CLS Core Faculty awarded Best Dissertation

May 20, 2024 - Karessa Weir

Dr. Philip J. “PJ” Pettis was awarded best dissertation for his work “Contextualizing Heterosexism: An Intersectional Approach to Sexual Minority Health Inequalities” at Vanderbilt University.  


The award was made by the American Sociological Association Section on Sociology of Mental Health. The purpose of the Section on Sociology of Mental Health is to provide an integrative supportive framework for research on social factors in mental health. 

The Mental Health Section considers issues ranging from serious mental disorders to subjective indicators of quality of life. The focus is on research and theory pertaining to social processes and mental health functioning. 


“Congratulations to the award winners and to the committee for their hard work on selecting an outstanding and impressive group of winners.  We look forward to celebrating their accomplishments and presenting them with their awards at the annual Business meeting of the Section in Montreal this August,” said Dr. Eric Wright, Chair, Department of Sociology at Georgia State University. 


Dr. Pettis, who is also a licensed social worker, joined MSU Sociology and CLS  following the completion of his PhD in 2023. He examines how sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, gender, age, and SES intersect to shape social, economic, and health inequalities. He draws on theoretical insights and perspectives from medical sociology, the sociology of sexualities, race/ethnicity, gender, social networks, social psychology, and stratification. 


He was named the Outstanding Teacher Award by the College of Social Science in 2024, and gave a commencement address at this year’s College ceremony.