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Social Medicine

Making a local and global impact

The Department of Social Medicine is an interdisciplinary department comprised of social scientists, humanities scholars and physicians. We study the dynamic interplay of people, culture, the environment and their impact on health care delivery and health outcomes. Our teaching, research and service inform medical students, health professionals and the public about factors affecting clinical decision making, the social responsibilities of health care providers, the social determinants of health and illness, and health policy and politics.


Chair, Joe Bianco


Phone: 740.593.2130


Administrative Specialist, Cassie Tritipo 


Phone: 740.593.4694

Our Expertise

Our department has active research and teaching expertise in the following areas:

  • Biostatistics
  • Clinical prevention and population health 
  • Cultural competence and health care
  • Epidemiology of diabetes and cardiovascular disease
  • Evidence-based medicine
  • Gerontology and geriatrics
  • Global warming, climate change and health
  • Health in Appalachia
  • Health policy
  • International health and medicine
  • Maternal and child health
  • Medical decision making
  • Medical ethics
  • Reproductive health
  • Stress, nutrition and aging
  • Sustainability and urban environments

Our Disciplines

Our faculty's disciplines include:

  • Biological anthropology
  • Biostatistics
  • Epidemiology
  • Experimental psychology
  • Family studies
  • Health psychology
  • History of medicine
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Pediatrics
  • Social psychology

Global Health Initiative

Person on speaking about the Global Health initiative

Students, faculty and staff experience impactful research, education and outreach activities abroad and in immigrant communities in the U.S. to truly understand global health issues and increase multicultural awareness.

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Our Faculty

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Discover the diverse research topics and current projects conducted by our faculty.

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Social Medicine

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From our mission to teaching topics to employment opportunities, you’ll find it all here.

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Tuesday, December 5 Student National Medical Association - Jeopardy with SNMA! 12:30 PM — 1:30 AM HCOM Cleveland Campus

Tuesday, December 5 Student American Academy of Osteopathy - SAAO Mock OMM Practical 5:00 PM — 7:00 PM Heritage Hall

Tuesday, December 5 Oncology & Addiction Medicine Club - Dr. Calabrese Speaker 6:00 PM — 7:00 PM

  • Ohio Osteopathic Symposium brings physicians together

    The Ohio Osteopathic Symposium had another successful year as osteopathic physicians from across the state gathered in Columbus April 20 – 23 to learn more about critical issues in medicine, participate in continuing medical education activities and showcase the latest research developments.

  • Outstanding Class of 2023 students recognized at awards ceremony

    A crowded house at Temple-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium cheered on the achievements of the Class of 2023 during the Commencement Awards Ceremony. Students were recognized for leadership, research and more.

  • Heritage Hall wins design award

    The Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine’s newest medical education facility, Heritage Hall, was recently recognized with an Outstanding Project Award in the Spring 2023 issue of Learning by Design magazine. 

  • Faculty Spotlight: Shaohua Wang, Ph.D.

    Dr. Shaohua Wang, assistant professor of medical microbiology, is a relative newcomer to the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, joining the college seven months ago. We took some time to sit down with her and discuss her research, her time at the Heritage College and what initially drew her to microbial studies.

  • What to expect when you're at a medical school obstetrics lab

    At twenty-four weeks pregnant, I participated in the Osteopathic Manipulation Therapy Lab with Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine students. The second-year medical students eagerly waited in the large lab room filled with dozens of medical tables, while the other participants and I waited in the third-floor hallway of the new and impressive Heritage Hall.

  • Faculty Spotlight: Caroline Mueller, Ph.D.

    Now in her second year at the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Caroline Mueller, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of medical anatomy based on the Dublin campus. We sat down with her to learn more about her role at the college, research and what brought her here.


  • National Rural Health Day focuses on driving change

    For National Rural Health Day on Nov. 17, Kasey Roush, OMS IV, took first-year student Suzanne Chaar on a drive to one of her favorite spots in the Athens area.

  • Alumni Spotlight: Kate Spencer, serving the people of Appalachia

    Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine graduate Kate Spencer, D.O. ('22), grew up in rural Glouster, Ohio and is now doing her residency at O'Bleness Hospital in Athens. For National Rural Health Day, we talked with her to learn more about why practicing medicine in a rural area is exactly where she wants to be.

  • Student Spotlight: Kasey Roush, caring for neighbors and friends

    Third-year medical student Kasey Roush grew up in Meigs County and plans to practice medicine in a rural community when she graduates. For National Rural Health Day, we spoke with her to learn more about her experience with the Rural and Urban Scholars Pathways program and why she returned to her roots.

  • Student Spotlight: Meghan Trout, a physician and ally

    In conjunction with National Rural Health Day on Nov. 17, we spoke with second-year student Meghan Trout, who has lived in a rural community and plans to work with underserved populations when she becomes a physician. She and two other students participated in a social media takeover to mark National Rural Health Day.

  • A Mission to Serve: Nicolas Suglio’s Journey to the Heritage College

    The Heritage College sat down with Nicolas Suglio, OMS-I, to talk about his path to medical school, including his time serving in the Air National Guard.

  • Research spotlight: Allyson Hughes, Ph.D.

    Allyson Hughes, Ph.D., whose research focuses on health policy related to the intersection of diabetes and disabilities, was part of a recent cluster hire. In this research spotlight, learn why she finds research rewarding.

  • Research spotlight: Graciela Muniz-Terrera, Ph.D.

    In this research spotlight, learn more about Professor of Social Medicine Graciela Muniz-Terrera, Ph.D., whose research focuses on aging and brain health, including dementia.

  • Immersion event connects incoming RUSP students with community

    In August, 40 new RUSP students visited rural and underserved communities in Columbus and Glouster to learn about social determinants of health and the assets that exist in these communities.

  • From the Farm to Pharm: Jaret Shook, OMS-I's Path to HCOM

    Jaret Shook, OMS-I, details his experience as a farmhand, a pharmacist and what brought him to the Heritage College.

  • Research spotlight: Ángela Gutiérrez, Ph.D., M.P.H.

    Improving health outcomes and quality of life among racial and ethnic minoritized populations are the main focus of Assistant Professor of Social Medicine Ángela Gutiérrez's research. Learn more about why she finds her work rewarding.

  • Graduate connects with rural patients

    Nathan P. Samsa grew up in a rural area and began his career as a pharmacist before earning his osteopathic medical degree. He returned to his roots and is providing personalized medicine to his rural patients.

  • Summer Session of Aspiring D.O.ctors Program Launches

    For the first time a summer session of the Aspiring D.O.ctors Program was held on the Heritage College's Cleveland campus. Second-year medical students planned the four-day program.

  • Research spotlight: Sarah E. Rubin, PhD, and Joselyn Hines, OMS III

    A team of researchers, including Associate Professor of Instruction Sarah Rubin, Ph.D., and Joselyn Hines, OMS III, followed 17 pregnant mothers throughout their pregnancy to learn more about Black motherhood and structural racism.

  • Student spotlight: Ariana Cucci, OMS IV, and Kristina Green, OMS IV

    Medical school provides a unique opportunity to grow your passion in life and support your community at the same time. Two Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine students have taken this approach to medical school and created a community outreach organization that combines their excitement for holistic health with their personal pursuit of wellness.