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Ruth  McDermott-Levy, PhD - Villanova University. Villanova, PA, US

Ruth McDermott-Levy, PhD Ruth  McDermott-Levy, PhD

Associate Professor; Director of the Center for Global and Public Health | M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing | Villanova University


Dr. McDermott-Levy, PhD, MPH, RN is an expert in environmental health, global health, and public health nursing






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Freedom School Ruth McDermott Levy



Areas of Expertise (9)

Climate Change

Immigrant Health

Public Health

Community & Public Health Nursing


Global Health

Fracking and Health

Environmental Health/Health impacts of UOGD

Health Disparities


An expert in environmental health, global health, and public health nursing, Dr. McDermott-Levy has taught and conducted research in Philadelphia’s Arab-American and immigrant communities, with community health workers in Nicaragua, and in the Marcellus Shale region of Northeastern Pennsylvania. She has advocated for health protective regulations for those who live in oil and gas development communities. With nurse colleagues around the U.S., Dr. McDermott-Levy has developed recommendations and teaching strategies to incorporate environmental health and climate change into the nursing curricula.

Dr. McDermott-Levy is a co-editor of an open-access environmental health textbook for nurses, Environmental Health in Nursing. In 2018, she received the Fulbright-Saastamoinen Foundation Health and Environmental Sciences Award for teaching and research. She will be at the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) from August to December 2018, where she will be using this grant to research the health impact of climate changes in Finland, which is at risk due to significant increases in air temperature.

Education (4)

Villanova University: PhD

University of Massachusetts, Amherst: MPH

Villanova University: MSN

Wilkes University: BSN

Select Accomplishments (2)

Fulbright-Saastamoinen Foundation Health and Environmental Sciences Award (professional)


The Pennsylvania State Nurses Association (PSNA) "Nurse as Global Citizen" Award (professional)


Affiliations (4)

  • Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project, Board of Directors, Secretary
  • American Public Health Association (Public Health Nursing, Environmental, and International Sections)
  • Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments (ANHE): Education Working Group and Steering Committee
  • Pennsylvania State Nurses’ Association (PSNA) Environmental Health Committee Member

Select Media Appearances (12)

7 Local Hiking Trails to Explore This Summer

Main Line Today  online


Grab your face mask and head to one of these beautiful spots. For most of us, getting outside has been the perfect antidote to being cooped up these past few months. Natural Lands, the Media-based conservation group with over 40 preserves covering 23,000 acres in the region, saw visitor numbers quadruple this spring. And with an average of 14 hours of daylight and the trees providing a leafy canopy for shade, summer is a great time to hit the trails on the vast swaths of preserved land in southeastern Pennsylvania. “[The increase in visitors] underlines the importance of having access to open space available for outdoor recreation and a little mental health break … to connect with nature and find some comfort and joy in the outdoors,” says Kelly Herrenkohl, Natural Lands’ vice president of communications and engagement. Cut with six-foot mowers, many Natural Lands paths are wide and clear. “The good news about our preserves is that they’re plenty big and spread out—we’ve got thousands of acres,” Herrenkohl says. “Even if a parking lot is full, once you get onto the preserve, you can really keep your distance from other hikers.”

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FEMA Chief Says Coronavirus Funds Put Agency In 'Really Great Place' for Hurricane Season

Newsweek  online


"Because colleges have closed, unoccupied dorm rooms could be a way to provide a safe emergency shelter while social distancing, Ruth McDermott-Levy, director of Villanova University's Center for Global and Public Health, told Newsweek in April."

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Newsweek  online


"Had we invested from local all the way up to state and federal level, we wouldn't be here now," Ruth McDermott-Levy, the director for the Center for Global and Public Health at Villanova University, told Newsweek. "I strongly believe we would not be in this situation now. This is kind of the worst nightmare scenario that we've been talking about for many years."

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Newsweek  online


Ruth McDermott-Levy, the director of the Center for Global and Public Health at Villanova University, told Newsweek that natural disasters complicating social distancing measures is a "real concern." Ahead of disaster striking, there needs to be special consideration to keep people separate in shelters. Since schools and colleges are closed, unoccupied dorm rooms could be a way to provide people with a safe place to go in an emergency while maintaining social distancing, McDermott-Levy said.

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'Only a Matter of Time.' At This Washington State Immigrant Detention Center, Attorneys Believe a Coronavirus Outbreak Is Inevitable

TIME  online


Ruth McDermott-Levy, associate professor and director of the Center for Global and Public Health at Villanova University, says detained individuals are among the groups she and her colleagues at the school’s College of Nursing are most concerned about. “We would describe them as a very vulnerable population,” McDermott-Levy tells TIME. “For one, they’re all living in close proximity to one another… the other thing is we’re talking about an immigrant population. You don’t leave your country when things are good. We’ve got people who more than likely have poor nutrition and may have other health problems, and if our nutrition is poor our immune system is not as strong.”

