Lilah M. Besser, Ph.D., MSPH
Lilah M. Besser, PhD, MSPH, is an Assistant Professor in the School of Urban and Regional Planning and in the Institute for Healthy Aging and Lifespan Studies at Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Besser’s current research is primarily focused on the intersection between neighborhoods, the built environment, aging, and health.
Dr. Besser’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Science in Biology, a dual-degree Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) in Epidemiology and Environmental and Occupational Health, and a PhD in City and Regional Planning. Since graduating with her MSPH in 2004, she has researched and published studies on a variety of public health topics, but principally on the built environment and health, birth defects, and dementia/cognition. Her prior work in public health was conducted while employed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, at the Veterans Administration (VA) Puget Sound in Seattle, Washington, and at the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center in Seattle, Washington. While working at the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center, Dr. Besser collaborated with experts in the dementia field to conduct research on cognition in older age and on Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.
Dr. Besser’s work at the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center inspired her to marry her interests in the built environment and health and in dementia for her PhD dissertation, which focused on neighborhood built environment characteristics associated with cognition in non-demented older adults. The main focus of her future research will be to expand upon her dissertation study using improved methodologies. The ultimate goal is to provide evidence to planners, architects, urban designers, policy makers, and public health professionals (among other disciplines) on neighborhood environments that can help maintain cognitive abilities into older ages and allow for aging in place.
Abstracts of Dr. Besser’s published articles can be found here.