Professor Alex Broom
Professor Alex Broom
Honorary Professor of Sociology
a.broom@unsw.edu.au

Alex Broom is Professor of Sociology at the School of Social Sciences, the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. He specialises in the sociology of health and illness, with a current focus on issues related to: cancer, palliative and end-of-life care; death, dying and bereavement; traditional, complementary and alternative medicines; the intersections of individual biographies and illness experiences; social inequalities and social justice; professional and inter-professional dynamics in health and medicine; and, health in developing countries. 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 has published over 200 publications, including over 125 journal articles, 42 book chapters and 12 edited, co-authored or authored books. He is an investigator on over AU$8 million in competitive research grants, and he currently holds Honorary/Visiting Professorial positions at Brunel University London, The University of Westminster (London), The University of Queensland and the University of Technology Sydney. Recent books include 'Men's Health: Body, Identity and Social Context' (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009) and ‘Health, Culture and Religion in South Asia’ (Routledge, 2011), ‘Evidence-based healthcare in context’ (Ashgate, 2012), ‘Gender and Masculinities: Histories, Texts and Practices in India and Sri Lanka’ (Routledge, 2013) and ‘Dying: A Social Perspective on the End of Life’ (Ashgate, 2015). He is currently working on a co-authored book entitled Bodies and Suffering: Emotions and Relations of Care (Routledge) with Ana Dragojlovic. He convenes the 'Health Stream' of UNSW's Practical Justice Initiative (see https://www.arts.unsw.edu.au/research/research-networks/practical-justice-initiative/).

Research Impacts

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, St Vincent's, the Mater Hospitals and Health Service, 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.

Qualifications:

PhD (Sociology) La Trobe University (Australia)
MA (Sociology) University of Canterbury (NZ)
BA - Hons (Sociology) University of Canterbury (NZ)

Background:

Head of Sociology, School of Social Science, 2014
Associate Professor of Sociology and Australian Research Council Future Fellow, 2011 - present
Honorary Professor, Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney, 2014 - present
Visiting Professor, Faculty of Science and Technology, The University of Westminster, London, 2013-present
Honorary Associate Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney, 2010-present
Honorary Principal Research Fellow, Mater Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Australia, 2013-present
Visiting Professor, Centre for Biomedicine and Society, School of Social Sciences, Brunel University London, United Kingdom, 2011 - present
Visiting Scholar, Department of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley, 2011
Senior Lecturer in Health Sociology, The University of Sydney, 2009 - 2011
Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Sociology, The University of Newcastle, 2007 - 2009
UQ Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Sociology), The University of Queensland, 2006 - 2007
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, The University of Leeds, 2004 - 2006

Research Interests:
  • Sociology of health and illness
  • Sociology of traditional, complementary and alternative medicines
  • Men’s health and masculinities
  • Qualitative methodologies
  • Cancer and end-of-life care
  • Organisational and inter-professional dynamics
  • Health in developing countries
  • Social theory as applied to health.

Recent Research Projects:

2014-16 Australian Research Council Discovery Grant [DP140100238] The rise of complementary self-care: A national sociological study of women's strategies for coping and living with chronic illness [with Adams, Davidson, Sibbritt] $350,000

2012-15 Australian Research Council Linkage Grant [LP120200268] Pathways to and through palliative care: A sociological study of patient, carer and clinician experiences at the end of life. [with Adams, Yates, Kirby, Good, Wootton, Hardy] $164,830 [Total cash and in-kind $591,411]

2011-15 Australian Research Council Future Fellowship [FT100100294] The changing landscapes of medical pluralism: a sociological analysis of patient experiences and decision making in Australia, India and Brazil. $656,448

2011-13 Australian Research Council Discovery Project [DP110104636] Navigating back pain care: a sociological study of women's illness pathways within and between intersecting social worlds. [with Adams, Refshauge, Sibbritt] $391,622

2010-12 Australian Research Council Discovery Grant [DP1094765] Therapeutic pluralism in pregnancy, labour and birthing: Decision-making, communication and interprofessional dynamics [with Adams, Gallois and Sibbritt] $270,000

2009-10 AUSAID Australian Development Research Awards Masculinities and Violence in Indonesia and India [with Nilan et al] $116,526

2008-11 National Health and Medical Research Council Complementary medicine use among mid-age women: a national mixed-methods study across the urban-rural divide [with Adams et al] $450,771

 

Media:

Alex on ABC Radio National talking on The Sociology of Antibiotics

Alex in The Conversation on why doctors overprescribe antibiotics

The art of letting go: How does it feel to tell someone they are going to die?

