HMS Faculty

Director of Health, Medicine, & Society Program

Kelly Austin, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Sociology & Anthropology
Dr. Austin’s teaching and research interests center on global health issues, with particular attention to the links between infectious disease and environmental decline in less-developed nations. Much of her research focuses on the social and environmental causes of HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria in poor societies. Some of her most current research examines the influence of export agriculture and urban slum expansion on malaria rates. Her work on the cross-national determinants of HIV focuses on the gendered dimensions of the pandemic, as HIV now represents the leading cause of death among young women worldwide. Dr. Austin’s research also emphasizes how basic provisions for public health in less-developed nations, such as doctors or access to improved sanitation and clean water, are paramount in improving quality of life for people in poor nations.

Steering Committee Faculty 

Christopher Burke, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Psychology
My research focuses on the links between stress and physical/mental health and the social/structural factors that strengthen or weaken such links. Stress is intimately linked to public health issues, as it can be both an antecedent and a consequence of chronic health problems. It is perhaps not surprising that chronic health problems can be a source of stress, but recent work also shows that the accumulation of stress over one's lifetime increases susceptibility to a wide range of health problems, including obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. It does so by disrupting the hormonal pathways that regulate the immune system, as well as by promoting negative health behaviors, such as smoking and drinking. Stress can also increase susceptibility to mental health problems, which is where most of my current work is situated. As an example, I'm currently conducting two studies looking at the link between stress during pregnancy and risk for postpartum depression (PPD). PPD affects approximately 10-15% of women following childbirth, and research shows that stress during pregnancy increases risk for PPD. My current studies are examining the hormonal mediators of the process (it turns out that one hormone that increases dramatically during pregnancy can impair the body's stress response) and the role of social support (emotional and tangible assistance from family and friends) in mitigating such risk.

Stephen Cutcliffe, Ph.D., Professor, History & Director of Science, Technology, & Society Program
Dr. Cutcliffe engages issues related to HMS primarily in his teaching. His gateway course for the STS Program—STS 11: “Technology and Human Values”—includes a short unit on health technology and the social and ethical issues posed by developments in the field of medicine. He is currently pursuing research in the area of nanotechnology and its societal implications, which include many health and medicine applications.

Dena Davis, Ph.D., Presidential Endowed Chair in Health - Humanities/Social Sciences & Professor, Religion Studies
Associate Director of Personnel for Health, Medicine and Society

Dr. Davis comes to Lehigh after teaching at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (Cleveland State University) and Central Michigan University. She received her doctorate in religion from the University of Iowa and her J.D. from University of Virginia. Her specialty is bioethics, and her specific focus is on the ethics of genetic medicine and genetic research. Dr. Davis' latest book is Genetic Dilemmas: Reproductive Technology, Parental Choices, and Children's Futures (2nd Edition, University of Oxford Press, 2010). Dr. Davis has been a Fulbright scholar in India, Italy, Israel, Indonesia, and Sweden. Dr. Davis serves on the Central Institutional Review Board of the National Cancer Institute, and is a member of the NIH Embryonic Stem Cell Eligibility Working Group.

Elizabeth A. Dolan, Ph.D., Associate Professor, English
Dr. Dolan researches and teaches 18th -century literature and contemporary illness narratives. Her book Seeing Suffering in Women’s Literature of the Romantic Era (Ashgate 2008) addresses 18th-century medical topics such as melancholia, contagious eye disease, health travel, and the impoverished ill.  She taught literature to medical students for three years in the Department of Social Medicine at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and consistently offers courses that focus on literature and medicine at Lehigh—including “Illness and Deviance in American Culture” (a version of Eng. 11), “Aging and Creativity” (a version of Eng. 90), and “TimeSlips: Collaborative Storytelling with Alzheimer’s Patients” (a version of Eng. 290).  In addition to teaching HMS 001: “Introduction to Medical Humanities,” she teaches HMS/ENGL 115/315 “Topics in Health, Medicine, and Literature.”  Most recently the course focus was “The Literature of Contagion.” 

