Kirby Institute Seminar Series presents
Professor of Sociology, UNSW
About your speaker
Alex Broom is Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of the Practical Justice Initiative at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UNSW Sydney. He is recognised as an international leader in the sociology of health and illness, with a current focus on the social dynamics of cancer and palliative care and the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance. He has published over 220 publications including 14 books, is an investigator on over AU$8 million in competitive research grants, and currently holds Visiting Professorial positions at King's College London, The University of Vienna and The University of Queensland.
In the search for solutions to the global problem antimicrobial resistance, there has been a tendency to focus on 'how' we should behave differently (e.g. be more judicious, follow guidelines for best practice) rather than developing a deeper understanding of 'why' we act in the ways we do in relation to antimicrobials. In this talk, using hospital medicine as an example, I outline a broad sociological analysis of the interpersonal, cultural, political and economic conditions which underpin mis-use of antimicrobials in the health sector (and potentially beyond). I draw on data from across metropolitan, regional and remote Australian hospitals, and across specialty contexts. I position antimicrobial mis-use, and ultimately antimicrobial resistance, as a social problem rather than a medical crisis. In addition, I outline how such a social model may be implemented in institutions - using surgery as an example.