Public Health Bachelor of Arts • Bachelor of Science
This is the time to enter into the public health sector — the demand for public health careers is expected to steadily grow over the next decade. This exciting field of study will introduce you to an array of fulfilling, diverse job opportunities that concentrate on human health, illnesses, disease prevention and the environment. Public health is integral to every society; it addresses the most pressing health concerns to date by going beyond traditional medical care provided by physicians and current healthcare systems. Through research, public policy and by supporting various organizations, public health graduates learn unique ways to indirectly and directly impact the well-being of a population.
Often labeled a “hot field for a global generation,” public health trains future leaders and advocates for a better tomorrow by offering a strong foundation for studying the health of human populations through education, research and practical, hands-on experience outside of the classroom. Beginning your freshman year, you’ll work directly with distinguished faculty on cutting-edge research. Additionally, Mercyhurst's liberal arts approach gives you an advantage — by combining the public health program with 15 other fields of study, you can create a unique, multidisciplinary undergraduate education that can lead you to a career that better fits your interests.
Associate Professor and Chair of Public Health at Mercyhurst University. Dr. Torres has 18 years of experience teaching nationally and internationally, both undergraduate and graduate students (Argentina, Ohio, New Hampshire and Minnesota) in various interdisciplinary programs including Public Health. Fourteen of those years were spent teaching in the Liberal Arts context, which emphasizes lifelong learning, service and social justice. She specializes in Health Communication, Community Health Promotion and Health Disparities using CBPAR (Community Based Participatory Action Research). In the past 9 years, Dr. Torres has been working in several community based participatory action research projects developing entertainment education media and mHealth intervention strategies to promote the health of Latino, Hmong and Somali immigrants in Minnesota.
Education: PhD. In Cross-Culture & Health Communication from Ohio University; Master’s in Public Health (Community Health Promotion & Health Disparities) University of Minnesota; MA Organizational Communication, Ohio University and BA (Journalism) Universidad Nacional de Cordoba. Fluent in English and Spanish.
Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation for Higher Education
CONICOR(Research Council of Córdoba)/Fulbright
CONACYTMexico (National Council of Science and Technology)
Ohio University, Outstanding doctoral student
Peer Reviewed Journal Articles
Mitchell, J., Torres, M.B., Asmar, L., Danh, T. & Horvath, K. (2018). Developing sustainable and impactful mobile HIV testing interventions for Spanish-speaking men who have sex with men in the United States (US): Lessons learned from informative interviews. JMIR Public Health and Surveillance in Progress. doi:10.2196/publichealth.8992
Mitchell, J.,Torres, B., Joe, J., Dahn, T., Gass, B. & Horvath, K. (2016). Formative work toward developing a
tailored HIV testing smartphone application for diverse, at risk-HIV negative men who have sex with men: A focus group study. JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 4(4), 1-11.
Rosser B.R.S., Capistrant, B. D., Torres B.,Konety, B., Merengwa, E., Mitteldorf, D., & West, W. (2016). The effects of radical prostatectomy on gay and bisexual men’s mental health, sexual identity, and relationships: Qualitative results from the Restore study. Journal of Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 31(4), 446-461.
Rosser B.R.S., Capistrant, B. D., Torres B., Konety, B., Merengwa, E., Mitteldorf, D., & West, W. (2016). The effects of radical prostatectomy on gay and bisexual men’s sexual functioning and behavior. Qualitative results from the Restore study. Journal of Sexual and Relationship Therapy,31(4), 432-445.
Capistrant B.D., Torres, B.,Merengwa, E, West W.G., Mitteldorf, D., & Rosser, B.R.S. (2016). Caregiving and Social Support for Gay and Bisexual Men with Prostate Cancer. Psycho-Oncology,25(11), 1329-1336.
Torres, M. B.& Rao, N. (2007). Disclosure and truth in physician-patient communication: An exploration of Argentina, Brazil, India and the U.S. Journal of Creative Communications, 2(3), 279-305.