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Villanova nursing expert warns of climate change effects on older adults

KYW NewsRadio, Philadelphia  radio


Ruth McDermott-Levy, director of the Center for Global Health at Villanova's College of Nursing, is the lead author on an article published in the November issue of the Journal of Gerontological Nursing. McDermott-Levy explained more than half of older adults live in areas that experience severe weather caused by climate change like heat waves, wildfires and hurricanes. These areas include Pennsylvania, California, and Florida, and McDermott-Levy says these weather patterns are placing older Americans at increased risk of heat-related illnesses and death. "We're actually getting ready to do an epidemiological study where we're going to quantify the deaths, climate deaths," said McDermott-Levy. "But one of the problems is nobody is listening."

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CDC word ban: Public health is jeopardized when individuality is ignored

Philadelphia Inquirer  online


When we allow words describing our fellow citizens to be stricken from the lexicon, we strike from the record their American experience; we strike from the record the factors that influence their health; we strike from the record our ability to learn the unique needs of specific groups of Americans; we strike from the record our ability to study groups of people – yes, groups of vulnerable Americans.

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Get to know a climate champion: Ruth McDermott-Levy

Climate For Health  


This month's champion is Ruth McDermott-Levy, an associate professor and director of the Center for Global & Public Health at Villanova University’s College of Nursing near Philadelphia, PA. She holds a Ph. D. in nursing education from Villanova and an M.P.H. from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Ruth teaches and conducts research with a focus on global and environmental health, helping to educate students in linking how they live and work to air emissions and the changing climate. She is also the Education Workgroup co-chairperson of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments and a founding member of Protect PA.

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Philly's smog sickens thousands of city's asthmatic kids, report says

Metro Philadelphia  online


“Many days in Philadelphia ozone smog is so severe it is a visible haze over the city's skyline,” said Villanova University professor Dr. Ruth McDermott-Levy. “This potent air pollutant is responsible for increased asthma hospitalizations, increased school absences of students and teachers and lost production for workers.”

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Wolf budget includes $100K for Marcellus Shale health registry

NPR's State Impact Pennsylvania  online


Public health advocates are encouraged by Wolf’s plan, but say $100,000 is not nearly enough money. Dr. Ruth McDermott-Levy teaches public health at Villanova University. “It’s seed money to get a health registry started,” she says. “But to consider the long term health impacts, then more money is going to need to be committed.”

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About 70 hospital staffers cared for Ebola patient

Associated Press  online


“This is not something we can afford to experiment with. We need to get this right,” said Ruth McDermott-Levy, who directs the Center for Global and Public Health in Villanova University’s College of Nursing. Until now, the CDC has been actively monitoring 48 people who might have had contact with Duncan after he fell ill with an infection but before he was put in isolation. The number included 10 people known to have contact and 38 who may have had contact, including people he was staying with and health care professionals who attended to him during an emergency room visit from which he was sent home. None is sick.

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Groups call for investigation into health department’s handling of drilling

NPR's State Impact Pennsylvania  


Despite calls from environmental groups, it is not clear that there will be an investigation into how the Pennsylvania Department of Health handled complaints about Marcellus Shale natural gas development.

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Research Grants (2)

Screening and Health Access for Immigrants in Philadelphia: Impact Evaluation Project

American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)/Center for Disease Control (CDC): Public Health Project 


Ethical Principles for Global Health Nursing Practice: A Delphi Study

Association of Community Health Nurse Educators 


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Select Academic Articles (5)

Health Concerns of Northeastern Pennsylvania Residents Living in an Unconventional Oil and Gas Development County

Public Health Nursing

Ruth McDermott-Levy, Victoria Garcia


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Developing Curriculum Recommendations for Environmental Health in Nursing

Nurse Educator

Jeanne Leffers et al.


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Challenges and Successes in Making Health Care More Accessible to Rural Communities in Waslala, Nicaragua Using Low-cost Telecommunications

Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC)

Pritpal Singh, Ruth McDermott-Levy, Elizabeth Keech, Bette Mariani, James Klingler, Maria Virginia Moncada


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Promoting Cultural Understanding Through Pediatric Clinical Dyads: an Education Research Project

Nurse Education Today

RuthMcDermott-Levy, Mary Ann Cantrall, Kathryn Reynolds


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Fracking, the Environment, and Health

American Journal of Nursing (AJN)

Ruth McDermott-Levy, Nina Katkins, Barbara Sattler


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