Sharon Friedman, M.A.
, Professor, Journalism & Communication, Director of Science & Environmental Writing Program
Dr. Friedman is closely associated with both the Science,Technology and Society (STS) and the Environmental Initiative (EI) interdisciplinary programs and most of her courses are cross-listed. She regularly teaches a course on health and environmental controversies and occastionally teaches one on environmental health, both from mass media perspectives. Her research includes risk communication, particularly about radiation health effects and societal impacts, as well as mass media coverage of science, health, environment and technology issues.  She is currently pursuing research about mass media coverage of potential health and environmental risks of nanotechnology under a grants from the National Science Foundation.

Arthur King, Ph.D.
, Professor, Economics, College of Business & Economics
Dr. King directs the Health and Bio-Pharmaceutical Economics (HBPE) MS program; he continues to direct the Lehigh in Prague summer program, which includes both traditional courses and practicums with major international businesses. He teaches introductory statistics (both on campus and on the Web), Bio-Pharmaceutical Economics in the HBPE program and Comparative Economic Systems in Prague. Current research projects include modeling the determinants of hospital length of stay, policy decisions required for pharmaceutical remedies for neglected diseases, micro-economic modeling of R&D and marketing decisions in a pharmaceutical firm, evaluating the impact of prospective payment on hospital investment.

Judith N. Lasker, Ph.D., NEH Distinguished Professor, Sociology & Anthropology 
Dr. Lasker’s major area of interest in both teaching and research is in the field of medical sociology, with particular emphasis on women’s health issues and international health. She has carried out extensive research on pregnancy loss and infertility and is co-author with Susan Borg of two books on these subjects, When Pregnancy Fails; Families Coping with Miscarriage, Ectopic Pregnancy, Stillbirth, and Infant Death (Bantam Books) and In Search of Parenthood; Coping with Infertility and High-Tech Conception (Temple U. Press). She completed a study of the impact of autoimmune liver disease and liver transplantation on women and families and has also published on predictors of low birth weight and post-partum depression. Her most recent research focused on the social movement called, "Time Banking" and resulted in a book co-authored with Ed Collom and Corinne Kyriacou: Equal Time, Equal Value; Community Currencies and Time Banking in the U.S. (Ashgate Publishing).

Her current project examines the impact on host communities of short-term international service programs in public health and medical care. She has interviewed over one hundred people involved in such programs as senders, volunteers, and host country recipients and surveyed almost two hundred organizations that sponsor volunteers. She has almost completed a book based on this research, tentatively entitled “Giving Back?; Short-Term International Volunteer Programs in Health”. Lasker often teaches SSP 160: "Medicine and Society" (a core course for the HMS minor) and other health-related courses.   

Linda Lowe-Krentz, Ph.D., Professor, Biological Sciences, Director Biochemistry 
Dr. Lowe-Krentz is also a member of the bioengineering advisory program and the health professions advisory committee at Lehigh. Her research in vascular cell signal transduction and stress is supported by the NIH and currently also through an interdisciplinary award to Mechanical/Bioengineering Professor Yaling Liu of Lehigh University. She teaches Biochemistry courses, has taught Anatomy and Physiology and often teaches a non-majors Health-focused first year seminar.

Jessecae Marsh, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Psychology
Dr. Marsh joined Lehigh in 2011 as an assistant professor in the Psychology Department. She completed her Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology at Yale University in 2008 and spent three years as an assistant professor at Texas Tech University before joining Lehigh’s faculty. Dr. Marsh’s research addresses how the beliefs that people hold influence the way they think about the world. She has investigated how people form hypotheses about the causal relationships between events and how these hypothesis can in turn influence how people learn about new causal relationships. She has explored how the causal beliefs people hold influence how they think about categories that exist in the world. Dr. Marsh has applied her research focus to looking at these questions in the health domain. For example, she has explored how professional mental health clinicians’ beliefs about mental disorder categories differ from laypeople’s beliefs about those same categories and how people react to expert physicians when they express ambivalence in making a medical categorization decision. Dr. Marsh has taught an undergraduate seminar through the Psychology Department entitled “Health Care Reasoning and Decision-Making."

