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Program Overview

International Health Studies Initiative logo


The Integrated Health Studies Initiative (IHSI) is an interdisciplinary approach that combines a cutting-edge inter-school health studies curriculum at Fairfield University with exciting new opportunities for applied learning, discovery and student engagement, and community outreach. TheInitiative consists of three interconnected programmatic elements:

1) Curriculum: Undergraduate students have the opportunity to complete a minor in Health Studies.

2) Discovery & Applied Learning: Students have a variety or opportunities for growth, such as: attend presentations given by leaders in the field of health and science; compete in proposal submissions for healthcare business ventures; and participate in collaborative and interdisciplinary research.

3) Community Outreach & Engagement: Students will have the opportunity to participate in new activities on and off campus concerning health awareness, prevention and research.

Our Vision

Promoting integrated Health Science Education to meet the urgent demands of health care systems and industries in the 21st Century.


Our Strengths

About Us

The Integrated Health Studies Initiative (IHSI) at Fairfield University is an interdisciplinary approach that combines a cutting-edge inter-school health studies curriculum with exciting new opportunities for applied learning, discovery and student engagement, and community outreach.


  • Robin Kanarek '96, Chair, School of Nursing Advisory Board, and President, Kanarek Family Foundation
  • Daniel Malin Hayes '68, M.D., Maine Center for Cancer
  • Patrick Kelley '76, P'12, MD, DrPH, Director, Boards on Global Health and African Science Academy Development, Institute of Medicine
  • Brian Monahan '82, P'14, MD, Attending Physician Congress of the United States
  • Peter Pronovost '87, MD, PhD, FCCM, Sr. Vice President for Patient Safety and Quality, Director of the Armstrong Institute for patient Safety and Quality, Johns Hopkins Medicine
  • Joseph Timpone '80, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine and Dean for Student Research, Georgetown University School of Medicine
  • Richard Umbdenstock '72, President, American Hospital Association


Past Events

Advancing Knowledge & Improving Care: Integrated Nursing and Health Sciences Initiative
Town Hall Presentation
Deans Lynn Babington & Robbin Crabtree
- Spring 2013

Healthcare and the Arts Series
Lindsay Farrell
Australian Catholic University
- Spring 2012

Health Professional Education for the 21st Century: A Vision for a Jesuit University
Patrick Kelly '76 & Combined Advisory Board Meeting
- Fall 2012

Future of Healthcare in America
Richard Umbdenstock '72
- Fall 2011

Scholars Program

The Health Studies Scholars program teams up an interdisciplinary group of undergraduate students with an interdisciplinary faculty team to work together for two years on a collaborative research project focused on a health-related problem.

Health Studies Minor

Human health and healthcare is an integral and essential part of everyone's life. We will all become part of the conversation, as healthcare requires an ever-larger share of society's resources. The minor in health studies is a new 15-credit interdisciplinary minor that will provide students with the opportunity to learn more about the complex issues related to the current and future environment of contemporary healthcare.


Integrated Health Studies Colloquium Fall 2016

wordpress business theme

Big Pharma from Three Career Perspectives
Three Fairfield University Alumni For a Round Table Discussion of Their Careers in Big Pharma

Domenick Pirraglia '06 - Unified Oncology
Yasmin Islami '76 - Bayer Health Care
Dr. Ted Sybertz '72 - Genzyme Corporation, Retired
Friday, October 21, 2016
6:30 p.m., DiMenna-Nyselius Library Auditorium 101

Thank you to our alumni Domenick Pirraglia (’06), Yasmin Islami (’76) & Dr. Ted Sybertz (’72) for their participation in the 2016 Health Studies Colloquium. This well attended event allowed students to learn about a health-related field outside of the medical professions - Big Pharma. Three very different career pathways were shared, and great questions from the audience capped of a very informative evening!


