A Healthier Environment, Globally and Locally

Assistant Professor Ruth McDermott-Levy, PhD, RN


A member of the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association’s Environmental Health Committee who has been recognized with a “Global Citizen” award, Dr. Ruth McDermott-Levy seeks to reduce environmental health risks. Through her scholarly work, she advocates for clean air and water. Her latest project will involve health concerns over fracking in Pennsylvania.

Environments, and life within those environments, captivate Dr. Ruth McDermott-Levy and fuel her research passion. Her area of nursing expertise is public health nursing with a focus on global and environmental health. Her program of research relies on qualitative methods to gain insight into the needs of vulnerable populations and to promote health access for them. Her early work used phenomenological methods to study the experiences of female Omani nursing students in the United States and after they return home, as well as strategies to promote U.S.-Omani student peer learning. In Philadelphia, she has studied the effectiveness of community health workers in Arab immigrant communities and provided breast health education to Arab-Muslim immigrant women.

In Waslala, Nicaragua, she has engaged in a telehealth project to improve health-care access in remote regions. Studying for a post-doctoral master’s degree in public health, Dr. McDermott-Levy has gained greater insights into population-based research methods and environmental health. This summer, she will begin her next research project. She will use community-based participatory research methods to identify health concerns of a community in northeastern Pennsylvania that is undergoing fracking (the active extraction of natural gas using unconventional hydraulic fracturing). With the goal of healthy communities, through her science she promotes healthy environments to enhance quality of life and prevent disease.