Campus News

Homish named chair of community health and health behavior


Published December 4, 2019

headshot of Greg Homish.

Gregory Homish

Gregory G. Homish, a psychiatric epidemiologist with expertise in substance use and mental health, has been named chair of the Department of Community Health and Health Behavior in the School of Public Health and Health Professions following a national search.

Homish’s appointment took effect Nov. 28. He had served as the department’s associate chair since 2015, and became interim chair in February 2019 when Gary Giovino, a SUNY Distinguished Professor in the department, stepped down from the post to transition into a new role as the school’s associate dean for faculty affairs.

Dean Jean Wactawski-Wende announced the appointment of Homish, who is also a professor in the department, in an email to faculty, staff and students.

“I couldn’t be more delighted that Dr. Homish has chosen our school as his professional home,” Wactawski-Wende said. “His work dovetails perfectly with our goal of improving the health of communities and populations. His dedication to that goal is evident in his significant body of work.”

“I am thrilled to have been selected for this position from among a nationwide pool of candidates,” said Homish, who joined UB in 2007. “The research being conducted by faculty, staff and students in the Department of Community Health and Health Behavior at UB is making tremendous contributions to our understanding of some of the biggest public health issues today. I am looking forward to supporting these talented individuals in every way I can as department chair.”

Homish is a principal investigator on a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a study that will evaluate the Opioid Intervention Court strategy and compare in various ways the outcomes of OIC participants with a group of participants enrolled in traditional drug treatment court.

The other principal investigator is Linda Kahn, professor and associate vice chair for research for the Primary Care Research Institute in the Department of Family Medicine at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Among other topics, Homish has studied how substance use and misuse impact families, investigating topics such as how drinking and smoking might affect marriages. He has also investigated these issues in the context of the military, with research focusing on military personnel, including reservists.

Last year, Homish received a $2.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue his study examining the health of soldiers who have never deployed and those who are separating from the military. The study will examine how, over time, these two factors impact changes in the health of soldiers and their spouses.

Homish also studies disaster response in rural areas and the effect of emergency response on first responders.

He is a member of the Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee of the World Trade Center Health Program.

Homish holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and psychology from The Pennsylvania State University and a PhD in epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh. He did his National Institute of Mental Health postdoctoral training in epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.