Magdalena Ornstein-Sloan

MA, Columbia University, Teachers College. MPH, Hunter College. PhD, CUNY, The Graduate Center. During 15 years of work in the nonprofit sector and 20 years as a personal health care advocate, Dr. Ornstein’s experience encompasses individual and public-policy advocacy related to the delivery of long-term and end-of-life care. She is a Certified Brain Injury Specialist (CBIS) and has served on advisory boards of the New York State Office for the Aging Family Caregiver Council, New York State Caregiving and Respite Coalition, Caregiving Youth Research Collaborative, and American Association of Caregiving Youth. As a health geographer, her research focuses on the experiences of informal family caregivers, specifically related to caregiver interactions with the formal health care system. Special interests include brain injury and qualitative methods. She teaches environmental psychology at SLC and food studies and public health at The New School in New York City. SLC, 2015–

Undergraduate Courses 2020-2021

Psychology

Public Health Psychology

Open , Seminar—Spring

This course will address the intersection of public health and psychology—an approach with the potential to positively impact health experiences and outcomes, although the disciplines are not often considered together. Because health is determined by the interaction of myriad complex factors—including biology, lifestyle, environmental factors, and social and political conditions—multidisciplinary approaches are needed to address our most pressing public health problems. Community psychology is particularly interested in social change, activism, reducing oppression, and empowerment; public health focuses on assessing prevalence and incidence, as well as identifying risk and protective factors and changing individual health behaviors. Our approach will look at health and community psychology, in combination with public health, to explore various perspectives and interventions related to current health and social problems. The two disciplines vary in their approaches to interventions, with individualistic approaches on the one hand and population level on the other. Students will be invited to explore issues related to personal health and illness, population-level approaches to health promotion in order to identify macro-level structures, and individual-level barriers to achieving health equity. Topics of inquiry will be led by student interest and will include environmental, occupational, and behavioral health; housing and displacement; aging; physical and cognitive disabilities; and food and health.

Faculty

Food Environments, Health, and Social Justice

Open , Seminar—Fall

With obesity and diabetes rising at alarming rates and growing awareness of disparities in food access, researchers and policymakers are rethinking the role of the environment in shaping our diets and health. This course takes a collaborative approach to investigating some of the key issues guiding this area of research and action. Students will critically review literature on food environments, food access, and health inequalities and explore how modes of food production and distribution shape patterns of food availability in cities. Students will use voice, photography, and video to examine foods available in the neighborhoods where they live and review media related to the course themes in order to reflect on the ways that their own eating habits are influenced by the social and material settings of their day-to-day lives. The course concludes with students writing letters to the editor/Op-Ed to a news outlet of their choice with suggestions about how to move forward with action to improve food access, public health, and social justice in the places where they live.

Faculty

Environmental Psychology: An Exploration of Space and Place

Open , Seminar—Fall

This course explores human-environment interactions and the relationships between natural, social, and built environments in shaping us as individuals. We will critically explore human interactions from the body, home, and the local to the globalized world, with a return to the individual experience of our physical and social environments. As a survey course, we will cover myriad topics that may include informal family caregiving, urban/rural/suburban relationships, gentrification, urban planning, environmental sustainability, globalization, social justice, and varying conceptualizations and experiences of “home,” based on gender, race, class, age, and people with disabilities. As a discussion-based seminar, topics will ultimately be driven by student interest. Films and a field trip will be incorporated.

Faculty

Previous Courses

Environmental Psychology: An Exploration of Space and Place

Open , Seminar—Fall

This course explores human-environment interactions and the relationships among natural, social, and built environments in shaping us as individuals. We will critically explore human interactions from the body, the home, and the local to the globalized world, with a return to the individual experience of our physical and social environments. As a survey course, we will cover myriad topics that may include informal family caregiving, urban/rural/suburban relationships, gentrification, urban planning, environmental sustainability, globalization, social justice, and varying conceptualizations and experiences of “home” based on gender, race, class, and age and for people with disabilities. As a discussion-based seminar, topics will ultimately be driven by student interest. Films and a field trip will be incorporated.

Faculty

Public Health Psychology

Open , Seminar—Fall

This course will address the intersection of public health and psychology—an approach that has the potential to positively impact health experiences and outcomes, although the disciplines are not often considered together. ​​Because health is determined by the interaction of myriad complex factors—including biology, lifestyle, environmental factors, and social and political conditions—multidisciplinary approaches are needed to address our most pressing public-health problems. Community psychology is particularly interested in social change, activism, reducing oppression, and empowerment, while public health focuses on assessing prevalence and incidence, as well as identifying risk and protective factors and changing individual health behaviors. ​Our approach will look at health and community psychology, in combination with public health, to explore various perspectives and interventions related to current health and social problems. The two disciplines vary in their approaches to interventions, with individualistic approaches on the one hand and population level on the other. Students will be invited to explore issues related to personal health and illness, as well as population level approaches to health promotion, in order to identify macro-level structures and individual-level barriers to achieving health equity. Topics of inquiry will be led by student interest and will include: environmental, occupational, and behavioral health; housing and displacement; aging; physical and cognitive disabilities; and food and health.

Faculty

Food Environments, Health, and Social Justice

Open , Seminar—Spring

With obesity and diabetes rising at alarming rates and a growing awareness of disparities in food access, researchers and policymakers are rethinking the role of the environment in shaping our diets and health. This course takes a collaborative approach to investigating some of the key issues guiding this area of research and action. Students will critically review literature on food environments, food access, and health inequalities and explore how modes of food production and distribution shape patterns of food availability in cities. Students will use photography and video to examine the availability of food in the neighborhoods where they live, review media related to the course themes, and use a time/space food diary to participate in a SNAP Challenge (eating on a food stamp budget), while reflecting on the ways that their own eating habits are influenced by the social and material settings of their day-to-day lives. The course concludes with students writing letters to the editor/Op-Eds to a news outlet of their choice, with suggestions about how to move forward with action to improve food access, public health, and social justice in the places where they live.

Faculty
Related Disciplines

Family Caregiving Across the Life Cycle

Open , Seminar—Fall

There are only four kinds of people in the world: those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers. —Rosalynn Carter

Care and caregiving are aspects of daily life that each of us depends upon at various times throughout our lives. Yet care remains hidden and devalued in our current sociopolitical climate in which women continue to provide a majority of care. In this course, we will look at care as both an orientation and an activity provided by family and friends to people with disabilities and older adults. An Ethic of Care will provide a lens through which to explore the experiences of family caregivers. Specifically, caregiving youth, young adult, and male caregivers—as well as paid caregivers and care receivers living with a variety of chronic illnesses—will be our focus. Utilizing ethnographic research methods, we will explore care and caregiving from a variety of perspectives. This course will take an interdisciplinary approach and introduce students to the various literature on family caregiving. From psychology to public health, we will consider care as a reciprocal process that ebbs and flows throughout the life course. We will read from feminist theory, critical disabilities studies, psychology, and public health and will look at how care is portrayed in popular culture, film, and books. We will learn about individual and policy responses geared toward supporting family caregivers, as well as organizations that are dedicated to creating better conditions of care for all of us.

Faculty
Related Disciplines