College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Susan Howard, PhD

Term Faculty, Health, Medicine & Society, School of Integrative Studies

Faculty Directory

Research Focus

I am an applied researcher and problem-solver who teaches, mentors, and creates at the nexus of academia, industry, and entrepreneurship. I combine theories from behavioral sciences with best practices in emerging technologies, human-centered design, and business innovations to design solutions that address pressing health and environmental issues, both globally and locally. My current work leverages game-based simulations in Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) innovations. As the principal investigator of an interdisciplinary USAID-funded 5-year innovation grant, I am driving the design and implementation of choice-based simulations to influence, as well as assess, perceptions, attitudes, and knowledge of health behaviors among adolescents in India. Similarly, my PhD research applies game-based simulation as both an educational tool and research instrument seeking to: 1) reveal human perceptions related to wildlife and disease causation 2) elucidate rationale behind park visitors’ behaviors and 3) evaluate emerging technologies as instruments for behavior change. I seek to understand how healthy behaviors and conservation practices may align with an individual’s values and self-interests, thereby encouraging a One Health approach that links human health with ecosystem health.

Current Projects

■ Pioneering use of game-based simulations to assess rationale and perceptions of non- compliant behaviors as related to disease risk among visitors to the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal National Park.

■ Applying social marketing approaches to One Health problems by incorporating a “self-interest” model to encourage behavior change.

■ Direct-to-Consumer approaches using digital game technology to improve adolescent health.

■ Gamification of training to influence USAID government officials to foster a human centered design approach in designing health interventions.

Select Publications

■ Howard, S., & Livermore, M. (2016). Applications of marketing practices and agent-based modeling to promote the principles of One Health in the C&O Canal National Historic Park. Prepared for the C&O Canal National Historic Park & Wildlife Biology and Public Health Divisions of the National Park Service.

■ Howard, S. Mustafa, S. (2016). EcoTEX Academy: STEM in Nature. A prototype for place-based experiential learning. Prepared for the National Park Service Wildlife Biology Division, Office of Public Health and Conservation Stewardship Division.

■ Howard, S., et al. (2013). Mind the gap: Uttar Pradesh Program Review. Prepared for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.



Phone: 703-993-9365