Sherry Buss, director of administration for Lehigh’s College of Health, explaining an overview of what to expect from the College of Health, during an information session on Feb. 11, 2020, in STEPS Building. The information session went over the certificate programs and population health courses. (Annalise Kelloff/B&W Staff)

College of Health looks to expand student opportunity in population health


Students signing into the information session on Feb. 11, 2020, in STEPS Building. The session gave Lehigh students an opportunity to learn more about the future programs and courses offered by the College of Health. (Annalise Kelloff/B&W Staff)

Lehigh’s College of Health will be the first undergraduate program in the world to offer a bachelor of science in population health, director of administration Sherry Buss said at a Feb. 11 information session.

“Our vision is to improve the health of populations and communities through science, innovation and action,” Buss said. “The curriculum is based on a culmination of education, service and research.”

The College of Health’s development began with the university’s Path to Prominence campaign. Whitney Witt became the dean in January 2019, with  Buss joining in June. Buss said the College of Health has been in the process of hiring more faculty.

The College of Health will start out by launching the program in population health, along with three or four other certificates. Buss said the term “certificate” is used in the College of Health as “minor” would be. The certificates that will likely be offered are in population health, global population health, and LGBTQ+ health. The B.S. in population health will require a minimum of 124 credits. 

“Through the courses and programming that the College of Health will offer, we can expose students to the emerging fields of population health, which is unique to academia at the undergraduate level,” Buss said. 

 Eduardo Gomez, an associate professor in the College of Health, will be teaching history of population health. 

Gomez spent time working in Brazil, researching and comparing HIV/AIDS, and the factors causing obesity in Brazil and the U.S. 

“My research is what got me interested in population health, and understanding how political science can provide new insights in population health issues,” Gomez said. 

Tess McGinley, ‘23, is majoring in health medicine and society, and minoring in earth and environmental sciences. She said the College of Health will have programs that tie her interdisciplinary major into one category. 

Before choosing Lehigh, McGinley said she attended various information sessions and fundraisers for the College of Health in California. 

“The health, medicine and society major is what initially brought me to Lehigh, but the College of Health is what solidified that this is what I want to do,” McGinley said. 

The College of Health will be housed in the new Health, Science and Technology Building, currently under construction. The building is expected to open fall 2021. 

Buss said there will be research lab space in the new building, which will focus on artificial intelligence and data analytics. The building will also have visualization labs and a population health data warehouse. 

Buss said the program will be predominantly first-year students and sophomores. Upperclassmen may steer toward the certificates, which she said can be attained in one year. Students can schedule advising meetings with faculty by appointment. 

Since the curriculum revolves around experiential learning, most courses will have seminars coupled with hands-on experiences led by faculty. 

Buss said a cohort of students has already been enrolled into the College of Health through Early Decision I and II admissions.

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  1. Robert F Davenport Jr on

    “Buss said the program will be predominantly first-year students and sophomores. Upperclassmen may steer toward the certificates.” When is the politically incorrect term upperclassMEN going to be changed. While we are at it we need to create new names for all four classes that are shorter. Make them four letter words so you can join them to refer to multiple classes at the same time. Consider using baba, cece, didi and gogo; upperclassmen would now be didigogos. Grad students could be kuku but probably yuyu would be more acceptable among other proposed consonants beyond “g” when paired with u’s. Respective consonants and vowels are in alphabetic order for ease in memorization.

    This would even work to save typing the eligibility year of athletes by appending “red” to the four letter base. Fifth year seniors would be yuyureds for eligibility although they could be either gogos or yuyus scholastically. The quoted sentences become 26 keystrokes shorter with a 62% reduction in the words referring to class years.

    This is a somewhat rational alternative that should be acceptable to both those who oppose political correctness and those who are micro aggressed. Traditionalists will be appalled but they should not miss the opportunity to be progressive, in the best sense of the word.

    • Amy Charles '89 on

      Upperclassmen are now usually called “advanced undergraduates.”

      I’ve never really understand this reaction to, “you know, you’re inadvertently being a jerk; not your fault, artifact of when the phrase was made, but you could avoid it by saying x instead.” You get these people pounding the table and shouting “IT IS MY GOD-GIVEN RIGHT TO GO ON BEING A JERK BECAUSE THAT IS THE WORD I LEARNED WHEN I WAS NINE YEARS OLD and apparently there’s no room in my head for anything new except what Fox puts there.”

      On the other hand, it’s nice that at least people let you know they feel entitled to a lifetime of bigotry by complaining about “political correctness”. Saves a lot of time.

  2. Robert F Davenport Jr on

    You can also be a jerk by changing for the sake of change.

    If you are going to change something why not try to create a real benefit for all in the long run. The point of the comment was: why irritate each other if there is a solution which can be acceptable to both sides and have benefits. “advanced undergraduates” offends my engineering sensibilities by adding 11 keystrokes for questionable benefit.

    Please stop the Fox references I use CBS and am not a ditto head for anyone. Giving an opinion does not make you a bigot, it’s how you treat others that is the determinant.

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