Laura Katz Olson, Ph.D., Professor, Political Science
Dr. Olson has published seven books: The Political Economy of Aging: The State, Private Power and Social Welfare; Aging and Public Policy: The Politics of Growing Old in America; The Graying of the World: Who Will Take Care of the Frail Elderly; Age Through Ethnic Lenses: Caring for the Elderly in a Multicultural Society; The Not So Golden Year: Caregiving, the Frail Elderly and the Long-Term Care Establishment; Heart Sounds (her first novel); and The Handbook of Long-Term Care Administration and Policy.  Her most recent book is The Politics of Medicaid (Colombia University Press). She has published widely in the field of aging, health and women’s studies, her recent articles addressing such topics as long-term care, Medicaid and Medicare policies and the Affordable Care Act. She has been a scholar at the Social Security Administration, a Gerontological Fellow and a Fulbright Scholar. She also lectures on Medicaid policy and the Health Care Reform Act. Dr. Olson is on the editorial board of the Journal of Aging Studies and New Political Science. She also served on the governing council of the American Political Science Association.  She teaches “The Politics and Policies of American Health Care” at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Lloyd Steffen, Ph.D., Professor, Religion Studies & University Chaplain
Dr. Steffen has worked on ethics issues related to reproductive health and end-of-life. He is the author of Life/Choice: The Theory of Just Abortion (1994, 2006), and Abortion: A Reader (1996, 2010), the first edited collection to present viewpoints on abortion from the diversity of the world’s religious traditions. Biomedical ethics issues are addressed in his 2012 book, Ethics and Experience:  Moral Theory from Just War to Abortion, and he has co-edited New Perspectives on the End of Life:  Essays on Care and the Intimacy of Dying (2012) as well as two e-book collections, Death, Dying, Culture:  An Interdisciplinary Interrogation (2013) and Re-Imaging Death and Dying:  Global Interdisciplinary Perspectives (2009).  Steffen serves on the St. Luke’s Hospital Ethics Committee (Fountain Hill, Bethlehem, PA) and was Vice-Chair, then Secretary, and for eight years NGO representative to the United Nations for the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. Steffen teaches Bioethics, an introductory global ethics course where distributive justice issues about health care are raised, and “From the Black Death to AIDS: Religion, Ethics and Pandemic.”  

Affiliated Faculty

Susan B
arrett, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology
Barrett is a developmental psychologist who studies how children and teens reason about health-promoting and health-compromising behaviors. Her current work focuses on how sensitivity to body size and shape changes as children’s bodies mature and how sports participation affects attitudes about the body’s shortcomings and strengths. Dr. Barrett regularly offers HMS/Psyc386 Child Health Psychology and has served on doctoral committees for graduate students in Lehigh’s Pediatric School Psychology Program.

Shin-Yi Chou, Ph.D.,
Associate Professor, Economics
Dr. Shin-Yi Chou received her B.A. from National Taiwan University in 1994 and her Ph.D. from Duke University in 1999. She is also a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Her research focuses on three aspects: quality and cost of health care; economic analysis of obesity; and health insurance, education and health outcomes. Her recent research on parental education and child well-being and national health insurance and child health are funded by National Institute on Child Health and Human Development and National Science Foundation, respectively. Portions of her work have been published in Journal of Health Economics, Rand Journal of Economics, Review of Economics and Statistics, Health Economics, Journal of Public Economics and Journal of Applied Econometrics. She is teaching "Applied Microeconomics and Health Economics."

Constance Cook, Ph.D., Professor, Modern Languages & Literature

Dr. Connie Cook has published Death in Ancient China: The Tale of One Man's Journey (Leiden, Brill Press, 2006). The book assesses information from one of China's oldest "medical records," which were buried in the patient's tomb. Forthcoming is Pre-Han Healing in the Harvard Illustrated History of Chinese Medicine and Healing (Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press). Professor Cook's research also addresses healing traditions before the second century B.C. In the future, she would like to teach a course on Chinese medicine.

