About the College of Health
The Lehigh College of Health will shape the future of health and health care through its innovative approach to teaching and research. We invite you to learn more about our College, including information about our curriculum, research focus, community engagement, industry partnerships and more.
Mission of the College of Health
The mission of the College of Health at Lehigh University is to leverage population health science to understand, preserve, and improve the health and well-being of populations and communities through excellence and innovation in education, research, and service. The College will prepare the next generation of highly skilled and diverse scientists and leaders in population health through novel course work, distance learning, and experiential learning opportunities.
Questions and Answers
The decision to launch this new College of Health comes at a time of historic evolution—and great challenge—in both health and the health care industry. It also comes at a time of excitement and change in how leaders in health care, academia, government and industry are thinking, more broadly than ever before, about the concept of health.
Job growth in health care is increasing at a rate that far outpaces most other sectors, and total domestic health care spending as of 2017 stood at nearly 18 percent of the total Gross Domestic Product in the United States, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. At the same time, unconventional, data-driven and interdisciplinary approaches to data analysis are opening up potentially groundbreaking opportunities to address some of society's most pressing health care issues.
Given these shifting dynamics, we are intentionally launching this College with a focus on population health. The College of Health represents a rare opportunity to change the landscape of research, education, and service in a field with impact on a global scale. Driven by innovation and technology, the College will become a destination for talented students and top researchers who are seeking opportunities for leadership and impact. We have confidence that our faculty, students, and graduates will engage in influential research, policy, and practice that stands to improve the health and well-being of our local, national, and global communities.
Population health is defined as the health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group.
Population health science is dedicated to advancing our understanding of multiple determinants of health, from cell to society, and how they interact to produce the health outcomes that we observe.
Though vast amounts and myriad variety of data are being collected in our ever-more tech-driven world, there remains a shortage of researchers who understand how to use it—or even recognize what data sets are pertinent to health. Incomplete understanding hampers policymakers at every level of government, private and nonprofit health care providers and insurers, clinicians, and researchers.
Our College will play an important role in analyzing data of all kinds, and driving proactive intervention to improve health for millions.
First, our College will be among the first in the nation to offer an undergraduate degree in population health. Current job trends clearly indicate an ever-increasing need for professionals trained, at the undergraduate level, in population health. Our degree programs will help address that need, both domestically and internationally. We are committed to training the next generation of creative and diverse scientists and leaders in population health.
Second, our interdisciplinary focus will allow us to easily draw on the expertise from faculty in Lehigh’s four existing colleges, and our global perspective will distinguish our College from others in the field.
Finally, our College will be highly focused on innovation, and in driving for solutions in health and health care. We expect to leverage external partnerships—in both academia and industry—to position the College at the very forefront of the world of population health.
The College will welcome its inaugural class during the 2020-2021 academic year, and applications are now welcome. Further information about the College's degree programs, career opportunities, application processes and more can be found on our Undergraduate Programs page.
The College will be committed to developing a curriculum that will train the next generation of innovative and diverse scientists and leaders in population health. Signature degree programs will include the undergraduate Bachelor’s of Science in Population Health and a suite of certificate programs in population health; the Master’s of Science in Population Health and the Master’s of Public Health; the Doctor of Philosophy in Population Health; and dual degree programs with each of Lehigh’s existing colleges.
In support of this goal, the College is considering ideas that include: High-impact, experiential learning opportunities for students, including research alongside faculty and graduate student mentors; and incubators, where small teams will work on specific challenges for three- to six-month periods, after which time they would present or publish their learnings.
The focus on experiential learning will engage students and push them to apply theory to practice, imparting a hands-on experience that will make them competitive in the job market and capable of understanding how to tackle complex challenges in the world of health.
Lehigh will seize this opportunity to infuse innovation and technology in teaching, research, and practice. Through partnerships and associated funding, the College will be able to build sustainability and influence the health and well-being of local, national, and global communities. Most importantly, these partnerships create opportunities for education, student participation, and research.
In support of this goal, the College is considering efforts that include:
- Partnerships across all Lehigh colleges as well as local and regional health networks and organizations in order to create opportunities for our students and to positively impact decision-making to improve the health of our community
- Nontraditional partnerships. Tech companies, venture capitalists, and established health care organizations are actively seeking partners to pursue innovative projects that will change the face of health care. While some in higher education eschew these connections, Lehigh will not shy away from non-traditional partnerships that afford scholarly rigor and research integrity.
To track epidemics, make effective policy decisions, evaluate community health, or determine the economics of health care practice, one needs to understand data and trends across populations. The College of Health will bring Lehigh’s research strengths and interdisciplinary approach to bear on the big challenges and opportunities in health and health care here in the U.S. and around the world. As a result, Lehigh will be poised to compete for extramural funding and produce novel research.
In support of this goal, the college is considering efforts that include:
- A data warehouse, offering a locked-down environment in which faculty and students can house sensitive, often not-publicly-available data sets provided by government and other agencies. This secure environment is key to accessing and manipulating the large amounts of sensitive data needed to fuel meaningful research and change.
- Advanced analytics and data visualization labs, allowing students from a variety of disciplines to learn how to understand and visually display data in a consumable format
- Artificial intelligence and virtual reality labs, in partnership with other colleges and units across campus, to develop the innovations and technology to drive health forward
Lehigh University is committed to improving the health and well-being of the people who live in and around Bethlehem, Pa. We will cultivate partnerships with communities, health systems, governments and private sector organizations to promote the health and well-being of communities locally, nationally and globally.
The Health, Science, and Technology (HST) building, slated for completion in 2021, will be located on the main campus of Lehigh in southern Bethlehem. The HST building will serve as the home for the College of Health. This expansive new facility—the largest academic facility built at Lehigh in more than a decade—will be the nexus for innovation in population health education, research, and partnerships. In this “living laboratory,” the College will support incubators so that students, faculty, and partners can come together to work on critical health research and evaluation.
This sustainably designed building, which will anchor the northeast corner of campus, will encourage an interdisciplinary culture via maximized transparency and accountability; develop functional neighborhoods that promote collaboration, communication, and flexibility; and serve as an important new crossroad for Lehigh students, external partners, and the public.