Associate Professor of Nursing

Who lives in your neighborhood? What’s the crime rate?

Data from geographic information systems (GIS) mapping is one way Bridgette M. Brawner develops interventions for urban populations to improve family and community health and promote sexual health, such as preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. 

Social Justice through Nursing 

Through her research, teaching, and community engagement, Dr. Brawner improves the health of historically underserved people and communities. She and her health disparities research team immerse themselves in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods – conducting focus groups, interviewing neighbors, and doing behavior surveys. They combine this information with GIS data on community characteristics such as income and education levels to analyze how social and structural conditions, including the built environment – crowding, green space, and proximity to public transit – affect health.   

Brawner’s work shows how conditions such as living in disadvantaged neighborhoods or being under stress due to high levels of crime can harm health, while remedying them can effect positive change. In one NIH-funded project, she studied how these factors can affect HIV/AIDS infection. In another project, she is studying short-term solutions for health promotion, such as bringing community members together to plant a garden, paint a house, and create stronger ties that support healthy behaviors.

My team’s research creates real change to improve the health of historically underserved people in disenfranchised communities.” 


  • MDiv, Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University, 2017
  • PhD, University of Pennsylvania, 2009
  • MSN, University of Pennsylvania, 2005
  • BSN, Villanova University, 2003