Mary E. Deily, Ph.D., Professor, Economics

Dr. Deily is an applied micro-economist in the area of empirical industrial organization. Her early research into firms' exit decisions resulted in studies in the areas of health economics and health service research: relationships between hospital exit, efficiency, owner-types, and health outcomes. Her current work focuses on the quality and cost of health care and the impact of health information technology on health outcomes.

Breena Holland, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Political Science & Environmental Initiative Program

Diane Hyland, Ph.D., Professor, Psychology & Associate Dean for Faculty & Staff
Dr. Hyland specializes in the study of adult development and aging. She studies psycho-social adaptation to normative developmental life transitions, such as entry into college or retirement. She also studies individual differences in coping and adaptation to traumatic life events such as infertility, stroke, and physical disability.

Chad Meyerhoefer, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Economics
Professor Meyerhoefer’s research focuses on the economics of health and nutrition, much of which involves the use of microeconometric methods to evaluate and inform public policy.  He has research spans the fields of economics, health services research, and health policy.  Some of his current research projects include: (1) examining the relationship between food assistance programs and health; (2) predicting the medical cost of obesity; (3) estimating the price responsiveness of consumer demand for medical services, and; (4) determining the impact of electronic medical record adoption on pregnancy outcomes.  This research has been published outlets such as the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Journal of Health Economics, Journal of Development Studies, Health Affairs, Health Economics, Health Services Research, and Pediatrics. Prior to joining the faculty at Lehigh, he served as a research economist at The CNA Corporation and the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.  

Ageliki Nicolopoulou, Ph.D.,
Professor & Director of SSRC Program

Alan J. Snyder, Vice President & Associate Provost for Research & Graduate Studies and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Dr. Snyder is a bioengineer by training. His research career focused on the development and use of heart replacement devices for critically ill patients, his work spanning from fundamental aspects of device design and interactions between natural and human-designed systems, through clinical application. His experience in an academic medicine setting, where he had responsibilities related to protection of human subjects, management of clinical trials and knowledge transfer aroused interests in research ethics, and he has taught clinical and professional ethics with medical students, and also research ethics for graduate students in the sciences and for physicians preparing for careers in clinical research with particular emphasis on ownership and intellectual property.

Bruce Whitehouse, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Anthropology
Dr. Whitehouse joined the faculty at Lehigh in 2008 after obtaining his Ph.D. in Anthropology from Brown University in 2007. He has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Mali, Nigeria, and the Republic of Congo on subjects ranging from female infertility to marriage to transnational migration. He regularly teaches "Health, Illness and Healing," an introduction to medical anthropology concentrating on the interface between human behavior, culture and health.

Jennifer Swann, Ph.D., Professor, Biological Sciences
Dr. Jennifer Swann received her doctorate in reproductive neuro-endocrinology from Northwestern University. She studied at University of Michigan and was tenured at Rutgers Newark before coming to Lehigh as an associate professor of biology in 1996. The recipient of grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, Swann's teaching interests include neuro-antomy, hormonal regulation of behavior and anatomy & physiology. Her research focuses on the role of sex steroids in the development and function of the brain and the role of steroids in the expression of sex specific behaviors. Swann fosters a “hands on” approach in all of her courses and is working to increase the use of experiential learning in middle schools as part of the local NSF STEM project. Last year Swann created an externship course in partnership with Bonnie Coyle, MD, MPH (Director of Community Health at St. Luke’s Hospital) to involve Lehigh students in health related activities in the community. In addition to these activities, Swann serves on the Advisory Board of the Bethlehem Partnership for a Healthy Community, a collaboration among 60 local businesses, government, educational, and community organizations. 

