Maria T. Brown

Associate Research Professor

Maria Brown is an Assistant Research Professor in the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, and a 2008-2010 John A. Hartford Foundation Doctoral Fellow in Geriatric Social Work. She earned a Ph.D. from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Her dissertation, entitled, “Psychiatric history and cognition trajectories in later life: variations by sex, race and ethnicity, and childhood disadvantage,” examined the relationship between psychiatric history and cognitive function in later life.

Brown is co-Investigator of the Genesis Health Project’s Empowering Black Pastors to Amplify Colorectal Cancer Prevention Messages in Underserved Communities (Principal Investigator: Luvenia W. Cowart), funded by a 2021-2022 grant from the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

She has published her research in Aging and Mental Health, Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect, Supportive Care in Cancer, Women & Health, the Health Education Journal, Gerontology, Research on Aging, Children & Youth Services Review, Journal of Family Issues, Journal of Gerontological Social Work, The Gerontologist, and the Journal of Sexuality Research and Social Policy. Dr. Brown is the author of a chapter on LGBT Lives and Military Service, in Life Course Perspectives on Military Service, and co-author of chapters on Chronic Illnesses and Conditions in Gender and Sexual Minorities (with Jane. A McElroy) in LGBT Health: Meeting the Health Needs of Gender and Sexual Minorities, Addressing Behavioral Cancer Risks from a LGBT Health Equity Perspective (with Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen and Charles P. Hoy-Ellis) in Cancer and the LGBT Community: Unique Perspectives from Risk to Survivorship, and Gerontological Social Work (with Deborah J. Monahan), in Gerontology: Perspectives and Issues. A social gerontologist who uses the life course perspective to research the later-life experiences of socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals, women, and racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities, Dr. Brown is also interested in dementia caregiving, the long-term care experiences of cognitively disabled older adults and their caregivers, and the treatment and survivorship experiences of breast cancer patients.


Ph.D., Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University

M.S.W., School of Social Work, Syracuse University

M.A., Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University


Later-life experiences of socioeconomically disadvantaged adults, women, and racial and ethnic minorities; long-term care experiences of cognitively disabled older adults; social supports for caregivers of older adults; later-life experiences of cancer survivors, particularly sexual minority women; LGBTQ health, aging and population research

Recent Publications

  • Brown, M. T. and Mutambudzi, M. (2022). Psychiatric history and later-life cognitive change: Effect modification by sex, race and ethnicity. Aging and Mental Health, Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36016466, doi: 10.1080/13607863.2022.2116398.
  • Brown, M.T. and Mutambudzi, M., 2021. Risk of nursing home use among older Americans: The impact of psychiatric history and cognitive function. Journals of Gerontology, Series B,77(3), 577-588. DOI: 10.1093/geronb/gbab045.
  • Brown, M. T. and McNeal, M. H., 2020. Addressing Elder Abuse: Service Provider Perspectives on the Potential of Restorative Processes. Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect, 32(4), 357-376. DOI: 10.1080/08946566.2020.1814179.
  • McElroy, J. A., Proulx, C. M., Johnson, L., Heiden-Rootes, K. M., Albright, E. L., Smith, J., Brown, M. T., 2019. Breaking bad news of a breast cancer diagnosis over the telephone: An emerging tr
  • Kohn, N., Brown, M. T., and Doron, I., 2019. Building Bridges between Gerontology and Elder Law. Gerontology, 65(1), 98-102. DOI: 10.1159/000489883
  • Brown, M. T. and Cowart, L., 2018. Evaluating the Effectiveness of Faith-Based Health Education. Health Education Journal, 77(5), 571-585. DOI: 10.1177/0017896918778308
  • Brown, M.T., 2010. Early Life Characteristics, Psychiatric History and Cognition Trajectories in Later Life. The Gerontologist, 50 (5): 646-656.
  • Brown, M.T., 2009. LGBT Aging and Rhetorical Silence. Sexuality Research and Social Policy: Journal of National Sexuality Research Center, 6 (4): 65-78.
  • Kingson, E.R. and Brown, M.T., August 2009. Are Age 62/63 Retired Worker Beneficiaries at Risk? Working Paper, Center for Retirement Research, Boston College.