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Welcome to the Department of Psychological, Health & Learning Sciences, which houses a multidisciplinary faculty committed to rigorously training the next generation of counseling, school, quantitative and learning scientists and competently educating undergraduate students to prepare them for work in the fields of health and human development & family studies.

As a department, we value excellence, student success, community engagement, diversity, social justice and academic integrity. It is through intentional behavioral execution of these values that we doggedly pursue our mission to advance scientific knowledge, effect real-world change, maximize student potential for global competitiveness and enhance the quality and length of life in all segments of society through our scholarship, teaching and service.

Over the last few years, our faculty has grown at an unprecedented pace both in numbers and in accomplishments. We are a vibrant group: different in disciplines but drawn together through our shared values and a common mission. This is a place where excellence is incarnated, diversity is embraced and change is recognized as vital to growth. Through the tireless efforts of the previous Chair, Dr. Ezemenari M. Obasi, we have the privilege of inheriting a department on the cutting edge of best practices that is on a rapid trajectory to achieve national preeminence. It is our goal to facilitate our continued forward movement through the development and refinement of faculty, trainee and student initiatives that will solidify our place among the top departments of psychological, health and learning sciences – whatever their nomenclature – while nurturing and promoting that which makes us unique among them.

Explore our website and learn more about our degree programs, innovative research and teaching initiatives and community-focused work. Feel free to reach out to our faculty if you are interested in learning more. We hope that you will join our dynamic department and become an active part of our commitment to make a positive and meaningful difference in the lives of those we touch. We are the powerhouse - we are the University of Houston - we are where you want to be.

Lorraine R. Reitzel, Ph.D.

Department Chair

I have been affiliated with the Department of Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences since 2013 and now proudly serve as its Chair. My background is in clinical psychology, and I have worked in health disparities and public health for many years am pleased to have found my home in this department – where community engagement, diversity, and social justice are highly valued and part of everyday thinking about how to approach issues of relevance to the populations we serve.  I am a licensed psychologist with a deep commitment to issues of relevance to participation in research and to compliance with the Belmont Principles, as well as other codes as relevant to human subject participation in research studies. My research is in the area of cancer prevention, and I am invested in increasing the pipeline of underrepresented groups into cancer prevention science. I welcome student inquiries, and look forward to hearing from you as a humble representative of our great department of Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences!

Nathan Grant Smith, Ph.D.

Associate Department Chair

Dr. Nathan Grant Smith received his Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University. He completed a Congressional fellowship through the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Psychological Association and served as a legislative fellow in the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions under Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Dr. Smith's policy portfolio included HIV/AIDS, mental health, and substance abuse. Dr. Smith previously served as a faculty member at Texas Woman's University and McGill University in Montreal before joining the University of Houston’s Department of Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences. A Fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA), he has held numerous leadership positions within the Association, including chairing the Fellows Committee and the Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns in addition to serving on the Membership Board. Dr. Smith was recognized for his advocacy on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues by the APA Division 17 (Society of Counseling Psychology) Section on Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Awareness, who awarded him the 2008 Award for Significant Contribution to Social Justice and Advocacy.

Erica Jordan, Ph.D., CFLE

Assistant Chair for Student Success

I have been affiliated with the Department of Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences at the University of Houston since 2015 and now proudly serve as its Assistant Chair for Student Success. Over the course of my time here, I have taught hundreds of undergraduate students, and I am passionate about helping them to understand the connection between scientific inquiry and communities beyond the classroom. I have also served as the inaugural graduate Teaching Assistant Coordinator, charged with delivering training and ongoing professional development to departmental Teaching Assistants and Teaching Fellows. My vision as Assistant Chair in supporting Dr. Reitzel’s vision is to advocate on behalf of students through strategic initiatives that foster a sense of academic community, engage students in a vibrant culture of research, and provide support for graduate and undergraduate students as they progress toward their own future endeavors.