Inquiry Magazine Northwestern School of Education and Social Policy


In this issue: Health

Professor Emma Adam measures the stress hormone cortisol

Professor Emma Adam measures the stress hormone cortisol as she studies how adolescent stress predicts health later in life.

Penelope Peterson

Message from the Dean

Dear Friends,

Health issues and health policy are much in the news these days. Obamacare, food stamps, childhood obesity, nutrition and school lunches — these are just a few of the health topics making headlines.

Once upon a time, schools of education did not need to consider health issues. They dealt only with subject matter learning and with the training of teachers. Now we know that students do not learn when they come to school either hungry or malnourished. We also know that health continues to be important for the learning and education of youth and adults across the life span. Healthy people are more educated, and more educated people are healthier, so health and learning go hand in hand.

In this issue of Inquiry, we consider some vexing questions of health and health policy, including the following:

  • Is spending on food stamps a cost-effective strategy for increasing the health of children and their families?
  • What factors influence public understanding of health care, and how might we improve the ability of all people to manage their health?
  • Do certain experiences in adolescence determine health in later life, and if so, how? How can interpersonal relationships affect health and well-being throughout life?

In the three feature articles, our talented faculty members answer these questions by drawing on their own research and the findings of others. They also describe ways in which their research has impacted health policy and practice.

With the advent of the global health specialization on campus, more and more undergraduate students in our School show a strong interest in health policy. Josh Parish is one of these. In a brief snapshot of Josh, we learn about his honors research on “medical tourism.” We also learn that in his time outside the classroom Josh co-chaired Dance Marathon, which in its 40th year raised an all-time high of $1.385 million for research on muscular dystrophy and the work of the Evanston Community Foundation.

Many graduate students in our School also take a significant interest in health and health policy. We feature Lindsay Till Hoyt, who received her PhD from our School in 2013 and currently serves as a Health and Society Scholar for the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation.

If reading Inquiry this month sparks your interest in health and education, please drop us a line and let us know at Also, we hope you will continue to support the work of our students and faculty by visiting our new giving page and give generously at

Thanks so much and happy spring!

Penelope Signature
Penelope L. Peterson, Dean