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A Focus on Health


The committee charged with generating ideas for Lehigh’s proposed college of health gave the campus community an update on its progress at two forums in April and sought input on six themes under consideration.

The committee began its work in the fall, after President John D. Simon presented a bold academic vision for Lehigh to the Board of Trustees. The plan outlined a series of sweeping steps to enable Lehigh to build on its legacy and stand among the best in higher education.

The themes include:

  • Biomedicine and Biotechnology, which would build on Lehigh’s existing strengths in such areas as data science, biochemistry and neuroscience while allowing for new opportunities in biomarkers, nanotechnology and other areas.
  • Environmental Health, which would center on preventing or controlling disease, injury and disability related to interactions between people and their environment.
  • Resilient Communities, which would explore why some individuals and communities are able to recover from chronic and acute adversity.
  • Mind-Body Connections, which would focus on the connections between mind and body in promoting health. The goal would be to promote research on the intersection of mental and physical health at all levels, including policy and system levels.
  • Science of Healthcare Delivery, which would focus on scientific methodologies that improve quality, efficiency, effectiveness and outcomes.
  • Healthy at Home, which would focus on maximizing and maintaining the wellness of individuals and families outside of the healthcare setting.

“This is a work in progress,” said Ray Pearson, director of the Center for Polymer Science and Engineering at Lehigh, at one of the forums. Pearson, and Debbie Laible, professor of psychology, are committee co-chairs.

Several criteria are being used to evaluate proposed themes for the health college: innovation, enhancement of Lehigh’s visibility and reputation, funding potential, demand for degree programs, leverage of Lehigh’s existing strengths and the need for new strategic partnerships. 

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