College of Public Health
Public Health Faculty
The College of Public Health's diverse practitioner faculty bring years of professional experience with them to the classroom. As leading experts in applied public health, they are committed to using real-world experiences and examples to help students put theory into practice.
They also welcome students to work alongside them on cutting-edge research projects in areas such as:
- Access to Care
- Community-Based Interventions
- Drug Use
- Health Indicators
- Healthcare Disparities
- Health Needs Assessment
- Health Literacy
- HIV/STD Prevention
- Physician Practice Patterns
- Health Service Utilization Patterns
- Community-Based Participatory Research
- Social Psychology of Women: Gender Differences
- Cognitive Factors that Affect Success with Health Behavior Change
- Child Health Disparities
- Violence Prevention
- Adolescent Health
- Substance Abuse
- Health Communication
- Physical Activity Across the Lifespan
- Quantitative Methods
- Qualitative Research Instruction
Sonia Alemagno, Ph.D.
PhD, Medical Sociology, Case Western Reserve University, 1991
MA, Sociology, Kent State University, 1984
Heather Beaird, Ph.D
PhD, Epidemiology, Case Western Reserve University, 2005
BS, Biology, Kent State University, 1998
Tina D. Bhargava, DrPH
DrPH, Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, 2012
MA, Curriculum Studies & Teacher Education, Stanford University, 2003
BA, Human Biology, Stanford University, 1999
Madhav P. Bhatta, Ph.D., MPH
Ph.D., Epidemiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health, 2007
MPH, Epidemiology and International Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health, 1999
Sheryl L. Chatfield, Ph.D.
Ph.D., Health and Kinesiology, University of Mississippi, 2014
MS, Recreation, University of Southern Mississippi, 2008
BA, Communication, The Ohio State University, 1986
Vinay K. Cheruvu, Ph.D., MS, MSC., PGD-MISCA
- Ph.D., Biostatistics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio
- M.S., Statistics, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma
- PGD-MISCA, Osmania University, Hyderabad, India
- MSc, Statistics (Econometrics concentration), Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati, India
Abbey Eng, Ph.D.
Jeff Hallam, Ph.D, FRSPH
Dr. Hallam's research focuses on the construct validation of health behavior interventions, specifically physical activity behavior. He also conducts community-based participatory research and examines how the built environment and policy influence physical activity. Dr. Hallam has received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Active Living Research, U.S. Department of Education, NCAA, Anheuser-Busch, National Center for Safe Routes to School, Mississippi Department of Transportation, the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi and the James C. Kennedy Foundation.
He has extensive experience in developing and testing tools to measure theoretical variables. He currently serves on the board of the Akron Division of the American Heart Association. Dr. Hallam is an elected member of the Executive Board of the American Public Health Association and the immediate Past-President of the American Academy of Health Behavior.
Ph.D., Health Promotion & Education, The Ohio State University, 1995
M.A., Sport Management, emphasis in Fitness Management, The Ohio State University, 1991
B.S., Recreation Education, The Ohio State University, 1988
John Hoornbeek, Ph.D.
Ph.D., Political Science, University of Pittsburgh, 2004
M.A., Public Policy and Administration, University of Wisconsin – Madison, 1986
B.A., Liberal Arts, Beloit College, 1981
Eric Jefferis, Ph.D.
Ph.D., Criminology and Policing, University of Cincinnati, 2004
MA, Criminal Justice, Radford University, 1993
BA, Administration of Justice Department, Pennsylvania State University, 1990
Deric R. Kenne, Ph.D.
Ph.D., Public Administration, The University of Akron, 2010
M.S., Psychology, Mississippi State University, 1998
Kristina Knight, Ph.D.
Dr. Knight has served as a lead trainer for the Cuyahoga County Youth Work Institute and the national training cadre of National Health Promotion Associates, where she has provided training and technical assistance to national prevention and youth development organizations.
Prior to this, she worked as a project director in a local health department to support the development, implementation and evaluation of community-based substance use prevention programming. Her teaching and research interests include community-based and participatory approaches, social determinants and health disparities, health and learning, adolescent health and youth development.
Ph.D., Health Education and Promotion, Kent State University, 2014
MPH, Public Health Policy & Management, Case Western Reserve University, 2003
BS, Biology, University of Toledo, 2000
Bethany Lanese, Ph.D.
PhD, Political Science, Wayne State University
Graduate Certificate, Healthcare Administration, University of Akron College of Business
Peter J. Leahy
Leahy has published over 46 refereed articles and book chapters. He is also the author of numerous evaluation reports and monographs. He has presented evaluation workshops at the state and local levels, and has conducted workshops on program evaluation in Hungary and Russia through a grant from the United States Information Agency. He has worked with a wide range of evaluation sponsors in the area of the social determinants of health, and has also conducted strategic planning and needs assessment efforts for health partners.
