PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center on Health in Housing

A row of houses in Buffalo.

Houses in Buffalo, NY.

The Center on Health in Housing is a collaboration between the School of Public Health and Health Professions and the School of Architecture and Planning; it is administered by the OGHI.  Through their work with the Center,  faculty from across UB share their expertise on accessible housing, environmental exposures,  food systems and healthy neighborhoods with the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization.

Recent Events

Flyer promoting the webinar "Housing and Health: Implications for Health Equity," scheduled for April 12, 2024. Paho logo 10 - 11:30 a.m.

PAHO hosted webinar: Housing and Health: Implications for Health Equity

Fri., April 12, 2024

In this webinar, Collaborating Center faculty Elizabeth Bowen, PhD, LCSW, and PhD student Meghan Holtan will discuss some of the challenges on housing and health in the Americas region from PAHO’s perspective as well as introduce attendees to research and concepts to help understand the ways in which housing and health are closely related. They will present five major pathways linking housing and health: housing quality and condition; residential stability and security, including the health implications of homelessness and migration; housing affordability; neighborhood context; and social connection and care. Additionally, they will discuss the key global policy implications of the relationship between housing and health, including the importance of health equity; the concept of the right to housing; and the value of trauma-informed and co-designed housing structures, programs, and services. 

Photo of Elizabeth Bowen.

Elizabeth Bowen, PhD, LCSW is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work. Her research addresses housing as a social determinant of health, with a focus on stigma, food insecurity, chronic disease management, and addiction recovery for people experiencing homelessness. Bowen’s research is rooted in her social work practice experience managing harm reduction-based permanent supportive housing programs in Chicago, IL, USA. Bowen aims to promote health equity and liberation through her work and partnerships. 

Photo of Meghan Holtan.

Meghan Holtan is a researcher, artist, and mother from Anchorage, Alaska. Currently a PhD student in Urban and Regional Planning, her doctoral research focuses on the relationship between housing and health equity in a changing climate. Before her PhD, she worked as a planning consultant across Alaska and the Mountain West on projects ranging from affordable housing development to public health for Alaska Native tribal organizations, public agencies, nonprofits, and private industry.

About the Center

The OGHI oversees administration of the Center on Health in Housing, a Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) / World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Research on Healthy Settings. The Center on Health in Housing was first designated a collaborating centre in 1988, and Center leadership apply for re-designation every four years. Both in the past and today, the center engages faculty from across the university on topics such as water, sanitation and hygiene, accessible home environments, housing security and stability, environmental exposures in the home environment and healthy neighborhoods. Faculty also contribute to WHO initiatives, such as the 2018 WHO Housing and Health Guidelines, which identified housing-related health concerns worldwide and recommended changes for housing policies at multiple levels. 

Leadership and Contributing Faculty

The Center on Health in Housing is co-lead by faculty from the School of Public Health and Health Professions and the School of Architecture and Planning. 


Photo of Lina Mu.

Lina Mu, MD, PhD
Co-Director, Collaborating Center on Health in Housing

Director, Office of Global Health Initiatives

Associate Professor, Dept. of Epidemiology &  Environmental Health, School of Public Health and Health Professions

Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah, assistant professor of urban and regional planning, chats with Kasia Kordas, associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health, during the Air Quality Ideas Lab at UB this summer. Photo: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki.

Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah, PhD
Co-director, Collaborating Center on Health in Housing

Co-Director, Community for Global Health Equity

Associate Professor, Dept. of Urban & Regional Planning, School of Architecture and Planning