Skip Navigation

Professor focuses on public health

November 2, 2011

MEDIA CONTACT:Hilary Dickinson at or 608-363-2849

Marion Fass, professor and chair of biology and co-chair of health and society, recently collaborated on a new book, Global Health Has No Borders, in the form of an online journal issue.  Found on, it is designed to be a supplement to a typical biology textbook.

Global Health Has No Borders brings together a number of topics that Fass researches, teaches, and focuses on in the community. Since Fass teaches health and society courses centered on public health and brings a public health perspective to biology courses, students who have taken classes with Fass will recognize topics they’ve discussed in the classroom covered in the book.

Fass co-wrote chapters on global health and local health, healthy mothers and babies, nutrition and good health, controlling infectious diseases, mosquitoes and disease, and HIV/AIDs.  These chapters reflect some of the work that she has done in the community. Recently, Fass worked in groups focusing on infant mortality rates of those born to African American versus white mothers, finding that that the disparity is the result of a number of things in the life course—nutrition, environment, and education, among others.

Global Health Has No Borders is designed to be updated to reflect changes in approaches to improving public health: 

“One weird thing about (the book) is the change from the food pyramid to the healthy plate, which happened when we were about to publish,” Fass said. “It’s an example of how quickly things change. That’s part of why it’s online instead of in a book. We’ll try to update it, and we hope professors who use it will update it with new data, too.”

Source:  Marion Field Fass is a professor and chair of the biology department and co-chair of the health and society program. Fass typically teaches courses in human biology, microbiology, emerging diseases, global health, and slow food.  Her research and courses focus on the intersection of individual biological, public health, sustainability, and environmental factors that lead to the emergence of new diseases. Fass engages with the interdisciplinary perspectives necessary to understand these relationships and the opportunities to build curricula for undergraduate students that combine scientific investigations with social and cultural understanding and that motivate students to work for social justice. Her research focuses on the measurement of community health needs and on methods of assessment of student learning. A full bio is available at