Jennifer L.N. Miller
- Ph.D., Kent State University, 2022
- MBA, Kent State University, 2009
- MEd, Kent State University, 2006
- BBA, Kent State University, 2002
Lynette Phillips, Ph.D., MSPH
Ph.D., Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2007
MSPH, University of South Florida, 1998
Certificate in Health Informatics, Kent State University, 2018
Ken Slenkovich, MA
Tara C. Smith, Ph.D.
Dr. Smith joined the faculty of Kent State University College of Public Health in August 2013. An Ohio native, she previously spent nine years in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Iowa College of Public Health, where she directed the College’s Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases and attained the rank of Associate Professor with tenure. She completed postdoctoral training in molecular epidemiology at the University of Michigan prior to beginning her professorship at the University of Iowa. She obtained her Ph.D. at the University of Toledo and her BS in Biology from Yale University.
Dr. Smith’s research generally focuses on zoonotic infections (infections which are transferred between animals and humans). She was the first to identify livestock-associated strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in the United States, and has pioneered the investigation of this organism in the U.S. Dr. Smith has published over 80 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters. (Full publication list can be found at Google Scholar; a full CV including presentations can be found here). She has received over $3 million in funding from AHRQ, USDA, and NIOSH to carry out these studies. She has presented her research at numerous national and international platforms, including talks on Capitol Hill on the topic of agriculture and antibiotic resistance. Her work has been profiled in many major publications, including Science, Nature, and The New York Times, as well as in "Superbug: the Fatal Menace of MRSA" by Maryn McKenna and "Pig Tales: an Omnivore's Quest for Sustainable Meat" by Barry Estabrook.
Dr. Smith is also very active in science communication and outreach. She has maintained a science blog since 2005, and has written books on Group A Streptococcus, Group B Streptococcus, and Ebola. A second book on Ebola, "Ebola's Message," was published by MIT Press in 2016. She also writes about infectious disease for several national sites, pens a column for SELF.com, and serves as a member of the advisory board of the Zombie Research Society. She lives in rural Ohio with her partner and her three children.
Ph.D., Microbiology, University of Toledo, 2002
BS, Biology, Yale University, 1998
Maggie Stedman-Smith, Ph.D., MPH, MS, RN
Ph.D., Environmental Health, University of Minnesota, 2008
MPH, Environmental Health, University of Minnesota, 2004
MSN, Nursing, University of Minnesota, 2004
Mary M. Step, Ph.D.
Ph.D., Communication Studies, Kent State University, 1998
MACT, Communication Studies, Cleveland State University, 1992
BA, Communication Studies, Cleveland State University, 1990
Peggy C. Stephens, Ph.D.
Ph.D., Sociology (Social Psychology), University of Akron, 1999
M.A., Sociology, University of Akron, 1997
Jonathan Vangeest, Ph.D.
Dr. VanGeest’s research focuses on racial and ethnic disparities in health care, limited health literacy, and care outcomes associated with structural changes in medicine. He also has extensive experience in survey research methodology and program evaluation. Dr. VanGeest has published in leading health and policy journals and co-edited one of the first textbooks on limited health literacy. He is an Associate Editor for BMC Medical Research Methodology and he is on the Editorial Boards for Evaluation and the Health Professions (EHP), a quarterly journal providing a forum for health professionals interested in health evaluation research and practices, and the Journal of Substance Abuse and Alcoholism. A guest-edited special issue of EHP on surveying clinicians was published in September 2013. Dr. VanGeest has served on numerous state and national committees, including the Institute of Medicine’s Liaison Panel on Assuring the Health of the Public in the 21st Century and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Panel to Evaluate U.S. Standard Certificates and Reports. He currently serves as a Section Councilor for the Medical Care Section of the American Public Health Association.
Ph.D., Medical Sociology, University of Illinois at Chicago 1998
M.A., Sociology – Urban Studies (Dual Degrees), Michigan State University, 1991
B.S., Sociology, Michigan State University, 1988
Chris Woolverton, Ph.D.
Ph.D., Medical Microbiology, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, 1986
M.S., Medical Microbiology, West Virginia University, Morgantown, 1984
M.S., Biology (Psychology minor), Wilkes College, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 1982
Postdoctoral training, Cellular Immunology, UNC-Chapel Hill, 1986-1988
Ken Zakariasen, PH.D., DDS, M.S., M.S. (ODA)
B.A., DDS, M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Minnesota
Advanced Management Program Certificate, Harvard Business School
M.S. in Organization Development and Analysis and the Certificate in Developing Leadership through Emotional Intelligence, Case Western Reserve University
Melissa Zullo, Ph.D., MPH
Ph.D., Epidemiology, Case Western Reserve University, 2009
MPH, Kent State University/Northeastern Ohio University College of Medicine, 2003
MA, Exercise Physiology, Kent State University, 1998
BA, Psychology, Kent State University, 1994
BA, Sociology, Kent State University, 1994
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