Beck, C. S., Benitez, J. L., Edwards, A., Olson, A., Pai, A. & Torres, M.B.(2004). “Enacting ‘Health Communication’: The Field of Health Communication as Constructed Through Publication in Scholarly Journals.” Health Communication, 16(4), 475-492.
Torres, M. B. (2003). Gendered acculturation: A comparison of Latin American and Asian Sojourners. The Journal of Intergroup Relations, XXX (2), 64-94.
West, W.G., Rosser, B.R.S., Capistrant, B.D. Torres, B., Konety, B.R., Mitteldorf D., Ross, M.W., Talley, C. (2017) The effects of radiation therapy for prostate cancer on gay and bisexual men’s mental health, sexual functioning and behavior, sexual identity and relationships: Qualitative results from the Restore study. In J. Ussher, J. Perz, B.R.S. Rosser (Eds). Gay and Bisexual Men Living with Prostate Cancer: From Diagnosis to Recovery. New York, NY: Harrington Park Press.
Pörhölä, M., Cvancara, K., Kaal, E., Tampere, K, & Torres, M. B.(2016). Cross-cultural comparisons of bullying among university students: Perspectives from Argentina, Estonia, Finland and the United States. In H. Cowie & A. Myers (Eds.), Bullying among university students: Cross-national perspectives(pp. 169-185). London, UK: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.
Torres, M. B. (2012). Health promotion from the grass-roots: Piloting a radio soap opera
for Latinos in the US. In R. Obregon & S. Waisbord (Eds.), Handbook of global health communication, development and social change(pp. 522-538). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Manuscripts under Preparation:
Pörhölä, M., Cvancara, K., Kaal, E., Tampere, K, & Torres, M. B.(2018). Bullying in University Between Peers and by Personnel: Cultural Variation in Prevalence, Forms, and Gender Differences in Four Countries.
West, W., Torres, M.B. et al. (2018). Perceptions of patient/provider communication by gay and bisexual men being treated for prostate cancer: Restore study results.
CONFERENCE PAPERS AND PRESENTATIONS
Xiong, S., Vue, B., Vang, H., Vang, N., Culhane-Pera, K., Pergament, S., Torres, B., Desai, J., & Lee, H.Y. (2018). Barriers, Facilitators, and Decision-Making Processes about HPV Vaccination for Hmong-American Adolescents. Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) 39th Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions, New Orleans, LA. April 14 2018.
Xiong, S., Vue, B., Vang, H., Vang, N., Culhane-Pera, K., Pergament, S., Torres, B., Desai, J., & Lee, H.Y. (2018). Barriers, Facilitators, and Decision-Making Processes about HPV Vaccination for Hmong-American Adolescents. 2018 Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians Innovation & Research Forum, Minneapolis, MN. March 3rd2018.
Capistrant, B.D., Torres, B., Mitteldorf, D, & Simon, B.R.S. (2016). Social Support for Gay and Bisexual Men with Prostate Cancer. Paper presented at: Gerontological Society of America Annual Meeting; November 16-20, 2016; New Orleans.
Irbahim, S., Marschalk, S., & Torres, M.B. (2016). “Hospice Stories: Hmong, Latino and Somali Voices” presented at the Health Equity Conference, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, May 6th 2016.
Torres, M.B. (2015). “We do not talk about it: Disclosing about sexual abuse” presented at the Latino Conference “Woman to Woman: Closing Circles” Minnesota State University in Mankato, October 30thand 31st2015.
Pörhölä, M, Tampere, K, Kunttu, K., Björklund, K., Cvancara, K. & Torres, M.B. (2015). “Bullying among university students in four countries: Associations with health and well-being” presented at the XVIII Biennial European Union for School and University Health and Medicine Congress and to the Annual Estonian Health Promotion Conference. June 4-5, 2015 in Tallinn, Estonia.
