Our distinguished faculty’s publications
Article Exposure to Household Air Pollution from Biomass Cookstoves and Levels of Fractional Exhaled Nitric Oxide (FeNO) among Honduran Women by Prof. Megan L. Benka–Coker
Article Effects of supplemental fish oil on resting metabolic rate, body composition and salivary cortisol in healthy adults Profs. Eric Noreen and Josef Brandauer
Health Sciences Department Spotlight
Benka Coker’s ’09 research focuses on the impact of household air pollution on health.
When Megan Benka-Coker ’09 graduated from Gettysburg College, she would have never predicted that in fewer than ten years she would be back as a professor. “I always thought I would pursue more of a research path,” Benka-Coker said. Yet, when she stumbled across an opening in the health sciences department, she realized it would be the perfect fit.
Benka-Coker is teaching a global health course this spring, a topic she hopes will attract students in all disciplines, not just health sciences. Her current research focuses on exposure to household air pollution and its impact on health. In countries where electricity is not readily available, households often prepare meals and heat their homes over open fires or small stoves. Cooking with firewood inside the home results in high levels of pollution, both particles and gases, that can be dangerous for the health of the family members—mainly women who are cooking, and children who are watched by their mothers.
Benka-Coker hopes to partner with a local Gettysburg organization, Project Gaia, and conduct exposure and health studies on ethanol burning cookstoves in Eastern Africa, Nigeria, and possibly India. “As an environmental epidemiologist I think there is much work needed to be done in improving our exposure assessment and improving our measurements,” she said.
As a professor, her work is coming full circle. “It was really all the experiences at Gettysburg College that brought me to global and public health,” Benka-Coker said.