Heather Orom


Heather Orom.

Heather Orom


Heather Orom


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

Research Topics

Understanding and identifying strategies for eliminating health disparities; dimensions of illness risk perception, including uncertainty about risk perception and its implication for health behavior and risk perception measurement; determinants of prostate cancer treatment decision making and wellbeing in prostate cancer survivorship.

Contact Information

304 Kimball

Buffalo NY, 14214

Phone: (716) 829-6682

Fax: (716) 829-6040


Overview Publications News


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.


  • 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