Conference Programme

The major part of the programme will consist of meeting and discussion in small working groups (approximately 10 different working groups).  Each participant will select several working groups of interest and be assigned to one group for the conference.  Each working group will meet three times for about 90 minutes each throughout the conference.


There will be four plenary sessions where all participants meet together.  Three of these will feature plenary speakers and the fourth will be a final session where the working groups share a summary of their discussions with the entire conference group.

Plenary Speakers:

Professor Betsy Armstrong  (Princeton University)

Professor Peter Bearman  (Columbia University)

Professor Richard Wilkinson  (University of Nottingham, emeritus)


There will be three meals shared by the entire conference:  The Opening Evening Banquet, and two lunches.  These are both held in relaxing venues and will allow for the exchange of ideas and experiences.

In addition, there will be Irish music at the banquet and a bus tour of the fascinating murals having their origins in the era of ‘the Troubles’ in Belfast. 

This Conference is co-sponsored by the Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness, the Medical Sociology section of the American Sociological Association, and the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work at Queen's University Belfast.


Peter Bearman

Jonathan R. Cole Professor of Sociology, Columbia University, New York City, U.S.A

Peter Bearman is Director of the Lazarsfeld Center for the Social Sciences, the Cole Professor of Social Science, and Co-Director of the Health & Society Scholars Program. He was the founding director of ISERP, serving from the Institute's launch in 2000 until 2008. A recipient of the NIH Director's Pioneer Award in 2007, Bearman is currently investigating the social determinants of the autism epidemic. Current projects also include an ethnographic study of the funeral industry and, with support from the American Legacy Foundation, an investigation of the social and economic consequences of tobacco control policy.

A specialist in network analysis, he co-designed the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and has used the data extensively for research on topics including adolescent sexual networks, networks of disease transmission, and genetic influences on same-sex preference. He has also conducted research in historical sociology, including Relations into Rhetorics: Local Elite Social Structure in Norfolk, England, 1540-1640 (Rutgers, 1993). He is the author of Doormen (University of Chicago Press, 2005).



Elizabeth M. Armstrong

Associate Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, Princeton University, U.S.A

 Elizabeth M. Armstrong is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology with joint affiliations in the Woodrow Wilson School and the Office of Population Research.   Her   research interests include public health, the history and sociology of medicine, risk in obstetrics, and medical ethics. She is currently conducting research on diseases and agenda-setting, and on foetal personhood and the evolution of obstetrical practice and ethics. She is the author or co-author of articles in Health Affairs, Social Science and Medicine, Journal of Marriage and the Family, International Family Planning Perspectives, and Studies in Family Planning and is the author of Conceiving Risk, Bearing Responsibility: Foetal Alcohol Syndrome and the Diagnosis of Moral Disorder (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003). She was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of Michigan from 1998-2000. Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania.



Richard Wilkinson

Professor of Social Epidemiology (Emeritus), University of Nottingham, United Kingdom 

Richard G. Wilkinson is a British researcher in social inequalities in health and the social determinants of health. He is Professor Emeritus of social epidemiology at the University of Nottingham, having retired in 2008. He is also Honorary Professor at University College London and Visiting Professor at University of York. He is best known for his book with Kate Pickett The Spirit Level, first published in 2009, which claims that societies with more equal distribution of incomes have better health, fewer social problems such as violence, drug abuse, teenage births, mental illness, obesity, and others, and are more cohesive than ones in which the gap between the rich and poor is greater (

US-UK Medical Sociology Conference 2012

Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland