Dr. Valasik’s research program is two-fold. The first component investigates the socio-spatial dynamics of gang behavior (i.e., territoriality, group cohesion, and violence). This includes comparing and contrasting the attributes of street gangs with other deviant groups (i.e., ISIS, Skinheads, Alt-Right, White Power Groups). The second component examines effective strategies aimed at reducing neighborhood violence and discouraging gang activity, such as problem-oriented policing strategies (e.g., gang units, civil gang injunctions) or criminal justice policies (e.g., drug enforcement). Dr. Valasik is the co-author of Alt-Right Gangs: A Hazy Shade of White, published by University of California Press in 2020. The book examines the rise of alt-right groups through the lens of street gang research. The book is the first to conceptualize alt-right gangs and situate their existence across a broad range of academic literature and current events. In addition to Dr. Valasik’s research appearing in broad catalog of academic journals his work has received coverage in national media outlets such as The Conversation, The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage, The Guardian, The Crime Report, and Rolling Stone.
Mr. Joshua Gabriel S. Tobias joined the University of Alabama’s Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice as a full-time instructor and academic advisor in Fall 2022. He is currently a doctoral student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of Sociology and is set to receive his Ph.D. in 2023. Tobias’s dissertation looks at the effects of passing the Affordable Care Act of 2010 on mental health care expenditures and utilization among Millennials in the United States from 2000-2019 using the AHRQ’s Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS).
His research broadly examines health care utilization & disparities through the intersection of medical sociology, public health, and health services research. Tobias has co-authored articles in Epilepsy & Behavior and the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. He has taught classes such as Social Problems, Sociology of Mental Health and Illness, Mass Media & Crime, Law Enforcement, Human Sexuality, Minority Health, and Introduction to Sociology.
Before moving to Alabama in 2018, Tobias was originally from the U.S. Territory of Guam. In 2017, he received his master’s degree in Public Sociology from Saint Louis University in Saint Louis, Missouri.