Arcan, C., Torres, M.B. et al. (2013). Somali, Latino & Hmong Radio Stories About Children’s healthy eating and exercise: A SoLaHmo Pilot Study, poster presented at The Power of Partnerships: Poster Session & Awards Dinner - Nov. 20, 2013 University of Minnesota's Program in Health Disparities Research (PHDR), Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), and Center for Health Equity (CHE).
Serrano, L., Arcan, C., Culhane-Pera, K.A., Pergament, S., Adam K., Chang, X.G.S., Dhore, N., Dualeh, H., Hang, M., Ly, N., Navarrete, M., Omaar, L., Ortega, L., Rosas-Lee, M., Thao, M., Vang, C., & Torres, M.B. (2013). Somali, Latino & Hmong Radio Stories About Children’s healthy eating and exercise: A SoLaHmo Pilot Study. Poster presented at the 2013 University of Minnesota Clinical and Translational Science Institute Research Conference--Discovery Through the Lens of Innovation: Transforming TranslationalResearch--on October 1 and 2 at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
Tufte, T., Waisbord, S., Obregon, R. Fox, E., Douglas, E., Greiner, K. & Torres, M.B. (2011). “Global Health Communication, Development and Social Change” panel presented at the Health Communication Division, Annual Convention of the International Communication Association, Boston, May 26-30 2011.
Rao, N., Pant, S., Sen, R. & Torres, M.B.(2011). Storytelling, performance, discovery
and dialogue: Bringing the margins into the center of Intercultural Communication research, panel presented at the Annual Convention of the International Communication Association, Boston, May 26-30 2011.
Pant, S., Torres, M. B., Wojno, A.E., Greiner, K. & Sharma, D. (2009). Panel: “Tap your Feet, Move your Body, Perform your Story, and Organize Yourselves! : Non-traditional Approaches of Analyzing Global Health Communication Interventions. National Communication Annual Convention, Health Communication Division, in Chicago, November 2009.
Teaching and Research Interests:
Community Health Promotion (former Community Health Education)
Community based Participatory Action Research
STI prevention and Sexual Health
Chronic Illness Prevention
Social Determinants of Health
Immigrant and Refugee Health
Health Communication Campaigns
Adjunct Faculty of the Public Health at Mercyhurst University. Prior to this Jean served Director of Organization Effectiveness at Saint Vincent Hospital in Erie; Shriners Hospital for Children Director of Performance Improvement with responsibilities for Patient Safety, Patient Satisfaction, Risk Management and Regulatory. Jean’s career also includes two years of a grant funded position as system redesign coordinator at the VA Medical center including leadership of the Preventative Ethics committee and ten years at Hamot Medical Center as Director of Education and Library Services.
Jean is Board certified in healthcare management as a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE), has a black belt in Six Sigma, earned Lean Certification from the University of Kentucky School of Engineering and a Masters Certificate in Project Management from George Washington University. Jean has over thirty-five years of experience in hospital administration with a strong focus on quality improvement and culture change methodologies and safety.
Jean is currently serving as Regent for Pennsylvania and is on the Board of The American College of Health Care executives for Western Pennsylvania, the Board of Trustees for Presbyterian Homes of Lake Erie, the Past President East Erie Chapter of Kiwanis International.
Mrs. Tauber is a lifelong Erie Resident and has been married to Bob for 36 years. The have an adult son who also lives in Erie. Mrs. Tauber is semi-retired and enjoys travel.
PUBH 101 Foundations of Public Health
PUBH 285 Professionalism in Public Health
Assistant Professor of Public Health at Mercyhurst University. Over 15 years of epidemiology experience. Top skills include epidemiology and teaching public health courses at Stanford University and at Touro University. Other skills include publication of peer reviewed articles and skills in SQL, SAS, R, SUDAAN, SPSS, Excel, Microsoft Access and other data management programs. Occasional HIV/AIDS consultant at UNICEF and at the World Health Organization.
Education: Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Nutrition from Cornell University. Undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from France. Fluent in four languages, including French.
