Emily Ahonen has focused on work and housing environments as they interact with health and well-being. She also evaluates interventions, both to understand processes and to demonstrate outcomes in a variety of public health challenges. Prior to joining the FSPH, she spent several years at the University of Illinois at Chicago as a faculty member and a post-doctoral researcher, and also worked in health promotion with migrant agricultural workers.

Research Interests

I am interested in power, context, processes, agency, poverty, and their entanglements with health and well-being states. I operationalize those concepts most frequently through the study of employment, occupation, working conditions, and housing quality as fundamental contributors to health status. Because I am interested in health equity, and in the processes that shape health status for groups of people, I most often use qualitative and mixed methods designs, and collaborate regularly with scholars in other disciplines. Most recently, I have been exploring the idea of employment and work quality from the perspective of the specific groups of workers, and migration decision-making. What forms does quality work take? What is the worker experience of that work? In what ways does work interact with health and well-being, as the workers themselves see it? What makes for quality employment and work, and for whom? What kinds of work grant access to what kinds of health promoting or health inhibiting resources?  How does migration evolve as a process over time, and how do people navigate that process? 

 As an educator in a field with professionals from many disciplines, I am also interested in how students envision the multiple environments which act upon health status. Their visions shape their approaches to problems and the solutions they will imagine for those problems. In newer work, I have begun to explore student views and what they might mean for environmental and occupational health education.

Courses Taught

  • PBHL A519 Environmental Science in Public Health