Health is a dynamic interdisciplinary focus for a liberal arts education because health is a universal human good and a major contemporary challenge to humanity. Emory College offers a unique program leading to a bachelor of arts (BA) degree in Human Health. This major allows students to study health in an integrated, interdisciplinary model with a focus on the human experience of health, drawing on faculty and resources from the College and University, including schools of medicine, nursing, theology, law and public health.

This course of study provides a liberal arts-based curricular structure for students to learn more about -- and engage -- the complex scientific and social problems involved in health and well-being. Graduates of this program will find themselves prepared for a broad range of opportunities, including professional or graduate schools, and careers in health policy, global health, health research, pastoral care, among others.

Students will develop competencies in the following areas: 

  • The importance of the humanities in both expressing and experiencing human health
  • Diverse methodologies in health research and implementation
  • The basic biological mechanisms underlying health
  • The role of cultural factors related to health
  • The historical context of illness and health
  • Social determinants of health and health disparities
  • Environmental influences on human health
  • Ethical issues in health 

Senior majors will produce a final project that will be presented to a faculty committee in the senior year. This project can range from a research paper to a video presentation or other artistic product. The project and its presentation must demonstrate that the student has mastered the competencies listed above, and include a problem-solving approach (from description to exploration of mechanisms) that leads to action steps. An interdisciplinary group of faculty who teach in the major will comprise this committee. Outstanding students are invited to participate in the Human Health Honors Program for the last 2 semesters before graduation. For more information on the Honors Program, contact Agnes Mackintosh at


Michelle Lampl, PhD, MD, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of anthropology, Director of the Center for the Study of Human Health. Her research focus is human growth and development with expertise in mechanisms of growth and origins of health.


Howard Kushner, PhD, Emeritus Professor, is a scholar of the history of medicine and a research scientist interested in learning disabilities and brain laterality, with expertise in Tourette's Syndrome and Kawasaki disease.


Amanda Freeman, PhD is Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies in Human Health. Her research focuses on biological mechanisms underlying sleep.

Sari Altschuler, PhDAssistant Professor of English, and Human Health is an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Humanistic Inquiry. She teaches and works at the intersection of health and the humanities, specializing in literature and medicine, disability studies, and medical history.

Jennifer Sarrett, PhD, Lecturer Center for the Study of Human Health, studies intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) as they relate to culture, disability rights and ethics, with an expertise in the role of culture in the identification, understanding, and treatment of autistic children. 

Cassandra Quave, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Dermatology, Emory School of Medicine & Center for the Study of Human Health, is an ethnobotanist who works on medicinal uses of plants and drug discovery innovation.


Geshe Lobsang Tenzin, PhD, professor of practice in religion, director of the Emory-Tibet partnership,and co-director of the Emory Collaborative of Contemplative Studies, is focused on the potential of mind to affect well-being on physical, emotional and mental levels.


Peter Brown, PhD, professor of anthropology, is a medical anthropologist interested in culture and medicine. He is an inspirational teacher, a senior fellow of the Global Health Institute with research interests focused on malaria.


Corey Keyes, PhD, professor of sociology, is known for his work on “flourishing”  and distinguishing that causes of mental health are distinct processes from  causes of mental illness. Identifying a better understanding of human resilience can inform predictive health care,


Mel Konner, MD, PhD, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of anthropology is a prolific writer known for his scholarship on issues ranging from child development and healthcare to the history of the Jews.


Paul Lennard, PhD,, Director of the Neurobiology and Behavior Program, has developed classes on music and the brain and the MD Summer Experience at Emory, a vigorous look at current issues and practices in clinical neurology.


Mark Risjord, PhD, professor of philosophy and associate professor of nursing, is currently investigating the ways in which moral and political values become part of scientific judgement, as well as the philosophy of nursing, which also leads to implications for the practicalities of nursing.


Ellen Idler, PhD, Samuel Candler Dobbs professor of sociology and Director, Religion & Public Health Collaborative is a social epidemiologist who studies individual and population aging and the life course.


Sara Markowitz, PhD  is professor of Economics and Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Markowitz's research interests are on the economics of healthy and unhealthy behaviors, with an emphasis on the health of children and adolescentsassociate professor of economics is interested in the economics of healthy and unhealthy behaviors, with an emphasis on the health of children and adolescents. 


Thomas Gillespie, PhD, associate professor of environmental sciences, pursues an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to the ecology and emergence of pathogens with active research projects in Africa and Latin America.