Chechi T, Siyahian S, Thairu L, Hagerman R, and Lozano R. Participation of underrepresented minority children in clinical trials for Fragile X syndrome and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Intractable & Rare Diseases Research. 2014; 4(3), 147-152.
Thairu L, Wirth M, Lunze K. “Innovative newborn health technology for resource-limited environments” Trop Med Int Health. 2013 Jan;18(1):117-28.
Wirth M, Thairu L, Lunze K. “Low-cost technologies that can save the lives of newborns: Designing promising innovations for developing countries” Global Health and Diplomacy 2012 Sept; 2(2):106-10.
Thairu L and Wirth M (2012) “Medical devices for pregnancy and childbirth in the developing world” Health and Technology journal. 2012 Aug 8
Thairu L, Katzenstein D, Israelski I (2011) “Operational Challenges in delivering CD4 diagnostics in sub-Saharan Africa” AIDS Care. 2011 Mar 10:1-8
Morton J, Hall J, Wong R, Thairu L, Benitz WE, Rhine WD (2009) “Combining Hand Techniques with Electric Pumping Increases Milk Production in Mothers of Preterm Infants” Journal of perinatology Nov;29(11):757-64.
Thairu L and Pelto GH (2008) “Newborn Care Practices in Pemba Island (Tanzania) and their Implications for Newborn Health and Survival” Maternal and Child Nutrition Journal;4(3):194-208.
Abiona TC, Onayade AA, Ijadunola KT, Obiajunwa PO, Aina OI, Thairu L (2006) “Acceptability, Feasibility and Affordability of Infant Feeding options for HIV-infected Women: A qualitative study in South-West Nigeria” Maternal and Child Nutrition Journal;2(3):135-144
Thairu L, Pelto GH, Rollins NC, Bland RM, Ntshangase N (2005) “Socio-Cultural influences on Infant Feeding Decisions Among HIV-Infected Women in South Africa” Maternal and Child Nutrition Journal;1:1-16.
Pelto G, Levitt E, Thairu L (2003) “Improving Infant Feeding Practices: Current Patterns, Common Constraints and Designs of Interventions” Food and Nutrition Bulletin of the United Nations University; 24:45-82.
Thairu L (2001) “Infant Feeding Options for Mothers with HIV—Using Women’s Views to Guide Policies” Nutrition Policy Paper, United Nations’ Sub-Committee on Nutrition; 20:63-69.
Books and Book Chapters
Thairu L “Dental Health in Pregnant Women and Children.” Frontiers in Public Health. (Forthcoming)
Thairu L “Soins et alimentation de jeunes enfants en Afrique.” Éditions Universitaires Européennes. (Forthcoming)
Pelto GH, Levitt E, Thairu L (2013) ‘Babies: Practices, Constraints and Interventions’ in ‘Nutritional Anthropology: Biocultural Perspectives on Food and Nutrition’ Dufour, DL, Goodman AH, Pelto GH, (eds.) Oxford University Press. Second Edition.
Thairu L (2011) “Maternal Care of the Newborn in Pemba Island” LAP Lambert Academic Publishing GmbH & Co. KG: Saarbrücken, Germany. ISBN-13: 978-3843363143.
Thairu L (2010) “Breastfeeding HIV/AIDS transmission in sub-Saharan Africa” in “Infant Feeding Practices: A Cross-Cultural Perspective” Liamputtong, P. (Ed.). Springer: New York.
Thairu L (2009) “Achieving Optimal Infant and Young Child Feeding Practices: Case Studies from Rwanda and Tanzania” in “Infant and Young Child Feeding: Multicultural challenges to implementing a Global Strategy” V. Moran and F. Dykes (eds.). Wiley-Blackwell Publishers.
Namey E, Guest G, Thairu L, Johnson L, (2007) “Data Reduction Techniques for Large Qualitative Data Sets” in “Handbook for Team-based Qualitative Research” G Guest and K MacQueen (eds.). Lanham, MD:AltaMira Press.
