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Ryon J. Cobb, PhD

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Assistant Professor

Ryon J. Cobb, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Georgia and a KL2 Scholar at the Georgia Clinical and Translational Science Association.  He is an award-winning scholar of ethnoracial identification, religion, and the health implications of socially oppressive systems among adults in the United States.  His peer-reviewed articles and other publications appear in high-impact interdisciplinary outlets such as Ethnic and Racial Studies, the Journals of Gerontology: Series A, and the Sociology of Religion. He also disseminates his research findings at inter/national meetings and via expert panels sponsored by the Ford Foundation and Smithsonian Institute.

Several agencies within and outside the National Institutes of Health recognize his accomplishments and promise as a scholar. Early in his graduate career, Dr. Cobb acquired funding from the Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship, Louisville Institute, and the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities.  Recently, two signature NIH programs for early-career scholars selected him, through a competitive process, as an early-career faculty fellow. Both programs provide him with pilot funding and mentored training in grantsmanship to refine critical skills for writing NIH-level applications centered on reducing ethnoracial disparities and improving the renal health of older Black adults.  

He is incredibly proud of receiving a highly competitive two-year Mentored Career Development Award through the NIH-funded Georgia Center for Translational Science Association  Through this award, Dr. Cobb received advanced training in translational science and grantsmanship to reach his long-term goal of improving the renal health of older adults by assessing the contribution of gene-environment interactions to renal aging among older Black adults. 

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2021.  KL2 Scholar, Georgia Clinical and Translational Science Association

2018. Postdoctoral Trainee, Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, University of Southern California

2015. Postdoctoral Scholar, Roybal Institute on Aging, University of Southern California

2013. Ph.D., Sociology, Florida State University

2010. M.S., Sociology, Florida State University

2003. B.S., Secondary Education, Indiana University, Bloomington


Other Affiliations:
Research Interests:



Selected Publications:
  1. Cobb, R.J., Erving, C.L., & Carson Byrd, W. (2021). Perceived COVID-19 health threat increases psychological distress among Black Americans. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 44(5), 806-818. DOI:10.1080/01419870.2021.1867216
  2. Assari, S., Boyce, S., Mistry, R., Thomas, A., Nicholson, H. L., Cobb, R.J., . . . Zimmerman, M. A. (2021) Parents’ Perceived Neighborhood Safety and Children’s Cognitive Performance: Complexities by Race, Ethnicity, and Cognitive Domain. Urban Science, 5(2), 46. DOI:10.3390/urbansci5020046
  3. Assari, S., Boyce, S., Bazargan, M., Thomas, A., Cobb, R.J., Hudson, D., . . . Zimmerman, M. A. (2021). Parental Educational Attainment, the Superior Temporal Cortical Surface Area, and Reading Ability among American Children: A Test of Marginalization-Related Diminished Returns. Children, 8(5), 412. DOI:10.3390/children8050412
  4. Erving, C. L., & Cobb, R.J. (2021). Neighborhood Social Group Participation and Depressive Symptoms Among Mid-to-Late Life Black Americans: Does the Association Differ by Ethnicity?. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 23(3), 478-486. DOI:10.1007/s10903-020-01070-x
  5. Stewart, Q. T., Cobb, R.J., & Keith, V. M. (2020). The color of death: race, observed skin tone, and all-cause mortality in the United States. Ethnicity & Health, 25(7), 1018-1040. DOI:10.1080/13557858.2018.1469735
  6. Thorpe, R. J., Cobb, R., King, K., Bruce, M. A., Archibald, P., Jones, H. P., . . . Hudson, D. (2020). The Association Between Depressive Symptoms and Accumulation of Stress Among Black Men in the Health and Retirement Study. Innovation in Aging, 4(5). DOI:10.1093/geroni/igaa047
  7. Cobb, R.J., Thorpe, R. J., & Norris, K. C. (2020). Everyday Discrimination and Kidney Function Among Older Adults: Evidence From the Health and Retirement Study. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, 75(3), 517-521. DOI:10.1093/gerona/glz294
  8. Cobb, R.J., Parker, L.J., & Thorpe, R.J. (2020). Self-reported Instances of Major Discrimination, Race/Ethnicity, and Inflammation Among Older Adults: Evidence From the Health and Retirement Study. Journals of Gerontology Series A-Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 75(2), 291-296. DOI:10.1093/gerona/gly267
  9. Nguyen, A. W., Hamler, T. C., & Cobb, R.J. (2018). Discrimination and Chronic Kidney Disease among Caribbean Blacks: The Effects of Immigration and Social Status. Race and Social Problems, 10(3), 248-258. DOI:10.1007/s12552-018-9234-4
  10. Shelton, J. E., & Cobb, R.J. (2017). Black Reltrad: Measuring Religious Diversity and Commonality Among African Americans. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 56(4), 737-764. DOI:10.1111/jssr.12378
  11. Thorpe, R. J., Parker, L. J., Cobb, R.J., Dillard, F., & Bowie, J. (2017). Association between discrimination and obesity in African-American men. Biodemography and Social Biology, 63(3), 253-261. DOI:10.1080/19485565.2017.1353406
  12. Cobb, R.J., Üsküp, D. K., & Jefferson, S. T. (2017). Congregational Composition and Explanations for Racial Inequality Among Black Religious Affiliates. Race and Social Problems, 9(2), 163-169. DOI:10.1007/s12552-017-9208-y
  13. Cobb, R.J., Thomas, C.S., Laster Pirtle, W. N., & Darity, W. A. (2016). Self-identified race, socially assigned skin tone, and adult physiological dysregulation: Assessing multiple dimensions of “race” in health disparities research. SSM - Population Health, 2, 595-602. DOI:10.1016/j.ssmph.2016.06.007
  14. Park, J. Z., Martinez, B. C., Cobb, R., Park, J. J., & Wong, E. R. (2015). Exceptional Outgroup Stereotypes and White Racial Inequality Attitudes toward Asian Americans. Social Psychology Quarterly, 78(4), 399-411. DOI:10.1177/0190272515606433
  15. Cobb, R., Dougherty, K., Park, J., & Perry, S. (n.d.). Congregational Size and Attitudes towards Racial Inequality among Church Attendees in America. Religions, 6(3), 781-793. DOI:10.3390/rel6030781
  16. Cobb, R.J., Perry, S. L., & Dougherty, K. D. (2015). United by Faith? Race/Ethnicity, Congregational Diversity, and Explanations of Racial Inequality. Sociology of Religion, 76(2), 177-198. DOI:10.1093/socrel/sru067
  17. Tope, D., Pickett, J. T., Cobb, R.J., & Dirlam, J. (2014). Othering Obama. Sociological Perspectives, 57(4), 450-469. DOI:10.1177/0731121414536140
Of Note:

2020-   Editorial Board Member, Journal of Gerontology: Social Science

2020 -   Editorial Board Member, Review of Religious Research

2018 - 2021  Editorial Board Member, Social Problems