Dalia Judovitz, PhD,, National Endowment for the Humanities Professor of French, is a scholar of the cultural construction and transformation of the body in French philosophical, literary and visual traditions from the late Renaissance to the twentieth century.


Chikako Ozawa-de Silva, PhD, associate professor of anthropology, studies cross-cultural understandings of health and illness, with a focus on Japanese and Tibetan perspectives.


Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, PhD, , professor of English, is well known for her activities devoted to developing the field of disability studies in the humanities and women's studies and is co-Director of the Emory Disability Studies Initiative..


Laura Otis, PhD., professor of English, is particularly interested in memory, identity formation, and communication technologies.


Gonzalo Vazquez-Prokopec, PhD, studies the ecology of infectious disease, urban ecology and global health, with projects in Atlanta, Australia, Peru, Tanzania and Argentina.


Judy Raggi-Moore, PhD, Professor of Pedagogy in French and Itallian Studies, directs the summer abroad program, Medicine and Compassion, taught in Italy in collaboration with faculty from the Emory School of Medicine.


Uriel Kitron, PhD, professor of environmental studies, works on eco-epidemiology of infectious diseases, with an emphasis on tropical and emerging diseases and environmental risk factors, with active projects in Kenya, Argentina, Peru, Australia and tracing West Nile virus in the US.


Susan Tamasi, PhD, professor of pedagogy in linguistics, is a sociolinguist with a specialty in health communication.


Benjamin Reiss, PhD, professor of Engllsh works on the history of medicine, race, disability and popular culture.


Carol Worthman, PhD, Samuel Candler Dobbs professor of anthropology, works on biocultural aspects of human health including reproductive and behavioral ecology and global mental health.


Sander Gilman,  PhD, distinguished professor of the liberal arts and sciences, is a culture and literary historian reknowned for his prolific work in the history of medicine.





Robyn Fivush, PhD, Samuel Candler Dobbs professor of psychology, is interested in early memory and the relations among memory, narrative, identity, trauma, and coping.



Tracy Scott, PhD,, senior lecturer of sociology, studies health care organizations and organizational culture in the hospital.


Craig Hadley, PhD, associate professor of anthropology, studies  how uncertain and unpredictable household environments influence physical and mental wellbeing across the life course and across generations.


Abilgail Sewell, PhD is assistant professor of sociology. Her work focuses on the political economy of racial health disparities, the social construction of racial health care disparities, and quantitative approaches for studying racial inequality and structural racism. 



Kathryn Yount, PhD, Asa Griggs Candler Chair of Global Health and Professor of Sociology. A social and family demographer she studies women's and children's health.



Claire Nouvet, PhD,, associate professor of French and director of the Psychoanalytic Studies Program, works on the notion of affect in philosophy, psychoanalysis and literature.

Gary Laderman, PhD,, professor of religion, has written widely on the place of religion and ritual in health and healing, death and dying.


Deepika Bahri, PhD, associate professor of English, focuses on postcolonial literature, culture, and theory.and has an interest in HIV/AIDS in developing countries.


Elizabeth Wilson, PhD, professor of women's gender and sexuality studies, is presently engaged in a feminist analysis of biomedical theories of depression.


Deboleena Roy, PhD, associate professor of women's gender and sexuality studies and neurobiology and behavior, focuses on feminist science and technology, and reproductive health and justice movements.


Cory Labrecque, PhD, Raymond F. Schinazi Junior Scholar in Bioethics and Religious Thought at the Center for Ethics, has interests at the intersection of religion, medicine, biotechnology, environment, and ethics; and the impact of emerging/transformative technologies.

Barbara Patterson, PhD, Professor of Pedagogy in religion, focuses on contemplative practices and pedagogies related to health and well-being.


Joyce Flueckiger, PhD, professor of religion, specializes in performance studies and anthropology of religion and analyzes religious and gender identities and boundaries in a healing practice of female Muslim folk healers in India.


Arri Eisen, PhD, Professor of Pedagogy, department of biology, works to promote a better understanding of the impact of science on society.


Jon E. Zibbell, PhD, is a health scientist in the Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He is a medical anthropologist whose work focuses on illicit drug use, addiction, accidental overdose and infectious disease.


George Luber, PhD , Associate Director for Climate Change in the Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects at the National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. His expertise is climate change, biodiversity loss and heat stress in urban environments.