 Adjunct Faculty

Peter J. Costa, MPH, MCHES, Director, Health Advancement and Prevention Strategies Office 
Peter received his Master of Public Health degree in Community Health Education from East Stroudsburg University in 2005. His interests include a concentration in community health needs assessment, leveraging open-source technology for mass outreach and advocating for a One Health approach to synergistic health care. Peter has worked in public health as an epidemiologist, health educator and health communications specialist. He has worked with public health agencies at the local, state and federal levels and in the global health arena for non-profit organizations. As Director of the Health Advancement and Prevention Strategies Office at Lehigh University, Peter is tasked with developing a strategic plan that fully coordinates all student  health prevention-related efforts while supporting core competencies for student learning and personal development.

Bonnie Coyle, MD.,  Director of Community Health, St. Luke’s Hospital
Dr. Coyle earned her MD at Jefferson Medical College and a Masters degree in Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at the University of Maryland. She is Board Certified in Preventive Medicine, a member of both the APTR (Association for Prevention Teaching and Research), the APHA (American Public Health Association), and the ACPM (American College of Preventive Medicine), and has served as both Health Director and Medical Director of the Bethlehem Health Bureau. For the last ten years, Dr. Coyle has directed the Community Health Department at St. Luke’s Hospital in Bethlehem, a department whose mission is to partner with the community to increase health awareness, improve the health status of the community, and encourage appropriate access to health services. Guiding the Bethlehem Partnership for a Healthy Community, Dr. Coyle has developed a number of public health programs, including initiatives in asthma, dental health, vision, minority health, and HIV. She has also helped establish two mobile youth health centers and a health resource room at a local high school. She has worked extensively with Lehigh University's Community Fellows program, and served as the community health care professional on the Lehigh University team attending "The Educated Citizen and Public Health" Curriculum Development Institute in 2008.

Michelle DiMeo, Ph.D.
Dr. DiMeo is S. Gordon Castigliano Director of Digital Library Initiatives at the Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Her research focuses on the social history of medicine and science in seventeenth-century England. She is co-editor of the collection of essays Reading and Writing Recipe Books 1550-1800 and has published on essays on Robert Boyle, the Hartlib Circle, and early modern women's medicine. She is currently completing an intellectual biography of Katherine Jones, Lady Ranelagh. Her Ph.D. from the University of Warwick was co-supervised and co-examined by the English and History departments.

Karen Hicks, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor, Sociology & Women, Gender & Sexuality Program
Karen M. Hicks, Ph.D., has been teaching at Lehigh for more than twenty years.  She was the founder in 1986 of the Dalkon Shield Information Network,  a health non-profit advocacy group for women who had been seriously injured by this IUD contraceptive device.  As a grassroots activist, she became a national spokeswoman for the rights of people damaged by defective health products.  She ultimately wrote "Surviving the Dalkon Shield IUD:  Women vs. the Pharmaceutical Industry."  Karen was director of the Women's Center at Albright College from 1990-1995.  She has taught Women's Health, Human Sexuality and Medicine and Society at Lafayette College and Lehigh University for over 20 years.

Timothy A. Lomauro, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor, Psychology 
Dr. Lomauro is a clinical psychologist and has been a part-time faculty member at Lehigh since 2001. He received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 1990 at St. John's University in New York. He has taught undergraduate courses in Abnormal Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Health Psychology and the Psychology of Body Image and Eating Disorders. Dr. Lomauro is a Licensed Psychologist (NJ, NY, PA), and is Chief of the Psychology Service at the Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center, where he is also the Health Behavior Coordinator (Health Promotion/Disease Prevention Program), and the Tobacco Cessation Coordinator/Lead Clinician. He has served as master faculty for National Center for Health Promotion/Disease Prevention courses in Clinician Coaching. His research interests include: adjustment to chronic illness and disability; coping behavior, personality factors, and chronic pain disorders; trauma, somatization, and psychophysiological disorders; and factors predicting treatment adherence.

 Professors Emeritus

Larry Silberstein, Ph.D.,
Philip and Muriel Berman Professor of Jewish Studies

Barbara Traister, Ph.D., Professor, English