Department of Health Studies

Department of Health Studies

The Department of Health Studies is a vibrant and growing department that equips students with theoretical and empirical frameworks for understanding the social, cultural, environmental, biological, psychological, ethical, economic, legal, and policy contexts that shape individual and population health. Department alumni work in medicine and other clinical professions, public heath, healthcare policy and management, and many other health-related fields.

Major & MinorCourses
Fauci with students and Rick Mayes

Health Studies Students and Faculty attend Richmond Forum

Several students and professors from UR’s Department of Health Studies attended the Richmond Forum presentation by Dr. Anthony Fauci in March 2024. Fauci, the former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), spoke about his desire from a young age to serve the greater good; his infectious disease research; and his decades-long career in government service.

The students were thrilled to be able to spend an evening with one of the most recognizable figures in public health. Matthew Karen ’24 was pleased that Fauci’s speech “affirmed the knowledge and values [he’d] gained from Health Studies courses.” Ella Karcewski ’26 appreciated Fauci’s emphasis on inequalities in health care both within the U.S. and internationally, explaining that “people are suffering disproportionately, and that is a dominant public health issue we need to address as future leaders in public health.” Ariana Sosa ’24 was encouraged by the audience’s expressions of support for public health action.

In addition to meeting Fauci, the students enjoyed sharing this experience with their professors. Evan Wolff ’24 thought this was a wonderful opportunity to take learning beyond the classroom and engage in powerful discussion after listening to a leader in the field noting that his favorite part of the evening was “debriefing after the talk with my professors and gaining new context for Dr. Fauci’s talking points.”

photo of Dr. Kathryn Jacobsen

Jacobsen Wins National Teaching Award 

Dr. Kathryn H. Jacobsen, a professor in the Health Studies department and holder of the William E. Cooper Distinguished University Chair, received the 2023 Velji Global Health Award for Teaching Excellence from the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH).   

This award honors an outstanding educator whose teaching and mentorship has had a significant impact on improving the lives of people living in areas where access to health care is lacking. Jacobsen is a global health epidemiologist who has authored two widely used textbooks as well as more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific articles, many written with student coauthors.  

“Kathryn welcomes the opportunity to mentor Richmond student researchers and is a wonderful example of the mentorship opportunities forged on our campus,” said Dr. Jenny Cavenaugh, dean of the UR School of Arts & Sciences. “She is a leading expert in her field, and she is training her students to positively influence global health issues.” 


Dr. Courtney Blondino
Blondino Published

Courtney Blondino, assistant professor of health studies, published "The use and potential impact of digital health tools at the community level: results from a multi-country survey of community health workers" in BMC Public Health.

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Dr. Kathryn H. Jacobsen
Jacobsen and Undergraduate Student Published

Kathryn Jacobsen, William E. Cooper Distinguished University Chair and professor of health studies, along with undergraduate student Katie Marchione, '25, published “Planetary Health Education in the United States: Four Curricular Models, One Goal” in International Journal of Environmental Health Research.

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Dr. Margaret Tait
Tait Published

Margaret Tait, assistant professor of health studies, published "Federal Student Loan Debt in Public Health and the Opportunities for Loan Repayment Programs" in Public Health Reports.

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Dr. B. Rick Mayes
Mayes Presented

Rick Mayes, professor of health policy, delivered the opening keynote presentation for the Virginia Association of Free & Charitable Clinics 2023 Annual Conference. He also presented healthcare policy research talks for the 2023 Annual Scientific Meeting of the Virginia Dermatological Society and the January 2024 General Meeting of the Albemarle Medical Society.

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Contact Us

Mailing address:
Department of Health Studies
Richmond Hall, Suite G21
114 UR Drive
Richmond, VA 23173

Phone: (804) 662-3034

Department Chair:  Dr. Kathryn Jacobsen

Academic Administrative Coordinator: Stephanie Fillman