Search within:

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, Nagesh Rao 


Phone: 740.593.2409


Associate 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.

Learn More

Our Faculty

Woman smiling

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

Learn More

Social Medicine

Students looking up resources

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

Learn More

Monday, December 5 Athens Primary Care Clinic 8:30 AM — 3:30 PM Heritage Community Clinic Grosvenor Hall West Ohio University

Tuesday, December 6 Clinical Anatomy and Pathology Club - Board Facts/Preparation 12:00 PM — 1:00 PM HCOM Cleveland Campus

Tuesday, December 6 Student American Academy of Osteopathy - SAAO Mock Practical 1:00 PM — 3:00 PM HCOM Cleveland Campus

  • New Translational Research Facility planned

    The Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine will start work on a new facility on the Athens campus dedicated to translational research.
    Read More
  • Study: Disrupting growth hormone receptor gene in adipose tissue increases lifespan in mice

    A study of mice led by Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and Edison Biotechnology Institute researchers has shown that stopping the activity of growth hormone (GH) in fat cells can improve health and increase lifespan.
    Read More
  • Board approves creation of two new centers within OMNI

    The Ohio University Board of Trustees approved the creation of two new centers, the Injury and Pain Research Center and the Center for Healthy Aging, both housed within the Ohio Musculoskeletal and Neurological Institute (OMNI).
    Read More
  • Building Trust: A Spotlight on Kevin Pan

    TCC student Kevin Pan, OMS III, stepped up to the plate as a high school baseball coach before coming to the Heritage College. Now he'll be stepping across the graduation stage. 

  • Heart, Soul and Faith: A Spotlight on Alicia Rodgers

    Alicia Rodgers, OMS IV, discusses the importance of holding true to faith throughout life's challenges, and coming out of the other side a stronger person, student and doctor.

  • ‘A Gift to Serve’: Spotlight on Brandon Foreman

    Some students have one moment that led them to a career in medicine. Not Brandon Foreman, OMS III. He had a multitude of moments.

  • Family Matters: A Spotlight on Emily Cronin, OMS III

    Emily Cronin discusses the impact that family medicine has had on her life and the path of her medical career.

  • From a Little Healer to a Commencement Speaker: Spotlight on Andrew Williams

    Andrew Williams, OMS-IV, discusses his childhood, his upcoming role as HCOM Class of 2022 commencement speaker, and the special connection with his grandmother that led him to the career he is about to step into.

  • From Impersonating Doctors, to medical school graduates: Spotlight on Nicole Siliko and Ana Aguilar

    The student creators and hosts of the podcast "Impersonating Doctors," fourth year students Nicole Siliko and Ana Aguilar, discuss the inspiration for the series, their favorite topics to talk about and their academic beginnings.

  • Students pitch in on first Public Day of Service

    On April 16, the Heritage College's first annual Public Service Day was held. The event was hosted by the SGA Student Directors of Community Outreach, who share more details about the many volunteer activities that took place on each campus.

  • Leadership and Empowerment: Spotlight on Kiara Patton

    Since she was a young child, Kiara Patton wanted to become a doctor. As she pursued her dream, she didn't think about becoming a leader. But that's just what she has done, working within and outside the college to promote resiliency and empowerment.

  • Healing with a Purpose: Spotlight on Keshee’ Harris

    Keshee' Harris took a nontraditional path to medical school, and along the way she became acutely aware of the disparities in the medical field. Now, she has advice for those who may not have the confidence to pursue their dream of becoming a physician.

  • Student organization creates anti-racism video series

    Members of the Heritage College chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society have created a video series as part of an anti-racism campaign. Two student leaders share more about the project. 

  • Happy (Black) Independence Day

    Ryan Clopton-Zymler, assistant director of our Office of Inclusion at the Heritage College, Cleveland, shares information about Juneteenth, including the importance of the day and ideas for celebrating it.


    Systemic racism and police brutality against Black people have always been public health issues. The Heritage College continues to stand against racism and commits to creating an anti-racist culture. Read a statement from Chief Inclusion Officer Tanisha King-Taylor, Ph.D.  

  • Faculty connect form to function in field, lab … and Heritage College classes

    Much media attention earned by the Heritage College comes from faculty discoveries relating to the anatomy of a range of vertebrate animals. What does this have to do with the mission of an osteopathic medical school? More than you might imagine.

  • Why diversity and inclusion are more important than ever

    With so many workplaces and classrooms going online during the coronavirus crisis, it's a good time to review some guidelines that can help ensure an engaging and inclusive culture remotely.

  • Heritage College faculty take to the podcasting airwaves

    Podcasting is filling up more and more of the world’s listening bandwidth, with shows discussing every conceivable topic. Alert to this trend, some Heritage College faculty members are using podcasts to enlighten listeners on important health care issues.

  • Alumna shares frontline view of pandemic

    Pon Ti Cruise, D.O., a 2019 Heritage College graduate, shares her very personal experience with COVID-19, both as a resident physician battling the pandemic and as a mom.

  • Student leader shares message with fourth-year medical students

    E. Scott Wong, Ph.D., OMS-IV, past SGA president and national representative, spoke to our fourth-year students during a videoconference with college leadership this week to discuss how clinical education will play out during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

  • Pioneering faculty member looks back on four-decade legacy

    Over more than 40 years, Harold Thompson III, D.O., has earned a place in the history of both southeast Ohio and the Heritage College as an engaged community doctor, medical educator, pioneer of diversity and mentor to many future osteopathic physicians.

  • Open Book Project focuses on narrative medicine

    Faculty and staff from throughout our medical school and the Scripps College of Communication have developed the Open Book Project, a unique program grounded in narrative medicine that’s part of a larger movement to embrace diversity, cultivate inclusion and promote affiliation.

  • Symposium helps dad understand daughter’s medical condition

    Graham Smith is neither a medical clinician nor a research scientist. But when the Heritage College hosted the third annual International Symposium on Growth Hormone and Metabolism, he attended to learn more about his daughter’s growth hormone (GH) deficiency.