Hiram College
Elizabeth Piatt, Ph.D. Photo

Elizabeth Piatt, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Sociology

My teaching philosophy is reflective of my firm belief in the value of a liberal arts education, experiential learning, and community service, as well as my love of the sociological perspective. As a sociologist, I have to teach students about that perspective. But, I think it is also important that my students develop transferable skills that employers value: written and oral communication skills, critical thinking and problem solving; and that they understand the importance of being engaged in their communities both at Hiram and at home. I use my own involvement in community organizations to provide students with high impact experiences. For example, some of my students have worked with me to help low-income communities assess barriers to walking in their neighborhoods. Other students helped conduct a community needs assessment for Native Americans living in Ohio. More recently, students have designed, conducted and analyzed a survey to evaluate the effectiveness of a mental health fair. I also have helped a number of students complete their own research projects. All of these experiences allow students to use their sociological skills to address real world problems, and build their resumes.

My research focuses on race disparities in physical and mental health, and social determinants of health more generally. I am particularly interested in evaluating community-based programs aimed at reducing these disparities, and work with the State of Ohio Commission on Minority Health to evaluate programs in Northeast Ohio that they fund. In addition, I also work with a group of researchers at the Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) on research examining the physical health of people with serious and persistent mental illness, and projects that investigate the ways in which narrative (people’s stories) can draw attention to and address race disparities in medicine and healthcare.

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Inequality
  • Research Methods
  • Sociology of Mental Health/Mental Illness
  • Sociology of Health and Health Care
  • Inequality and Health
  • Work and Family

Fields of Interest

  • Medical Sociology
  • Inequality
  • Social Psychology
  • Community-Engaged Research


  • B.A., Kent State University
  • M.A., University of Akron
  • Ph.D., Kent State University


  • Piatt, Elizabeth, Mark Munetz and Christian Ritter. 2010. “An Examination of Premature Mortality Among Decedents with Serious and Persistent Mental Illness and Those in the General Population.” Psychiatric Services. 61: xx-xx.
  • Iris J. Meltzer, Elizabeth Piatt, James Fitzgibbon and Norman Jentner. 2008. “Prevalence of Substance Use Among Detained Youth: A Midwestern Experience.” Journal of Adolescent Health 42: 2: 48.
  • James Boex, C. William Keck, Elizabeth Piatt, Thida Nita Nunthirapikorn, and Robert S. Blacklow. 2006. “Academic health centers and public health departments: partnership matters.” in American Journal of Preventive Medicine 30: 1: 89-93.
  • Kristen Marcussen and Liz Piatt. 2005. “Race differences in the relationship between role experiences and well-being.” health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness, and Medicine. 9: 3: 379-402.

(Click here to view full curriculum vitae)