The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) and the College of Health and Human Services (HHS) at Northern Arizona University are starting an Interdisciplinary Health (IH) Ph.D. program, with classes beginning in fall 2018. This cross-disciplinary collaborative program is designed to educate and train the next generation of health researchers, advocates and educators with emphasis on health equity, disability and psychosocial health.

Students will work with faculty on important theoretical and practical issues related to population health, health care and well-being. Graduates will be uniquely qualified to lead interdisciplinary research that yields new insights about health.

“The benefits of this program are that it combines faculty from multiple disciplines, whose goal is to improve health outcomes in our three areas of focus: psychosocial health, health equity and disabilities,” HHS Dean Lynda Ransdell said. “The factors that set us apart from other programs are the quality of our faculty—many of whom have significant research funding—the level of research in which students will participate and the opportunity to have a meaningful impact on the lives of others through research and practice.”

SBS Dean Karen Pugliesi said this program has been in the works for three years, with faculty members from both colleges contributing to its creation. It’s needed, she said, because scientific research is increasingly interdisciplinary and practitioners need to have an understanding far beyond one field of study. It also will open up collaborative research opportunities among faculty members of the two colleges.

“This program will prepare students to contribute at the highest levels to the cutting edge of interdisciplinary research or as leaders in public health, health care administration and other areas,” she said. “NAU has a distinctive combination of faculty and research programs that will enable students to pursue innovative research that will advance knowledge, practice and policy.”

Disciplines within the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences include anthropology, applied indigenous studies, criminology and criminal justice, Family Violence Institute, geography/planning and recreation, Institute for Human Development, politics and international affairs, psychological sciences, sociology and social work as well as others. Disciplines within the College of Health and Human Services include communication sciences and disorders, dental hygiene, health sciences, nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy/athletic training and physician assistant studies.

The first cohort of students will be admitted for Fall 2018. Find out more about the IH Ph.D. program online.