regularly with a wide range of industry partners (e.g. hospitals, community organisations, professional organisations related to health and medicine) with a focus on improving people's experiences of illness and the delivery of healthcare. His program of research melds the conceptual richness of sociology with the value of applied, translational health research. He specialises in qualitative research, but employs a wide range of research methods to gain a better understanding of complex and emerging social problems.
He an investigator on over AU$8 million in competitive research grants, and currently holds Honorary/Visiting Professorial positions at King's College London, The University of Queensland and the University of Technology Sydney. He is also a PLuS Alliance Fellow - a partnership between King’s College London, Arizona State University and UNSW - working across the areas of Global Health and Social Justice.
A key strength of Alex's research program is its real-world relevance. While a key aspect of his research program is the development of critical sociological understandings of health, illness and wellbeing, the priority is delivering such understandings to as wide as possible an audience, making sociology relevant to practitioners, patients, consumers, health service providers, community groups and policy makers. This has involved multidisciplinary linkages, translational outcomes and exposing a multitude of grassroots audiences to the power and importance of a critical sociological approach. He currently works closely with hospitals and community health organisations across Australia, the United Kingdom and India, among other countries, utilising close ties with key industry stakeholders to solve pressing health and illness issues. His most recent work has involved collaboration with the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, the Sunshine Coast Health and Hospital Service (Nambour), The Prince of Wales (Sydney), St Vincent's, the Mater Hospitals and Health Service (Brisbane), and Liverpool Hospital (Sydney). He welcomes new partnerships with health providers, community groups and those interested in better understanding and improving the health and wellbeing of Australians. He is currently co-director of Healthtalk Australia, which aims to promote and conduct qualitative research into personal experiences of health and illness, working in collaboration with the Health Experiences Research Group (HERG) at the University of Oxford, healthtalk.org (the DIPEx Charity UK), and DIPEx International.