Maria T. Brown

Assistant Research Professor

Maria Brown is a 2008-2010 John A. Hartford Foundation Doctoral Fellow in Geriatric Social Work and a faculty affiliate of Syracuse University’s Aging Studies Institute. She earned her Ph.D. from SU’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Her dissertation, which was 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.

Dr. Brown is a recipient of a 2012 Research Seed Grant from the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics. Her project, titled “Unearthing Differences in NSHAP Sexual History Data” examines social support and social isolation and physical and mental health outcomes among older adults who report a history of same-sex sexual relationships. During July 2012, she attended the Fenway Summer Institute in LGBT Population Health, at the Fenway Institute in Boston, Massachusetts.

Dr. Brown attended the 2011 National Institute on Aging’s Summer Institute on Aging Research. In 2010, she was awarded the Gerontological Society of America’s Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSS) Section Student Research Award at the Dissertation Level, as well as the Syracuse University Gerontology Center’s 2010 graduate student award.

Her work has been published in The Gerontologist, the Journal of Sexuality Research and Social Policy, and the Encyclopedia of Health and Aging. She has recently worked as the research coordinator for IMPARA: The Rodney and Marjorie Fink Institute at Menorah Park for Applied Research on Aging, and as a research project coordinator in the Center for Policy Research at SU.

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, she is also interested in the long-term care experiences of cognitively disabled older adults and their caregivers


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., 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.
  • Kingson, E.R., Calhoun, G., Morse, M., and Brown, M.T., 2007. Options to Liberalize Social Security Disabled Widow(er)s Benefits, Journal of Aging and Social Policy, Vol. 19, No. 1, 2007.