Heather Orom

PhD

Heather Orom.

Heather Orom

PhD

Heather Orom

PhD

Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Director of Graduate Studies
Associate Professor

Research Topics

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.

Contact Information

304 Kimball Tower

Buffalo NY, 14214

Phone: (716) 829-6682

Fax: (716) 829-6040

horom@buffalo.edu

Summary

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. Dr. Orom is also working on several studies about a new dimension of perceived risk for illness, uncertainty about perceived risk. Traditionally, it has been assumed that people can nearly always judge their personal risk for disease. However, several studies by Dr. Orom and colleagues indicate that this is not the case. Many people do not know or are uncertain about their person risk for a variety of common diseases. The team has been exploring both the underlying causes of uncertainty about perceived risk and its behavioral consequences. Dr. Orom also continues to publish findings from a longitudinal study of prostate cancer treatment decision making and survivorship. Among areas this work has contributed to, is our understanding of the importance of patient emotional distress for driving patients’ treatment decisions and the reciprocal relationship between emotional distress and side-effect symptomatology after treatment. Finally, Dr. Orom engages in applied research for local community organizations, assisting with evaluation and other research needs.

Dr. Orom teaches Health Disparities (CHB 525/625), a survey of pattern and causes of health inequities affecting a variety of populations including people of color, people with low socioeconomic status, sexual minorities and rural populations along with strategies for eliminating the inequalities. This course is a component of the Micro-credential in Strategies for Eliminating Health Disparities.

Education

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Wayne State University and Karmanos Cancer Institute
  • PhD, Social and Personality Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • BA, Comparative Literature, Marlboro College

Professional Affiliations

  • American Public Health Association
  • Society of Behavioral Medicine
  • African American Health Disparities Task Force
  • Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health, Diversity and Inclusion Section

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