Responding effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic and to future infectious disease epidemics requires an understanding of social and cultural factors that shape health behaviors, including social distancing, and therefore affect the spread of disease and its population health impact.

Brea Perry, professor of sociology at Indiana University, is available to discuss stigma around COVID-19 and toward Asians and Asian Americans who have been targeted during this pandemic. She also is available to talk about the potential mental health effects of social isolation associated with social distancing.

Perry's research investigates the interrelated roles of social networks, biomarkers, social psychology and social inequality in health and illness, with a particular focus on mental illness and substance use disorders.

She currently is studying attitudes toward COVID-19 including understanding people's social distancing and other health behaviors, knowledge about the disease, perceptions of risk, attitudes toward the efficacy of institutional responses, feelings of social isolation and disruption, and mental health outcomes.

"It is critical to determine the broader health implications, beyond COVID-19 infection outcomes, of global pandemics, by monitoring secondary health outcomes like psychological distress, mental illness, and substance abuse," Perry said.

Perry can be reached at