After expressing gratitude for the warm welcome she’s received from the Lehigh community, Witt shared her vision for the College of Health, which will be the second in the United States to offer an undergraduate degree in population health sciences.
“The stakes are high,” said Witt of the current state of health and health care, and the context into which the College of Health will be built. “We’re facing significant health and health care challenges both here in the United States and around the world.”
The development of the College, she said, is informed by three factors: an increasing awareness of the non-clinical factors related to health outcomes; the availability of a growing abundance of data on the factors that produce health; and a push to enhance workforce development for biomedical data science.
“This is where population health comes in, where we can examine a wider range of factors that are related to health, from cell to society,” Witt said. “And population health science is really dedicated to advancing our understanding of these multiple determinants and their interactions and how they affect outcomes over one’s life course and even over generations. We need a new generation of students to be educated about these multiple determinants of health, data analytics and the translation of research into practice.”
The mission of Lehigh’s College of Health, Witt explained, will be “to understand, preserve and improve the health and well-being of populations and communities through excellence, innovation, research, education and service. My priorities and goals for the College of Health align with this mission and the university’s mission of truly interdisciplinary research and service.”