Our Faculty

Department of Community Health and Health Behavior

Faculty study the factors that influence health behavior choices and the role of the community in public health problems and solutions.

R. Lorraine Collins, PhD Associate Dean for Research, Professor

Projects: Dr. Collins and Dr. Lynn Kozlowski co-teach the Interprofessional Education Course, Health for Refugee Populations

Specialty/Research focus: drinking restraint; malt liquor and marijuana use, psychosocial factors in substance use; women's issues; smoking

Gary A. Giovino, PhD, MS Professor and Chair

Projects: Global tobacco control. Chair of the Questionnaire Review Committee and the Analysis Committee of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey. Member of the Global Tobacco Surveillance System Expert Advisory Committee. 

Specialty/Research focus: Tobacco use and cessation. Specifically, population research on patterns, determinants and control of tobacco use in adolescents and adults using state, national and international surveys; “hardening” of the population and “hard-core” smoking; tobacco harm reduction; suboptimal nutrition as a risk factor for the development and maintenance of nicotine addiction; and adverse childhood experiences and nicotine dependence and smoking cessation.

Lynn T. Kozlowski, PhD Professor and Former Dean

Project: Dr. Kozlowski and Dr. Lorraine Collins co-teach the Interprofessional Education course, Health for Refugee Populations

Specialty/Research focus: behavioral and policy aspects of tobacco use

Lucia Leone, PhD Assistant Professor    

Projects: Leone's research involves multi-level interventions designed to increase healthy behaviors including fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity, and cancer screening among vulnerable populations. Current research projects include development and evaluation of a mobile produce market (The Veggie Van) to bring fresh, local, affordable food to lower income and under-served communities. 

Specialty/Research Interests: environmental, community, organizational and behavioral interventions to improve nutrition, increase physical activity and encourage appropriate cancer screening; health disparities; food access and local food systems; obesity and cancer prevention

Heather Orom, PhD Assistant Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion; Associate Professor; Director of Graduate Studies

Projects: Heather Orom’s first line of research is on the causes of health disparities. She is interested in how broad social determinants of health such as discrimination influence health outcomes. Currently, Orom is investigating the causes of racial disparities in cancer prevention and treatment. 

Specialty/Research Interests: Understanding and identifying strategies for eliminating health disparities; evaluating the application of health behavior theory across cultural contexts; determinants of prostate cancer treatment decision making and wellbeing in survivorship; psychosocial adaptation to environmental disasters

Samina Raja, PhD Adjunct Associate Professor

Projects: She is the Principal Investigator of the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab (the “Food Lab”) where much of her research unfolds with the engagement and collaboration of an outstanding research team. In partnership with collaborators nationwide, Dr. Raja is currently directing Growing Food Connections, a comprehensive five-year initiative funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to build capacity of local governments to strengthen food systems.  

Specialty/Research Focus: Dr. Raja’s research focuses on planning and design for sustainable food systems and healthy communities. Her additional research interests include the role of planning in communities experiencing conflict (she is especially interested in the region of Kashmir in South Asia), and the fiscal dimensions of urban and regional planning.

Pavani Kalluri Ram, MD Associate Professor and Director Office of Global Health Initiatives

Projects: Ram teaches Global Health (EEH 521) and the Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases (EEH 573) and mentors master’s and doctoral students in epidemiology, and community health and health behavior. She leads research projects in countries throughout Africa and Asia including Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Bangladesh, India, and Nepal.

Specialty/Research Interests: child survival, handwashing, global health, diarrheal diseases, acute respiratory infections, infectious disease epidemiology

Mark Travers, PhD Research Assistant Professor

Projects: Mark and colleagues in the Roswell Park Cancer Institute Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center are conducting a global air monitoring effort that is currently in over 40 countries around the world measuring exposures to tobacco smoke pollution and informing the debate over smoke-free air policy.  Dr. Travers has trained these researchers either in-person or through his website www.tobaccofreeair.org.  He has also trained and actively collaborated with over 65 partner organizations in 33 U.S. States and Canadian Provinces in measuring tobacco smoke exposures.

Specialty/Research Interests: measuring exposures to air contaminants using a variety of instruments and biological markers and determining how human behavior and public health policies impact these exposures