Faculty profile: Meet Eduardo Gómez


Ed Gómez was born and raised about five miles from the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, the world’s largest administrative defense facility and one of the most recognizable government buildings on earth.

Gómez is associate professor and director of the Institute of Health Policy & Politics at the College of Health, where his interests and research into the intertwining relationship between population health and governmental policies can help shape future Lehigh University generations of public health advocates, professionals and leaders.

With a Ph.D. in political science from Brown University, and studies including international affairs, government and foreign affairs, Gómez can approach and explore the deeper causes of policy and public health issues and outcomes and share what he knows with others.

Among the newer faculty members at Lehigh, we asked Gómez to tell us a bit about himself, his research and his interests, along with what he’s discovered so far about living in the Lehigh Valley.

Q: What was your last teaching position before Lehigh University?

Gómez: I was at King’s College London, United Kingdom, from 2013 to 2020.

Q: Where did you study and earn your degrees?

Gómez: I received a BA from the University of Virginia, an MA from the University of Chicago and my Ph.D. from Brown University. All of my degrees are in political science.

Q: What is your specific area of interest?

Gómez: My area of research focuses on the politics of global health policy, with a focus on rising middle-income countries. Specifically, I examine how, when and why governments respond to a variety of diseases – from HIV/AIDS to diabetes and obesity. I also investigate the commercial determinants of health, for example, the rise and influence of soda and ultra-processed food industries and how they contribute to these diseases.

Q: Are there any new research topics or areas you’d like to explore?

Gómez: I’m continuing to explore the various aspects of the commercial determinants of health. Of recent interest is investigating how climate change benefits the junk food industry and what the need is to tackle both climate and corporate conflict of interest over policy. According to the World Health Organization website, commercial determinants of health is defined as “…private sector activities impacting public health, either positively or negatively, and the enabling political economic systems and norms” that result from these interactions.

Q: What brought you to Lehigh?

Gómez: Several reasons. First, I always knew about Lehigh’s excellent reputation as a serious research university with a commitment to teaching. Second, I am thrilled to be part of a new endeavor, the College of Health. I look forward to working with colleagues and students to create a college that takes an interdisciplinary approach to research and teaching. Finally, the campus is beautiful, as is the Lehigh Valley!

Q: What’s your personal vision and approach to your research and methods – how has this served you or is it a result of changing and adapting along the way? 

Gómez: I’ve always been a political historian at heart. I love to investigate the origins of political institutions (international and domestic) and how they adapt to changing environments. My research method has always been focused on qualitative comparative case study methodology. This approach has provided a refreshing – and much-needed way - to understand the politics of global health policymaking.

Q: What classes did you teach in the spring? What is on your fall roster?

Gómez: I teach the Commercial Determinants of Health in the spring. In the fall, I teach the History of Population Health and Global Population Health.

Q: How has the Greater Lehigh Valley surprised you?

Gómez: The beautiful mountains and nature trails!

Q: Any hobbies

Gómez: Brazilian jiu-jitsu is my hobby. I’ve studied it for many years and I used to teach it at my previous academic institution.

Q: Cats or dogs?

Gómez: Unfortunately, no…but someday I hope!