Alex Broom interviewed on ABC Radio about how doctors tell patients 'It is Time to Transition to Palliative Care' (audio)

Alex Broom interviewed by ABC Radio about ‘Men’s Health and Obesity’

Cancer treatment in India and its alternatives

Selected representative publications (total > 200 since 2004)

Authored Books

Dragojlovic, A. & Broom, A. (forthcoming) Bodies and Suffering: Emotions and Relations of Care. Routledge. London.

Broom, A. (2015) Dying: A Social Perspective on the End of Life. Ashgate: Farnham.

Broom, A. and Tovey, P. (2008) Therapeutic Pluralism: Exploring the Experiences of Cancer Patients and Professionals. Routledge: London and New York.

Tovey, P., Chatwin, J., & Broom, A. (2007) Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Cancer Care: An International Analysis of Grassroots Integration. Routledge: London and New York.

Edited Books

Adams, J., Steel, A., Broom, A. (eds) (in press) Women’s Health and Complementary and Integrative Medicine. Routledge: London.

Doron, A. & Broom, A. (eds.) (2014) Gender and Masculinities: Histories, Texts and Practices in India and Sri Lanka. Routledge: London.

Adams, J., Magin, P. & Broom, A. (eds) (2013) Primary Care and Complementary and Integrative Medicine: Contemporary Practice and Research. Imperial College Press: London.

Adams, J., Andrews, G., Barnes, J., Broom, A. & Magin, P. (eds) (2012) Traditional, Complementary and Integrative Medicine: An International Reader. Palgrave-Macmillan: London.

Broom, A. and Adams, J. (eds.) (2012) Evidence-Based Healthcare in Context: Critical Social Science Perspectives. Ashgate: Farnham.

Doron, A. and Broom, A. (eds.) (2011) Health, Culture and Religion in South Asia: Critical Perspectives. Routledge: London and New York.

Broom, A. and Tovey, P. (eds.) (2009) Men’s Health: Body, Identity and Social Context. Wiley-Blackwell: Oxford.

Selected Journal Articles

Broom, A., Broom, J. & Kirby, E., Scambler, G. (2015 in press) The path of least resistance? Jurisdictions, responsibility and professional asymmetries in pharmacists’ accounts of antibiotic decisions in hospitals. Social Science and Medicine

Ridge, D., Kokanovic, R., Broom, A., Kirkpatrick, S., Anderson, C., Tanner, C. (2015 in press) "My dirty little habit": Patient constructions of antidepressant legitimacy. Social Science and Medicine

MacArtney, J., Broom, A., Kirby, E., Good, P., Wootton, J.(2015 in press) Locating care at the end of life: Burden, vulnerability, and the practical accomplishment of dying. Sociology of Health and Illness

Broom, A., Broom, J., Kirby, E., Adams, J. (2015 in press) The social dynamics of antibiotic use in an Australian hospital. Journal of Sociology

Kirby, E. Broom, A., Adams. J., Sibbritt, D., Refshuage, K. (2015) Suffering, recognition and reframing in the plural care pathways of women with chronic back pain. Current Sociology DOI: 10.1177/0011392115590076

Broom, A., Kirby, E., Good, P., Lwin, Z. (2015 in press) Nursing futility, managing medicine: Nurses’ perspectives on the transition from life-prolonging to palliative care. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine

Broom, A., Kirby, E., Adams, J., Refshuage, K. (2014) On illegitimacy, suffering and recognition: A diary study of women living with chronic pain. Sociology DOI: 10.1177/0038038514551090

MacArtney,J., Broom, A., Kirby, E., Good, P., Wootton, J., Adams, J. (2014)On resilience and acceptance in the transition to palliative care at the end of life. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine DOI: 10.1177/1363459314545696

Broom, A., Kirby, E., Good, P., Wootton, J., Hardy, J., Yates, P. (2014) Negotiating futility, managing emotions: Nursing the transition to palliative care. Qualitative Health Research DOI:  1049732314553123

Broom, A., Meurk, C., Adams, J. and Sibbritt, D. (2014) My health, my responsibility?Complementary medicine and self (health) care. Journal of Sociology Vol. 50 No. 4, pp515-530.DOI:10.1177/1440783312467098.

O’Brien, S. & Broom, A. (2014) HIV in Harare: The role and relevance of social stigma. African Journal of AIDS Research 13, 4: DOI: 10.2989/16085906.2014.961941

O’Brien, S. and Broom, A. (2014) HIV in (and out of) the clinic: Biomedicine, traditional and spiritual healing in Harare. SAHARA-J: Journal of the Social Aspects of HIV. Vol. 11 No. 1, pp.94-104. DOI: 10.1080/17290376.2014.938102

Kirby, E., Broom, A., Good, P., Wootton, J. & Adams, J. (2014) Families and the transition to specialist palliative care. Mortality DOI: 10.1080/13576275.2014.916258

Broom, A., Broom, J., Kirby, E. (2014) Cultures of resistance? A Bourdieusian analysis of doctors’ antibiotic prescribing. Social Science and Medicine. Vol. 110, pp.81-88. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.03.030

Broom, A., Meurk, C., Adams, J. & Sibbritt, D (2014) Networks of knowledge or just old wives’ tales? A diary-based analysis of women’s self-care practices and everyday lay expertise. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine Volume 18 Issue 4 July 2014 pp. 335 - 351. DOI: 10.1177/1363459313497610.

