Lorann Stallones, PhD, MPH, is the Director of the Colorado School of Public Health at Colorado State University. She has held this position since 2007.
Her interest in public health heath came from three different experiences. As an undergraduate she wanted to go to nursing school and when a former student of her father’s and long -time family friend heard about this she started sending her books about medical sociology and talked about public health. The second fact that influenced her was that her father was an epidemiologist and the founding Dean of the University of Texas School of Public Health at Houston so she had always heard about public health, but never thought of herself as a scientist, so hadn’t given it much thought. In her junior year in college she took seminar in anthropology where she wrote a paper discussing the development of mental illness as a medical diagnosis in African countries after a number of African physicians had been trained in England. Prior to that, most of the symptoms and behaviors related to the mental illnesses diagnosed had simply been ignored or accommodated by the people living in those communities. She became intrigued with the role of culture in our perceptions and definitions about what were considered diseases and what were not. From this interest it became clear how someone interested in culture may have something to contribute to understanding health and disease.
Dr. Stallones has had varied research interests over the years. Her first research area was the role of marital status change on risk factors for cardiovascular disease. She then moved to studying respiratory diseases and injuries among farmers and farm residents. She also studied the health benefits of the human-animal bond. She moved to Colorado State University in 1990 to pursue work related to pesticide exposure and mood disorders leading to suicidal behavior. She has conducted community based participatory research on a wide range of injury related topics from migrant farm workers risk of injury and perceptions about injury to community concerns about traumatic brain injury, school playground injuries, bicycle safety, and car safety seat use. Recently she has been working with colleagues to study agricultural injuries in China and with colleagues in China, Costa Rica and South Africa to study mood disorders associated with pesticide poisoning. She is also working with graduate students to build a research program that focuses on the role of mindfulness in promoting health and well-being and reducing adverse responses to stress.