Lehigh recently hired three new faculty members for the College of Health, as the college continues to expand.
The Health, Science & Technology building, which will house the College of Health, is still not open. Last year the College of Health’s classes were held remotely: this year they are being held in various locations on campus.
Despite these challenges, Lehigh has continued to hire professors dedicated to public health, including associate professors John Hughes, Albert Liu and Associate Dean for Academic Programs Michael Gusmano.
The new hires started working at Lehigh this past August. Prior to starting at Lehigh, Hughes was an associate research professor at Penn State University, where he earned his PhD in 2011. Gusmano was the head of the concentration on health policy at Rutgers University School of Public Health. Liu was an associate professor at the University of Central Florida in the department of health and informatics.
Gusmano said while it was a difficult start to the academic year due to rising COVID-19 cases, he and his fellow faculty members are doing their best to protect the health of students as well as remaining flexible to accommodate various needs.
“My new colleagues are fantastic,” Gusmano said. “Both the new faculty who came in with me and the people who were already here.”
As the college continues to expand, meetings are occurring at the department level, as well as with students to discuss how the College of Health will continue to meet the needs of the times, Hughes said.
“We’re forming the identity of the College of Health,” he said.
The College of Health will offer courses about the interdisciplinary sciences such as biostatistics, data and health policy
Jake Vettoretti, ‘24, said the College of Health sets Lehigh apart as it is one of the only schools in the country with school focused on public health and a population health major.
“The classes are about making a difference in the world,” Vettoretti said. “They are very applicable to real life.”
Students and faculty alike are anticipating the opening of the Health, Science & Technology building this fall.
“I think that it is going to be a really exciting space where we can bring people together from different parts of the campus to work together and where we can actually work directly with the community,” Gusmano said. “A lot of us in the College of Health believe in community-based research where we actually involve the community, not just as subjects of our research, but partners in the research, and I think the new building will help facilitate that.”
Hughes said the faculty members within the College of Health are looking forward to getting settled together in this new space.
For students in the College of Health, the opportunity to congregate in one place will be a uniting experience.
“I’m excited to actually have a real, tangible college,” Vettoretti said. “I think it’ll be a really good space for College of Health students to have one place for meeting and to share a sense of community.”
Liu said the College of Health will also be launching the Population Data Warehouse, which will support the research of faculty in the college, as well as research throughout the university.
The college will build this Data Warehouse with the help of other health care organizations.
“It will open so many doors for student and faculty research and improve population health in the region and beyond,” Liu said.