American Sociological Association

ASA Footnotes

A publication of the American Sociological AssociationASA News & Events
September/October 2019

Amy Burdette to Lead the Journal of Health and Social Behavior

Terrence D. Hill, University of Arizona

Amy M. Burdette

Amy M. Burdette

The editorship of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior (JHSB), a paragon of American medical sociology, will transition at the end of this year from Richard Carpiano and Brian Kelly to Amy Burdette. In an effort to thoroughly embarrass our new editor and my best friend and colleague, I will profile her professional background and personal interests. I will end with some of Amy’s plans for the journal. 

Amy’s Professional Background

Amy completed her PhD in sociology at the University of Texas-Austin in 2007. The following year she worked as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. From 2008 to 2010, Amy served as an assistant professor of sociology at Mississippi State University. Since 2010, Amy has split time as a professor in the sociology department and graduate public health program at Florida State University. She is currently the director of a new bachelor’s degree in public health. Earlier this year, Amy was promoted to full professor.

Amy’s primary areas of expertise include medical sociology and the sociology of religion. Her top intellectual influences include Christopher Ellison, Catherine Ross, John Mirowsky, William Cockerham, Christian Smith, and Robert Wuthnow. Her research focuses on issues related to religion and health and social inequality and health across the life course. Amy is a prolific scholar. Since 2004, she has published over 50 peer-reviewed manuscripts. Her published work appears in journals like JHSB, Social Science & Medicine, Society and Mental Health, the American Journal of Public Health, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Sociology of Religion, and the Journal of Marriage and Family. According to Google Scholar, Amy has been cited over 2,500 times since 2006. Last year alone, she was cited nearly 400 times.

Amy’s recent work centers on topics related to gun ownership, substance use, vaccinations, and sexual health. If you look, you might find her attending local gun shows and medical marijuana conventions near you. If you are interested in reading some of Amy’s work, check out the following manuscripts: (1) “Health Lifestyles in Adolescence and Self-Rated Health into Adulthood” in JHSB, (2) “An Examination of Processes Linking Perceived Neighborhood Disorder and Obesity” in Social Science & Medicine, and (3) “Understanding Religious Variations in Sexuality and Sexual Health” in the Handbook of Sexualities.

Since 2010, Amy has served on the editorial boards of JHSB, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Sociology of Religion, and Sociological Spectrum. She also has managing editor experience for Population Research and Policy Review. Over her career, Amy has regularly reviewed for a wide range of journals like American Sociological Review, Social Forces, Social Problems, The Sociological Quarterly, Sociological Forum, Research on Aging, Journal of Marriage and Family, Journal of Family Issues, Review of Religious Research, Social Science Research, Social Science & Medicine, Journal of Aging and Health, American Journal of Epidemiology, and the American Journal of Public Health

Amy’s Personal Background: An Interview

TH: Name three books you love.

AB: I love Medicalization of Society (Conrad), Social Causes of Psychological Distress (Mirowsky & Ross), Heat Wave (Klinenberg), and American Evangelicalism (Smith).

TH: That’s four books?

AB: I know.

TH: Name three TV shows you love.   

AB: I love Strangers with Candy, Daria, and Succession

TH: Name three movies you love. 

AB: I love Goodfellas, Ghost World, and Spring Breakers

TH: Name three foods you love. 

AB: I am really into Sushi Korean food.

TH: That’s it?

AB: Yep.

TH: Name your top three leisure time activities.

AB: I like to read and eat sushi. That’s about it.

TH: You have three children. Which one do you love the most? Be honest. 

AB: Next.

TH: Not many people know that you were involved in the Texas Roller Derby while in graduate school. What name did you play under? 

AB: My name was Lotta Dinero. 

TH: Last question. What position did you play?

AB: Blocker. 

Plans for the Journal

In Amy’s vision statement, she discussed the following core priorities to build on the tradition of excellence established by previous JHSB editors:

  • Disciplinary Integration: Expand authorship and readership, better integrate the journal into the broader discipline, and enrich the theoretical impact of the journal by encouraging scholars across the field of sociology to submit their work and to subscribe to JHSB.
  • Theoretical Applications: Incorporate broader theoretical traditions into medical sociology to integrate us into the broader discipline and expand the status and impact of our work by encouraging the development of our own theories and drawing from the rich theoretical traditions of other subfields. 
  • Methodological Diversity: Develop the journal’s methodological base by representing the cutting-edge of research methodology, including quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods. 
  • Biological Applications: Move beyond sociology’s “nurture fortress” and obsolete notions of biological determinism by prioritizing studies of the social causes and social consequences of biological processes. 
  • Social Problems: Focus more on the health implications of important social problems like racism, income inequality, environmental inequality, and guns.
  • Intersectional Applications: Encourage more intersectional applications to formally assess interactions among multiple systems of social stratification or social inequality.
  • Foundational Issues: Re-prioritize foundational issues like health disparities according to gender, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. 
  • Impact Factor: Increase the impact factor of the journal by publishing more annual review style articles and more methods pieces, especially measurement articles and articles related to cutting-edge methodology. 

If this list is any indication, Amy Burdette’s term as editor of JHSB will be an exciting time for the field of medical sociology. Although Amy encourages submissions that fit her priorities, she is committed to publishing any substantial theoretical and methodological contributions to the field of medical sociology. Amy wants everyone to know that she is dedicated to meeting the standard of excellence established by previous JHSB editors and excited to publish the very best research in medial sociology.