HHD faculty accepted into SHC Distinguished Honors Faculty Program

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Rhonda BeLue, associate professor of health policy and administration (HPA) and Lori Francis, associate professor of biobehavioral health (BBH) have been accepted into the Schreyer Honors College Distinguished Honors Faculty Program (DHFP) for the 2014-15 academic year.

BeLue and Francis’ research focuses on racial, ethnic, income and geographic disparities in adult and child health and chronic disease management. Their work includes studies on obesity and cardiometabolic outcomes, particularly within the family context.

The DHFP of the Schreyer Honors College provides an opportunity for Distinguished Honors Faculty and Schreyer Scholars to participate in innovative, interactive programs. Over dinner table conversations, during field trips, and in small-group discussions on timely topics, distinguished faculty and students share experiences and perspectives that may venture beyond the labels and definition of an academic major or course. Since its start in 2011, the program has reached more than 1,500 Schreyer Scholars.

“The Distinguished Honors Faculty Program is popular both with our scholars and faculty who participate because they interact in ways that makes learning truly inspiring and fun,” said Nichola Gutgold, associate dean for academic affairs of the Schreyer Honors College. “Often, scholars will choose programs divergent from their majors, thus opening themselves up to new ideas, subjects and ways of knowing about the world.  This is one of the ways the honors college makes a large university small.”

BeLue received her bachelor of science degree in biology in 1994 from the University of New Mexico, her master of science degree in statistics in 1999 from Cornell University, and her doctorate in policy analysis and management in 2001 from Cornell University. Her teaching interests include epidemiology, program evaluation and community-based research. Her research interests include health disparities in families in the U.S. and global settings, and systems science approaches to understanding the interrelations among risk factors related to chronic health conditions.

Francis received her bachelor of science degree in preventive medicine in 1997 from the State University of New York at Buffalo, her master of science degree in human development and family studies in 2000 from Penn State, and her doctorate in human development and family studies in 2003, also from Penn State. Her teaching interests include cultural health psychology; ecological and family systems theory in behavior modification; and developmental approaches to disease prevention in children and adolescents. Her research interests include sociocultural factors influencing the development of obesity in low-income and minority children, including family environment, neighborhood characteristics and socioeconomic status; family-based interventions to reduce and prevent obesity and related morbidities in children; and understanding biobehavioral, family environmental and cultural factors that influence self-regulation of energy intake and body weight in young children.

Distinguished Honors Faculty members in DHFP can host up to three events each semester. Examples of events include an American Indian Facts Dinner, Fireside Chat, The Science and Ethics of Knowing Your Complete Genetic Information, and a tour of Hershey’s Chocolates’ distribution center and dinner with business professionals.

To qualify, faculty members submit proposals outlining programs to be offered should they be selected for the program. Typically, faculty are selected to participate in the program for two consecutive academic years. Thirteen faculty have been selected for the 2014-15 academic year.

For more information about the DHFP of the Schreyer Honors College, visit www.shc.psu.edu/academic/courses/dhfp.cfm

Last Updated July 31, 2014