Phone: 630-829-6297 | Send Dr. Bhagat an Email | Office: KN 252
Dr. Krishna Bhagat is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health. Her Bachelors degree is from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where her majors were Sociology and Gender and Women's Studies, with a minor in South Asian Studies. From there, she went on to earn a Masters in Public Health from Boston University in International Health and Social and Behavioral Sciences. Her doctoral training is in Behavioral and Community Health from the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Bhagat has experience managing large-scale research studies at an independent research company called NORC at the University of Chicago. She is also very passionate about addressing public health issues that affect societies across the globe and spent four years helping to develop, lead, and teach for an immersive Global Public Health program for undergraduate students. She is specifically interested in raising awareness about how public health intersects with gender and creating programming that empowers women around the world.
Dr. Bhagat's research interests include examining taken-for-granted public health 'stories' from a more critical lens so that we can work together to promote health in more holistic, effective, inclusive, and safer ways. Often, when it comes to factors related to our health, we mistake association for causation when in actuality, the relationship between different variables is much more complex than that. One example of this is the relationship between health and weight. It is readily assumed that over-weight and obesity lead to ill-health when in fact the connection between these two variables is hardly linear or isolated. Acknowledging this evidence, Dr. Bhagat's current research project includes working with students and community partners to design and deliver a novel non-weight centered health promotion program aimed at encouraging community members to have healthier relationships with themselves, their bodies, food, and physical activity.
Dr. Bhagat is also the on-campus student adviser and works closely with the Public Health Student Organization. She is happy to set aside time to speak with students about their progress in the department, career aspirations, or opportunities to be involved in research or service projects in public health.
Other than her work, Dr. Bhagat enjoys spending time with her family -including her two crazy kiddos-, running, and working on projects around the house.
Phone: (630) 829-6181 | Send Dr. Cheng an Email | Office: Kindlon Hall 265
Dr. Susan Cheng joined the Benedictine University's Department of Public Health faculty full-time in 2013 as a tenure-track, assistant professor, and currently serves as the Department Chair. Prior to joining the faculty, she served as an adjunct faculty member for Trident International University in their MPH program. In addition, she served as a Principal Investigator, Project Manager, and Epidemiologist for the Emergency Preparedness Resources for Native Americans project in California from 2002-2013. She earned a MPH in Epidemiology from San Diego State University researching male endogenous hormones and bone mineral density, and a PhD in Epidemiology from the University of California, San Diego in the field of HIV research.
Dr. Cheng's primary research interests focus primarily on Maternal and Child Health, special populations, and mental health. She is interested in health outcomes for women and children during pregnancy and in early childhood, in the fields of gestational diabetes, post-partum depression, mental health impact of adverse events, childhood obesity prevention, and infant mortality and birth outcomes. She has several publications in peer-reviewed journals, and has presented locally and nationally at a variety of public health conferences, including the American Public Health Association, Illinois Public Health Association, the World Conference on Disaster Management, and the National Rural Health Association Conference.
Dr. Cheng believes that research should be relevant, timely, and engage student participation and interest. She has created and implemented the annual MPH research symposia to showcase student research projects for the department, several of which were later presented at the American Public Health Association's annual meeting, and some of which are in stages of manuscript writing and publication. She has also mentored a variety of student research projects on a range of topics from drug interaction and toxicity, nutrition and social determinants of health, psychological impact of disasters and outbreaks, tobacco-free campus initiatives, HPV and cancer risks. She believes that a strong research portfolio should include opportunities for student participation and mentoring. She heads the quantitative courses for the MPH program, serves as the assessment and evaluation specialist, and serves on several committees for the college and university.
Phone: 630/829-6566 | Send Dr. Gorr an Email | Office: Scholl Hall 241
Alan Gorr is Professor of Public Health. His professional interests include health promotion, international health manpower development and ethics. His professional preparation include BA from University Iowa, MA from University of Toronto, PhD from University of Iowa and MPH from University of Illinois at Chicago.
Gorr began his career at Augustana College Rock Island where he became Chair of Professional Studies and initated the Health Education Program. He then moved to the University of Illinois at Chicago where he was an Associate Professor in the Center for Educational Development (now the Department of Medical Education). The Center was a partner with the World Health Organization. While there he advised several nations at the health ministry level and worked as a consultant in Egypt, Sudan, India, and Myanmar. Gorr helped design the PhD in Nursing and the Health Education program for the School of Public Health where he held joint faculty appointments. He was co-editor of the Handbook of Health Professions Education.
At Benedictine University he became Chair of Public Health and then Dean of the College of Education and Health Services. While chair he initiated the online MPH program as well as Health Policy, Social Context of Health Care, and updated the Ethics course. He is the founder and director of the Benedictine University's MPH program in cooperation with Dalian Medical University in China.
Dr. Ho taught as an adjunct faculty member before joining Benedictine as an Assistant Professor in Fall 2016. He received his Doctor of Public Health degree in Biostatistics, with an emphasis in statistical genetics and large-scale computing, from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (2010). His Master of Public Health in Biometry is from San Diego State University (2004), and he holds a Biology degree from the University of California, San Diego (1999).
As a Senior Lead Statistician Dr. Ho has collaborated with eminent international PIs and led teams of statistical programmers, statisticians, and epidemiologists at a variety of institutions (UNC, UCSD, NIH, NIEHS, CDC, SRA International Inc., Agility Clinical Inc.) for more than 10 years, and he has authored and co-authored over a dozen peer-reviewed articles.
His biostatistical experience in all three major areas of public health—academia, government, and private industry—offers invaluable insight to guiding Benedictine students toward a sector that best fits their career goals.
With superior technical expertise in online communication, SAS, R, and various Big Data analytical tools and languages, Dr. Ho looks forward to expanding Benedictine's analytical course offerings, collaborating with other departments, as well as continuing to teach for the Benedictine University's MPH program at Dalian Medical University in China.
Dr. Ho's special research interests include applying Big Data to further understanding public health, including epigenetic variables for personalized medicine, and social media impacts on health outcomes and choices. He is also interested in determinants of health that emphasize mind-body research.
Phone: (630) 829-6217 | Send Dr. Polyak an Email | Office: Kindlon Hall 265
Georgeen Polyak is an Associate Professor at Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois.She teaches courses in health systems, health policy, and coordinates on campus student internships.Her primary research interest is in public health services and systems.She has published studies on the performance and funding of public health agencies.Prior to her teaching position, she was Director of Public Health for the Village of Oak Park, Illinois and worked at the Will County Health Department. She is a site reviewer for the Public Health Accreditation Board. She received her doctorate in Public Health Sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Phone: 630-829-6285 | Send Dr. Woodson an Email | Office: KN 252
Dr. Markisha Woodson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health. She received her Ph.D. in Community Health from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She had been the Prevention Education Coordinator at Lewis University Center for Health and Counseling Services prior to coming to Benedictine. Her research interests include a focus on the ability of underrepresented groups to survive and thrive in their environments.