Fall 2015

Colloquium with Morgan Downey '68
American obesity consultant and past executive director of the American Obesity Association

"Obesity from 30,000 feet"
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
5 p.m., Kelley Center Presentation Room


Spring 2015

Colloquium with Orest "Orry" Fiume '64
Retired Vice President of Finance and Administration and a Director of the Wiremold Company
Board of Directors of The Lean Enterprise Institute and Thedacare Center for Healthcare Value

"Applying Lean Thinking to Healthcare"
Monday, February 23, 2015
7 pm, Kelley Center Presentation Room


Colloquium with Larry Fitzgerald '86, PhD, MBA
President and CEO, Mend Therapeutics, Inc
"Opportunities and Challenges in Drug Discovery for Autism Spectrum Disorders
Tuesday, March 3
4:30 pm, Kelley Center Presentation Room


Fall 2014

The Integrated Nursing & Health Studies Initiative sponsored three special events during Alumni and Family Weekend 2014

Friday, October 24, 2014
6 p.m.: Reception - Rudolph F. Bannow Science Center Atrium
Presentations of Health Studies posters:

Coffee Farm Workers at Santa Maura
Sarah Hespe, Lia Iacuone, Sarah Roghanian, Megan Commarota, Danyella Hernandez, Patty Adams, Molly Moran and Professors Jessica Alicea-Planas, Lydia Greiner, and Philip Greiner


"MR. LEAD SPOT - An Evaluation of a Lead Poisoning Prevention Education Program among Preschool Children
Jennifer Delsole, Dr. Eileen O'Shea, Tess Deshefy-Longhi

Nutritional Sciences at Fairfield University
Drs. Catherine Andersen and Jacqueline Vernareli

Laboratory of Molectular and Clinical Nutrition
Dr. Catherine Andersen

Factors associated with dating violence and childhood abuse in college students
Megan Parmenter, Katelyn Parisi, and Dr. Margaret McClure

Syntheses, X-ray crystallographic, spectroscopic and electrochemical characterizations of three and five coordinate SNS copper(I) and (II) complexes: Effect of pincer ligand on coordination geometry
Dr. John Miecznikowski, Christine Villa, Nicholas Bernier, Margaret Siu, Camile Gomes, Kilee Bayne. 
Fairfield University, Keene State College, Boston College, California State Polytechnic University Pomona, and Boston University

Syntheses and NMR characterizations of tridentate pincer SNS ligand precursors using microwave reaction conditions
Dr. John Miecznikowski, Margaret Siu, and Nicholas Bernier, Camile Gomes

Biophotonic Cancer Research: A Physicist's Approach
Michael Reilly, Benjamin Maloney, Guichen Tang, and Dr. Min Xu

Laboratory of Human Nutrition and Population Health
Dr. Jacqueline Vernarelli

Saturday, October 25, 2014
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Health Studies Panel- Growth in the Health Care Industry and The Affordable Care Act - Gonzaga Auditorium *FYE Credit

Dr. Lynn Babington, Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, will facilitate a discussion with the following Fairfield Alumni and Parents from the Health Care Industry.

  • Mary Ann Christopher, MSN, RN, FAAN '79 - President and CEO, Visiting Nurse Service of New York
  • Patrick W. Kelley, MD, DrPH. '76 - Director, Board on Global Health, Institute of Medicine, US National Academies
  • George Kemble, PhD, P'15 - Chief Scientific Officer, 3-V Biosciences
  • Brian P. Monahan, MD, MACP, '82, P'14, P'18 - The Attending Physician, Congress of United States & United States Supreme Court
  • Edmund "Ted" J. Sybertz, PhD, '72 - Former Senior VP and General Manager of Drug Discovery/Development, Genzyme Corporation and co-founder Lysosomal Therapeutics Inc.

2:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m.: Health Studies Career Discussion with Fairfield Faculty - Oak Room

Students, faculty and alumni are invited to open discussions with Fairfield faculty & Health Profession guests 

Guillet Summer Internship

Exciting Summer Biomedical Internship

The Integrated Nursing & Health Studies Initiative (INHSI) has created the Guillet Summer Internship, funded by Marc ‘89 and Dana Guillet. The Guillet Summer Intern is a full time student lab assistant supporting post -doctoral staff in the laboratory of Alan H. Beggs, PhD in the Division of Genetics at Boston Children's Hospital. The Intern will assist with research on congenital myopathies with a particular focus on Nemaline Myopathy. 

