- Primary Discipline:
- Behavioral Science/Health Education/Health Promotion Faculty Web page
- Blacks or African Americans, disparities, education, health behavior, mental & behavioral health, racial & ethnic minorities, social determinants of health, socioeconomic status
Dr. Purnell is interested in health disparities and social determinants of health broadly, with a specific focus on how socioeconomic and sociocultural factors influence health behaviors and strategies for mobilizing communities to address social determinants of health through programs and policies.
Dr. Purnell directs Health Equity Works, an initiative of the Brown School focused on translating data and research into action to address health equity in the St. Louis region and beyond. Health Equity Works has developed influential reports on racial equity and residential segregation, tools for community stakeholders to effect change, and has seen its recommendations translated in policy. In September of 2020, Dr. Purnell assumed the role of Vice President for Community Health Improvement with BJC HealthCare. He remains on faculty at the Brown School.