July 17, 2024

The Health

Your health, your choice

Latest News: Director of Public Health Chrysan Cronin Retires

Director of Public Health Chrysan Cronin Retires

Cronin, who taught at the College for 30 years, will continue to practice public health as an emerita professor.


By:



Meghan Kita



 Thursday, June 6, 2024 04:16 PM


A college professor in glasses smiles while teaching a classAssociate Professor and Director of Public Health Chrysan Cronin

When Associate Professor and Director of Public Health Chrysan Cronin joined the College in 1994 as a biology lecturer, her job was to design the labs for all the intro courses. The biology department gave her free reign to order the supplies she needed and build what she wanted.

“I had my own little space,” says Cronin. “I’ve always had that at Muhlenberg, which I’m very grateful for. I’ve always been afforded opportunities to pursue my own interests.”

About a decade into her career, one of those interests became public health. In 2004, the then dean of academic life identified the potential of adding a Public Health Program. Cronin was part of a faculty task force to design a minor using existing courses plus a new introductory course. In 2006, Muhlenberg became the first small, private liberal arts college in the country to establish a public health minor. At that time, Muhlenberg had no public health faculty; faculty from a variety of disciplines (including psychology, biology and media & communication) taught the courses, including the intro course.

“Public health at Muhlenberg is at the top of its game, and I’m so incredibly proud of [the program] and what we’ve all done to make it happen.”
—Associate Professor and Director of Public Health Chrysan Cronin

“I did my master’s in public health at Johns Hopkins because I thought, ‘Somebody needs to know what public health really is to run this program,’” Cronin says. “I was always interested in public health, but it wasn’t a thing when I was going through school as an undergrad or even in grad school for the first time, when I was getting my biology master’s.”

Cronin finished her master’s in 2009 and became the program’s director shortly after. She then pursued a doctorate from Johns Hopkins, one of the top-ranked public health schools in the world, while continuing to teach full-time at Muhlenberg, making the three-hour drive to Baltimore at least twice a week for six years.

Muhlenberg added a public health major in 2015. It’s now the 13th most popular major at the College.

During that time, Muhlenberg added a public health major, in 2015. It’s now the 13th most popular major at the College, with close to 100 students pursuing it as a major or minor.

In retirement, Cronin plans to continue practicing public health as an emerita professor. She will finish utilizing the EPA grant she received last year over the summer, some of which will go toward a partnership with the City of Allentown to produce PSAs related to her primary area of research: radon, a colorless, odorless gas that’s the leading cause of lung cancer behind smoking.

While Cronin will miss the people at Muhlenberg, especially her students, she is content to leave the College on a high note: “Public health at Muhlenberg is at the top of its game,” she says, “and I’m so incredibly proud of [the program] and what we’ve all done to make it happen.”


link