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Nexus for Health Research and Innovation

The Lehigh University College of Health is shaping the future of health and healthcare through its innovative approach to teaching and research In population health; health innovation and technology; and precision health. We invite you to learn more about our College, including information about our curriculum, research focus, community engagement, industry partnerships and more.

Our Mission

The mission of the College of Health at Lehigh University is to understand, preserve and improve the health and well-being of populations, communities, and individuals through excellence and innovation in education, research, and service. Through the lens of social justice, the College cultivates highly skilled and diverse scientists and leaders in health through novel and interdisciplinary course work, experiential learning, and integrated career development.

Learn about the vision of the College of Health >>

What is Population Health?

Population health, a part of the larger field of public health, is the science of understanding the multiple determinants of health, from cell to society. It is a data science that provides critical insights that stand to make an impact on millions of lives. Population health scientists leverage data to define opportunities for interventions to improve the health of populations. These interventions can range from health innovation and technology for improved health care to community health programs to health policy—all to optimize health outcomes.

The population health pyramid depicts the connections among all of the factors that impact health and well-being, on both the micro- and macro-scale: everything from water and air quality to race and ethnicity, genetic makeup to economic conditions and policy decisions.

The Population Health Pyramid

These are the layers of the population health pyramid:

  • Individual Factors
  • Societal Factors
  • Outcomes

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1. Individual Factors

Both our unique genetic makeup and the decisions we make about how we live play a major role in shaping our health. These choices run the gamut from how often we exercise to how healthfully we eat to our overall habits.

2. Environmental Factors

The communities we live in also play a significant role in shaping our health and the arc of our life experience. Different populations have different levels of access to clean air or clean water, healthy food, safe modes of transportation and countless other variants.

3. Health Disparities

Populations can be defined by gender, ethnicity, race, age, socioeconomic status and other factors, with certain groups facing their own unique health challenges.

Certain health outcomes, either positive or negative, are seen more often in certain populations than others.

4. Upstream Forces

There are numerous complex, broad-based forces that shape the health of individuals, populations and communities. These forces include political and economic forces, cultural, spiritual and social norms, and technological advances, among many others.

Seeking Answers Through Data

Population health scientists leverage data to unlock critical insights into all of the factors that shape health, and seek to develop interventions that can improve the lives of millions.

Innovative Interventions

Population health interventions can be implemented anywhere on the population health pyramid, and can have substantial impact on the health of individuals, families, communities and entire populations.

The Population Health Pyramid

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These are the layers of the population health pyramid:

  • Individual Factors
  • Societal Factors
  • Outcomes

Keep scrolling to learn more.

Determinants of Health

1. Individual Factors

Both our unique genetic makeup and the decisions we make about how we live play a major role in shaping our health. These choices run the gamut from how often we exercise to how healthfully we eat to our overall habits.

Determinants of Health

2. Environmental Factors

The communities we live in also play a significant role in shaping our health and the arc of our life experience. Different populations have different levels of access to clean air or clean water, healthy food, safe modes of transportation and countless other variants.

Determinants of Health

3. Health Disparities

Populations can be defined by gender, ethnicity, race, age, socioeconomic status and other factors, with certain groups facing their own unique health challenges.

Certain health outcomes, either positive or negative, are seen more often in certain populations than others.

Determinants of Health

4. Upstream Forces

There are numerous complex, broad-based forces that shape the health of individuals, populations and communities. These forces include political and economic forces, cultural, spiritual and social norms, and technological advances, among many others.

Seeking Answers Through Data

Population health scientists leverage data to unlock critical insights into all of the factors that shape health, and seek to develop interventions that can improve the lives of millions.

Innovative Interventions

Population health interventions can be implemented anywhere on the population health pyramid, and can have substantial impact on the health of individuals, families, communities and entire populations.

Key Dates

  • 2019

    Founding Dean’s Appointment
    First faculty hired

  • 2020

    First class of undergraduate students enrolls
    Ellen and Vincent Forlenza ’75 Chair in Health Innovation and Technology Endowed Fund established

  • 2021

    Health | Science | Technology Building Opens

  • 2022

    Graduate programs launch

  • 2025

    60+ faculty and 900 students