Faculty Experts - Ruth McDermott-Levy, PhD, MPH, RN

Ruth McDermott-Levy, PhD, RN

Ruth McDermott-Levy, PhD, MPH, RN
Associate Professor & Director, Center for Global & Public Health

Area of Expertise:

  • Environmental Health
  • Global Health
  • Public Health Nursing
  • Training Community Health Workers to promote health in vulnerable populations
  • Ethno-Cultural Groups' Experience in Health Access and in Higher Education


An expert in environmental health, global health, and public health nursing, Dr. McDermott-Levy has taught and conducted research in Philadelphia’s Arab-American and immigrant communities, community health workers in Nicaragua, and in the Marcellus Shale region of Northeastern Pennsylvania. She has advocated for health protective regulations for those who live in oil and gas development communities. With nurse colleagues around the U.S., Dr. McDermott-Levy has developed recommendations and teaching strategies to incorporate environmental health and climate change into the nursing curricula. She also is a co-editor of an open-access environmental health textbook for nurses, Environmental Health in Nursing.


  • Ph.D., Villanova University
  • M.P.H., University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • M.S.N., Villanova University
  • B.S.N., Wilkes University

Selected Publications

  • Leffers, J., McDermott-Levy, R., Nicholas, P., & Sweeney, C. (in press). Mandate for the Nursing Profession to Address Climate Change Through Nursing Education.  Journal of Nursing Scholarship.
  • McDermott-Levy, R. & Garcia, V. (2016).  Health Concerns of Northeastern Pennsylvania Residents Living in an Unconventional Oil and Gas Development County.  Public Health Nursing.33(6), 502-510. doi: 10.1111/phn.12265
  • McDermott-Levy, R. & N. Al Balushi  (2015).  Philadelphia Arab immigrant health needs assessment. Research & Reviews: Journal of Nursing and Health Sciences,1 (3), 4-13.
  • Leffers, J., Smith, C., McDermott-Levy, R., Resick, L., Hanson, M., Jordan, L., Murphy, K., Sattler, B., & Huffling, K.  (2015). Developing Curriculum Recommendations for Environmental Health in Nursing.  Nurse Educator, 40, 3, 139-43. doi: 10.1097/NNE.0000000000000133.
  • McDermott-Levy, R., Cantrell, M.A., & Reynolds, K.  (2014). Promoting cultural understanding through pediatric clinical dyads:  An education research project. Nurse Education Today. 10.1016/j.nedt.2014.03.012
  • Leffers, J., McDermott-Levy, R., Smith, C., &  Sattler., B. (2014).  Nursing Education’s Response to the 1995 Institute of Medicine Report:  Nursing, Health and the Environment.  Nursing Forum. doi: 10.1111/nuf.12072.
  • McDermott-Levy, R., Leffers, J., & Huffling, K. (2014).  Global earth caring through the Millennium Development Goals and beyond.  International Journal of Human Caring, 18 (2), 9-17.
  • McDermott-Levy, R. (2013).  Female Arab-Muslim nursing students' reentry transitions.  International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship, 10 (1), 1-8. dio: 10.1515/ijnes-2012-0042.
  • McDermott-Levy, R., Kaktins, N. & Sattler, B. (2013) “Fracking, the environment, and health: An examination of energy practices and policies that threaten patients,” American Journal of Nursing, 113 (6), 52-57.

Selected Professional Experience

  • Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments (ANHE):  Education Working Group and Steering Committee: October 2011-present
  • Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project, Board of Directors, Secretary.
  • American Public Health Association (Public Health Nursing, Environmental, and International Sections)
  • Pennsylvania State Nurses’ Association (PSNA) Environmental Health Committee: Co-Chair, 2009-2012, member 2013-2014, 2017 to present.

Selected Research

  • McDermott-Levy (P) & Mariani (co-PI). Screening and Health Access for Immigrants in Philadelphia: Impact Evaluation Project. American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)/Center for Disease Control (CDC): Public Health Project.
  • Principal Investigator, Environmental health education resources for residents of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Villanova University, Summer research grant.      
  • McDermott-Levy (PI) Leffers  (co-PI). Ethical Principles for Global Health Nursing Practice: A Delphi Study. Association of Community Health Nurse Educators.                                         

About Villanova

Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.

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