Teaching and Research Interests
Eileen Zinchiak brings 21 years of community health experience to Mercyhurst Institute for Public Health, with skills and expertise in working with groups and communities to form healthy lifestyles. Eileen’s background blends public health mission, project management, marketing, and grant writing to create innovative local programs addressing national and global health issues. Her public health campaigns are well known to residents of northwestern Pennsylvania.
Mercyhurst is home to Eileen, a graduate from the Class of 1980 with a B.A. in Liberal Arts as a Psychology major. She graduated Summa Cum Laude, first in the class, receiving the Archbishop John Mark Gannon Award for General Scholastic Excellence Award, the top academic recognition given by the College, as well as the Academic Excellence Award for the Social Sciences Department, with a 4.0 G.P.A. in her major. She was active in the College Senate, Campus Ministry, and the Egan Scholars program, earning Outstanding Egan Scholar of the Year 1979. Eileen was the first Mercyhurst student to continue graduate studies in health psychology, at the University of Miami, Florida. While there, she was awarded the U.S. Public Health Services pre-doctoral training grant for behavioral medicine research in cardiovascular disease. Eileen is also a charter member of the Mercyhurst O’Neil Society, established in 1990 for alumni giving.
At the Institute, Eileen will expand Mercyhurst’s role with regional and national experts and organizations, tapping her diverse community-based experience: wellness campaigns with adults and youth, community behavior change, worksite wellness, health care and environmental policy, nutrition advocacy, aging services, geriatric medicine, and youth technology and health care training programs.
She brings considerable expertise for large-scale population-based public health services. For 14 years, Eileen steered the region’s Influenza and Pneumonia Vaccination Campaign to vaccinate one-third of Erie County seniors annually. This public health effort received recognition by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and by the Pennsylvania Health Educators Institute, as one of Pennsylvania’s largest community-run efforts, using more than 500 volunteers. National public health officials recognized the County-wide pneumonia vaccination program as an important public health innovation in the early 1990s, as one of the first community immunization campaigns in the U.S. to increase vaccination rates when combined with offering flu shots. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation chose to videotape the local pneumonia outreach campaign for training purposes in 2005.
The Institute will tap Eileen’s experience using media and technology-based techniques for public health education. The use of TV and radio in social marketing strategies for health promotion earned national recognition of Erie and Crawford County public health campaigns, “Cut the Fat, Erie” and “Eat 5-A-Day of Fruit and Vegetables.”
Eileen’s research study to place nutrition information on menus in Erie-area restaurants in 2004 aided public health efforts only now being carried out by national restaurants. The local healthy restaurant dining project was designed with input from the Center for Science in the Public Interest and nutrition advocates. It was funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Pennsylvania Department of Health. From this work to tackle America’s growing obesity problem, the Pennsylvania Department of Health invited Eileen to assist in writing the State Obesity Prevention Plan in 2001.
She has also been a leader in community preventive health, working with the Pennsylvania Department of Aging. Eileen first piloted Pennsylvania’s falls risk assessment program with Erie County residents in 1998, then piloted the expanded falls prevention program of University of Berkeley for thousands of elders in 13 counties in northwestern Pennsylvania, in 2007. Eileen’s work received a major national award when she created a model walking, tai chi and nutrition program for older adults. It was selected as one of the top 10 most innovative physical activity programs in the country by the National Council on Aging in 2005.
Eileen has collaborated extensively with other local health and social service agencies. Her work was honored with the first Community Collaboration Award, bestowed by United Way of Erie County in 2005 for 60 partnerships created to provide preventive health services to local citizens. She will help lead the Institute using her expertise from professional leadership roles in 16 health-related organizations, and membership in numerous national, state, and local committees and task forces, plus government testimony, conference planning, grant writing, and outcomes evaluation in community health.
Eileen will be a familiar face to the public, as media spokeswoman for community health, TV host and frequent guest on TV and radio public interest shows, and health writer and frequent lecturer to workshops and civic groups.