Broom, A., Kirby, E., Good, P., Wootton, J. and Adams, J. (2014) The troubles of telling: Managing communication about the end of life. Qualitative Health Research Vol. 24 No. 2 pp. 151 - 162. DOI: 10.1177/1049732313519709

Kirby, E., Broom, A., Good, P. (2014) The role and significance of nurses in managing transitions to palliative care: A qualitative study. British Medical Journal Open 4, e006026,  doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006026

Kirby, E., Broom, A., Adams, J., Sibbritt, D., Refshuage, K (2014) A qualitative study of influences on older women’s practitioner choices for back pain care. BMC Health Services Research, 14, 131,  DOI:10.1186/1472-6963-14-131

Meurk, C., Broom, A., Adams, J. (2014) Relative bodies of knowledge: pluralism, dualism and maternal-foetal individuation. Social Theory and Health Vol. 12, No. 2, pp159–178doi:10.1057/sth.2013.26

Lwin, Z., Broom, A. et al (2014) Culturally and linguistically diverse patient participation in glioma research: Insights from the Australian context. Neuro-oncology Practice

Kirby, E., Broom, A., Good, P., & Wootton, J., Adams, J. (2014) Medical specialists’ motivations for referral to specialist palliative care: a qualitative study. British Medical Journal Supportive and Palliative Care doi:10.1136/bmjspcare-2012-000376

Broom, A., Kirby, E., Good, P., Wootton, J. & Adams, J. (2013) The art of letting go: Referral to palliative care and its discontents. Social Science and Medicine Vol. 78 pp. 9-16. DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.11.008.

Meurk, C., Broom, A., Adams, J. & Sibbritt, D (2013)Rurality, mobility, identity: Women’s use of complementary and alternative medicine in rural Australia. Health and Place Vol. 20, pp75–80.DOI: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2012.12.005.

Broom, A. and Kirby, E. (2013) The end of life and the family: Hospice patients’ views on dying as relational. Sociology of Health and Illness Vol. 35 No. 4 pp. 499–513. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9566.2012.01497.x.

Meurk, C., Broom, A., Adams, J. and Sibbritt, D. (2013) Bodies of knowledge: Nature, holism and women’s plural health practices. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine Vol. 17 No. 3, pp.300-317.DOI: 10.1177/1363459312447258

Broom, A. & Doron, A. (2013) Traditional medicines, collective negotiation, and representations of risk in Indian cancer care. Qualitative Health Research Vol. 23 No. 1 pp.54-65.DOI: 10.1177/1049732312462242

Broom, A., Good, P., Kirby, E. & Lwin, Z. (2013) Negotiating palliative care in the context of culturally and linguistically diverse patients. Internal Medicine Journal. Vol. 43, pp.1043-1046DOI:10.1111/imj.12244.

Kirby, E., Broom, A., Sibbritt, D., Refshauge, K., Adams, J., (2013) Health care utilisation and out-of-pocket expenditure associated with back pain: A nationally representative survey of Australian women. PLOS ONE 8(12): e83559. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.008355

O’Brien, S. & Broom, A. (2013) Gender, culture and changing attitudes: Experiences of HIV in Zimbabwe. Culture, Health & Sexuality Vol. 15, No. 5 pp583-597.

Doron, A. & Broom, A. (2013) Gender and masculinities: History, ideologies and daily life. South Asian History and Culture Vol. 4, No. 2, pp. 167-175.

Broom, A. (2012) On euthanasia, resistance and redemption: The moralities and politics of a hospice. Qualitative Health Research, Vol. 22, No. 2, pp. 226-237.

Bonnette, S. and Broom, A. (2012) On grief, fathering and the male role in men’s accounts of stillbirth. Journal of Sociology Vol. 48 No. 3 pp248–265.

Broom, A. and Doron, A. (2012) The rise of cancer in urban India: Cultural understandings, structural inequalities, and the emergence of the clinic. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine Vol. 16 No. 3 pp250–266.

Broom, A., Kirby, E., Good, P., Wootton, J. & Adams, J. (2012) Specialists’ experiences and perspectives on the timing of referral to palliative care:a qualitative study. Journal of Palliative Medicine Volume 15, Number 11, pp 1248-1253.