Dr. Beggs is an authority on the genetic underpinnings of congenital myopathies, a group of little-understood, inherited neuromuscular disorders that cause generalized muscle weakness and progressively disabling symptoms.  Myopathies typically arise from mutations in the genes necessary for normal muscle structure and function. Using patients' DNA and muscle tissue samples, Dr. Beggs and his colleagues have identified genes and proteins associated with a number of these disorders, including centronuclear myopathy and nemaline myopathy, thereby improving diagnosis and clinical evaluation for children suffering from these rare and difficult disorders.

The Intern will complete eight weeks of research in the Beggs Laboratory during June, July or August (specific eight weeks to be coordinated with Laboratory schedule).  He/she will be supervised by a post-doctoral fellow at the laboratory to which they are assigned in conjunction with oversight from a resident Fairfield faculty member.  Additionally, the Intern is required to present a synopsis of his/her research in class and will be encouraged to present research at the annual Sigma Xi science symposium held every April at Fairfield University.

The Guillet Summer Intern will receive a stipend, full cost of lodgin on the campus of Northeastern University and full meal package.

The 2015 Guillet Summer Intern

Firdaus Kudia '17

Learn More About Firdaus

Name: Firdaus Kudia '17

Major/Minor: Biology
Easton, Connecticut
Extracurricular Activities:
New Student Leader

Why did you choose to attend Fairfield University?
I chose to attend Fairfield University because of its size and location. I grew up in a small town in Connecticut and was used to attending small schools, where teachers built relationships with their students. When I came to visit Fairfield for the first time, I immediately got the same feeling and knew this is where I belong. Due to Fairfield University’s small size, a student is able to thrive by taking advantage of all the opportunities offered here. 

What are you most excited about for the Guillet Summer Internship?
As an Intern, I will be a lab assistant to post-doctoral staff and I will be working in the laboratory of Alan H. Beggs, PhD in the Division of Genetics at Boston Children’s Hospital. This opportunity will give me the chance to perform actual research on patient’s DNA samples. The focus of the research is congenital myopathies, in particular Nemaline Myopathy. I am extremely excited to be a part of this research team and work side by side with doctors at the Boston Children’s Hospital. This experience will allow me to develop skills that are useful in the lab, learn about this particular disorder, and also use genetic technology to determine the proteins and genes that are involved with congenital myopathy. At the end of my internship, I will be presenting my research at the Sigma Xi science symposium at Fairfield University.

Describe a favorite course and how it helped your academic growth
"General Biology II" was my favorite biology course that I have taken thus far. It was also my first biology course, so I was extremely nervous that I would fail every single test and would not like biology, therefore I worked twice as hard in this class. It turned out to be a very interesting course and I learned a lot about myself as a student. First of all, two professors that had completely different teaching styles taught this class. While one included all the notes on the slides, the other only had pictures and diagrams on the PowerPoint slides. Therefore, I had to change the way I took notes in the middle of the semester and look for other ways to succeed. The challenge was frightening at first, but it turned out to be rewarding, because I learned various different note taking and studying techniques. I also found that I learn better when there are only pictures and diagrams on the PowerPoint slides, because it forces me to read the textbook and take more detailed notes. After receiving an A- in this course, I was confident that I could take on Biology as a major.

Contact Us

‌‌Brian Walker, PhD Brian Walker, PhD
Associate Dean, College of Arts & Sciences
Associate Professor of Biology


To support the initiative, contact:

Geri Derbyshire
Associate Vice President for Development
Fairfield University
1073 North Benson Road
Fairfield, CT 06824-5195
Office: 203-254-4000, Ext. 3090
Cell: 203-526-1945

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