Oregon State University

The College of Public Health and Human Sciences

Administrative Oversight: 
Tammy Bray, Dean
123 Women's Building OSU, Corvallis, OR 97331
(541) 737-3256


The College of Health and Human Sciences advances knowledge, policies, and practices to enhance the lives, health, safety, and environments of individuals, families, at risk populations and communities in Oregon and beyond. We achieve this mission through exemplary undergraduate and graduate education, creative scholarship, and effective Extension programs and outreach initiatives. The College's scholarly and creative work reflects the strengths and diversity of our faculty and disciplines. This work ranges from laboratory-based investigations of nutrition and physiology, to field and applied investigations in public health and health services administration, to artistic and creative works in dance, apparel, and design.

Department of Design and Human Environment (DHE)

The Design and Human Environment research agenda is centered on the human environment: that which is close to the individual and with which the individual interacts. Apparel, interior spaces, and housing are all components of the human environment. The overall goals of research and creative activity in the Department of Design and Human Environment are to advance knowledge, policies, and practices to enhance the lives, health, and environments of individuals. Through our research and creative activities we strive to address social issues, improve human environmental conditions, and advance our subject matter areas. Underlying themes include social responsibility, development across the lifespan, diversity, and interdisciplinary approaches.

The focus of the department is on both tangible products - apparel and other textile products, interiors, housing - and intangible aspects of the human environment - cultural and individual values and attitudes, social institutions, individual perceptions, and motivations. Faculty engage in scholarly activity that may be empirical or creative in nature. A variety of theoretical frameworks underlie DHE research: aesthetics, consumer behavior, economics, education, fiber science, history, cultural anthropology, marketing, management, and social psychology.

  • Signature areas in research and creative activity in DHE are:
    • Designing human environments (apparel, interiors, housing, and products) including:
    • Addressing the needs of children, seniors, people with health problems, and other special populations
    • Implementing enabling technologies
    • Using environmentally responsible textiles and materials
    • Considering historic, cultural, social, psychological, aesthetic, economic, and marketing factors
  • Understanding consumer and users of designed environments including
    • consumer decision-making processes
    • responses to and satisfaction with apparel, interiors, and housing
    • perceptions of environmental quality
    • influence of historic, cultural, social psychological, aesthetic, economic, and marketing factors in designed environments


Department of Human Development and Family Sciences

The Department of Human Development and Family Sciences does research that covers the life span, focusing on families and individual development. Current research interests include care giving to elderly parents, youth-at-risk, the effects of family structure on the well-being of family members, welfare reform's impact on rural families, parent education, evaluation of even start programs, and issues in the relationship between work and family.


Department of Nutrition and Exercise Sciences

The Department of Nutrition and Exercise Sciences integrates two complementary applied human sciences that focus on optimal health and disease prevention through the lifestyle factors of nutrition and physical activity. The Department is fully engaged in the teaching, research and service missions of the University, with flourishing academic programs, federally funded research laboratories, and a strong emphasis on outreach through its Extension programs.

Major research programs in the Department include: The Bone Research Lab, which conducts basic and applied research on factors that affect bone health; the effect of zinc on prostate cancer and on factors that affect DNA damage; vitamin E kinetics and factors that modulate vitamin E requirements; the biomechanical study of passenger transfers for accessible airline transportation; diet and physical activity effects on aging; behavior-change strategies related to the adoption and maintenance of a healthy diet and a physically active lifestyle; the cardiovascular disease risk of persons with disabilities; physical activity programs to improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities; knee biomechanics and osteoarthritis; knee injuries in the female athlete; the nutritional requirements of active individuals; absorption and utilization of trace minerals; and effective teaching methods in physical education and sport settings.

The Department extends its research to citizens of Oregon through the nutrition education programs delivered by OSU Extension faculty in the Family and Community Development Program.

Department faculty are also members of the Linus Pauling Institute and the Center for Healthy Aging, participate in the Molecular and Cellular Biology program, and have strong interdisciplinary research ties with faculty in Engineering, Public Health, Food Science and Technology, Animal Sciences, Biochemisty and Biophysics, and Environmental and Molecular Toxicology.


Department of Public Health

The over arching goal of the Department of Public Health is to create and disseminate knowledge with the aim of preventing disease and protecting the health of populations. Recognizing that multiple and complex factors affect the public’s health, faculty are engaged in research that examines environmental health and safety issues; access to, delivery and payment of health care services; health policies; and social and contextual factors as determinants of health. We acknowledge that efforts to improve health must go beyond the treatment of disease and must address all conditions affecting the health of populations including human behavior, social conditions, health care organizations, governmental and corporate policies, and physical environments. Several faculty are involved in basic and applied research that advances understanding of how human behavior and environmental context affect the public’s health, including factors that operate at the individual, family, organizational, community and societal levels. Particular research interests include mental health, sexual and reproductive health, and prevention of risky behaviors that lead to infectious and chronic diseases. Other faculty members focus on research that identifies, assesses and reduces human health risks associated with exposure to microbial and chemical agents in the environment and workplace. Faculty also work to improve environment, safety and health programs in businesses and industries. In the area of health management and policy, faculty are engaged in research pertaining to hunger, the effects of employment on physical and mental health, tacit learning within high performing health care teams, and ways in which health care organizations can measure and improve their resilience to natural and man-made disasters. Others examine access to health care for disadvantaged populations, including women, the elderly and international populations. By generating research that will inform policies, services, and programs of direct relevance to diverse populations, these efforts will contribute to the health of populations in Oregon, nationally and internationally.

Contact Info

Research Office
Oregon State University
A312 Kerr Administration
Corvallis, OR
Phone 541-737-3467
Fax 541-737-9041
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