Broom, A., Kirby, E. & Good, P. (2012) Referral to specialist palliative care. Internal Medicine Journal Vol. 42 No. 9, pp1040-1042

O’Brien, S. and Broom, A. (2011) The rise and fall of HIV prevalence in Zimbabwe. African Journal of AIDS Research. 10(3) pp281–290.

Broom, A. and Cavenagh, J. (2011) On the meanings and experiences of living and dying in a hospice Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine 15(1) 96–111.

O’Brien, S. and Broom, A. (2010) The prevalence and politics of HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe: Examining the ideological, political and historical factors behind the ‘decline’. Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies 37(2–3), 309–328

Broom, A. and Adams, J. (2010) The reconfiguration of expertise in oncology: The practice of prediction and articulation of indeterminacy in medical consultations. Qualitative Health Research Vol. 20 No. 10, pp.1433–1445

Broom, A. and Cavenagh, J. (2010) Moralities, masculinities and caring for the dying: An exploration of experiences of living and dying in a hospice Social Science and Medicine Vol. 71 No. 5, 869-76

Broom, A., Wijewardena, K., Sibbritt, D., Adams, J., Nayar, K. (2010) The use of traditional, complementary and alternative medicine in Sri Lankan cancer care. Public Health Vol. 124 No. 4, pp.232-237

Doron, A. and Broom, A. (2010) Health and healing in South Asia. South Asian History and Culture Vol. 1 No. 2 pp.193–198

Broom, A., Cheshire, L. & Emmison, M. (2009) Qualitative researchers' understandings of their practice and the implications for data archiving and sharing. Sociology Vol. 43, No. 6, pp1163-1180

Broom, A. (2009) Intuition, subjectivity and le bricoleur: Cancer patients’ accounts of negotiating a plurality of therapeutic options. Qualitative Health Research Vol. 19 No. 8 pp. 1050-1059

Broom, A., Doron, A. & Tovey, P. (2009) The inequalities of medical pluralism: Hierarchies of health, the politics of tradition and the economies of care in Indian oncology. Social Science and Medicine Vol. 69 No. 5, pp. 698-706 [ Recommended, Faculty of 1000 http://f1000.com/prime/1147431]

Broom, A. & Adams, J. (2009) Oncology clinicians’ accounts of discussing complementary and alternative medicine with their patients. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine Vol 13 No. 3 pp.317 –336

Broom, A., Hand, K. & Tovey, P. (2009) The role of gender, environment and individual biography in shaping qualitative interview data. International Journal of Social Research Methodology Vol. 12 No. 1 pp. 51-67.

Broom, A. (2009) ‘I’d forgotten about me in all of this’: Discourses of self-healing, positivity and vulnerability in cancer patients’ experiences of complementary and alternative medicine. Journal of Sociology Vol. 45 No. 1: 71–87.

Broom, A., Adams, J. & Tovey, P. (2009) Evidence-based healthcare in practice: A study of clinical resistance, professional deskilling, and inter-specialty differentiation in oncology. Social Science and Medicine Vol. 68, No. 1 pp.192–200

Broom, A. & Tovey, P. (2008) Exploring the temporal dimension in cancer patients’ experiences of non-biomedical therapeutics. Qualitative Health Research Vol. 18, No. 12, pp. 1650-1661.

Broom, A. & Tovey, P. (2008) The role of the Internet in cancer patients’ engagement with complementary and alternative cancer treatments. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine Vol. 12 No. 2 pp.139-156

Broom, A. & Tovey, P. (2007) The dialectical tension between individuation and depersonalisation in cancer patients’ mediation of complementary, alternative and biomedical cancer treatments. Sociology Vol. 41 No. 6 pp. 1021–1039.

Tovey, P. & Broom, A. (2007) Cancer patients’ negotiation of therapeutic options in Pakistan. Qualitative Health Research Vol. 17 No. 5 pp. 652-662.

Broom, A. & Tovey, P. (2007) Therapeutic Pluralism? Evidence, power and legitimacy in UK cancer services. Sociology of Health and Illness Vol. 29 No. 3, pp. 551-569.

Tovey, P. & Broom, A. (2007) Oncologists’ and specialist cancer nurses’ approaches to complementary and alternative medicine use and their impact on patient action. Social Science and Medicine Vol. 64 pp 2550-2564.

Broom, A. (2005) Medical specialists’ accounts of the impact of the Internet on the doctor/patient relationship. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine Vol. 9 No. 3 pp319-338.

Broom, A. (2005) Virtually He@lthy: A study into the impact of Internet use on disease experience and the doctor/patient relationship. Qualitative Health Research. Vol. 15 No. 3, pp 325-345.

Broom, A. (2005) The eMale: Prostate cancer, masculinity and online support as a challenge to medical expertise. Journal of Sociology Vol. 41 No. 1, pp 87-104.

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