Brian Gran


Mather Memorial Building 224

Other Information

Education: Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research, Yale University, 1997-1999
Ph.D. Sociology, Northwestern University, 1997

Personal Statement

My research, teaching, and service concentrate on how we use rights to improve well-being and promote societal resilience. My research program investigates what institutions and structures facilitate, and obstruct, agency when it comes to using rights to improve outcomes, reduce disparities, and advance social policies. My work matters to a range of stakeholders, from non-governmental organizations to quasi- and governmental institutions. Much of my work is interdisciplinary, drawing on sociology, law, and public policy research. A key component of my research is collaborating with students. I serve as Expert Consultant to a Bureau of the U.S. Department of State’s Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights. As a Veale Faculty Entrepreneurship Fellow, I am exploring tech transfer opportunities to tackle health misinformation. I serve as Case Western Reserve’s Designee to the Public Interest Technology-University Network (PIT-UN).


I am thrilled to enjoy opportunities to teach courses in areas of research methods, law and society, and social policy. I regularly enjoy opportunities to teach courses on Research Methods, as well as Comparative-Historical Methods, to undergraduate and graduate students. In the area of Law and Society scholarship, I teach courses on Law and SocietyLaw and the Public-Private Dichotomy for Social PolicyChildren’s Rights, and Human Rights. These courses on law intersect with topics around social policy. I also teach a course on Health Policy, which places the United States in comparative perspective.

Research Projects

Children’s Rights: My research on children’s rights seeks to answer why we need children’s rights when, after all, we have human rights that are universal, as well as identifying factors that influence implementation and decoupling of children’s rights across the world. This work particularly focuses on children’s rights ombudspersons as organizations that advance children’s rights.

Derogation of Human Rights: With support of the U.S. National Science Foundation, I am directing a project on whether derogation of human rights is an effective tool to limiting COVID infections. Derogation is the suspension of human rights due to a public emergency.

Health Misinformation: Tirth Bhatta, UNLV Sociology, Tim Goler, Norfolk State University Sociology, and I are undertaking a project that seeks to contribute to combating impacts of misinformation on healthcare for Black Americans through answering (1) what factors shape mistrust in information about healthcare and public health?, and (2) what factors promote trust in information around healthcare and public health? 

Human Right to Science: Articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the human right to science has potential to benefit people all over the world, particularly people living in countries where women and girls do not have the same opportunities as men and boys to pursue educations and careers.

International Survey of Human Rights (ISHR): David Brunsma, Virginia Tech Sociology, Keri Iyall Smith, Suffolk Sociology, and I direct the ISHR, the first truly international survey of human rights. The ISHR asks questions about universal human rights norms and laws applicable across social and cultural contexts to investigate how opinions of, beliefs about, attitudes toward, and experiences with human rights vary and why.

Public Interest Technology: This project investigates whether Public Interest Technology (PIT) is a boon to human rights, or whether PIT will undermine human rights and produce scientific and other harms.

Recovering from Spinal Cord Injury: Kimberly Anderson, CWRU Professor Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Anne Bryden, CWRU Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, MetroHealth Center for Rehabilitation Research, Sue Hinze, CWRU Sociology, and I are undertaking a qualitative study of how people with spinal cord injuries (SCI) and their families experience recovery and rehabilitation.


Member, PIT-UN NSF Working Group. 2023-present.

Member, By-Laws Committee, Faculty Senate, 2023-present.

Mentor, Provost Scholars, 2022-present.

Board Member, Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology. 2022-present. 

Advisor, Business Innovation Fund, Office of Multilateral Affairs, Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs, U.S. Department of State. 2022-present.

Member, Shared Governance Committee, Faculty Senate, 2022-present.

Representative, Greater Cleveland Congregations. 2022-present.

Member, Faculty Senate, 2021-present.

Expert Consultant, U.S. Department of State, 2021-present.


Designee, Public Interest Technology-University Network on behalf of Case Western Reserve University. 2023-present.

Global Citizen Award, Case Western Reserve University. 2023.

Veale Faculty Entrepreneurship Fellow, Veale Institute for Entrepreneurship, Case Western Reserve University. 2022-2023.

Jefferson Science Fellow, U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020-2021.

Fulbright Scholar, Iceland (2013); South Korea (2020-2021; declined).

STAIR Mentor Fellows Program, Case Western Reserve University, 2019-2020.

Recipient, Case Western Reserve University Diekhoff Graduate Student Teaching Award. 2019.

Discussant, Day of Discussion, UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Geneva. October 2018.

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