Department of Health Studies
MPH in International Health and Development, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine;
BA in Human Biology, Brown University
Elissa Margolin is a full-time faculty member in the Department of Health Studies. Prior to joining American University (AU), she worked for nearly a decade in the service of some of the world’s poorest, providing technical direction, management, and leadership of national-level public health programs in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. As Senior Technical Advisor and Team Lead with the U.S. government in Vietnam, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, she oversaw multi-million-dollar comprehensive HIV prevention programs, managed inter-agency teams, and mentored rising technical experts in the field. Her passion for global health was cemented when, as a young professional, she spent a year coordinating community pediatric nutrition and recuperation programs in rural Haiti.
Elissa has utilized her extensive technical and programmatic leadership experience to significantly expand the global health focus at American University in the Department of Health Studies, including through the creation of classes such as: Sex, Drugs, & HIV: The Evolution of a Pandemic; Global Maternal & Child Health; Global Nutrition; and Global Health Perspectives.
Elissa plays a leadership role in higher education reform efforts to support the wellbeing and resilience of the administration, faculty, and students, thereby promoting the flourishing of the full campus community. She has created, piloted, and brought to scale a mindful wellbeing curriculum that is offered to all incoming freshman at American University. She has also delivered numerous presentations, invited lectures, and trainings on topics such as Mindfulness, Anti-Racism, and Educational Leadership; Mindfulness, Trauma, and Professional Sustainability; and Mindfulness as a Tool for the Sustainable Health of Individuals & Organizations.
Elissa is deeply committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and holds various leadership roles to advance these efforts on campus. She currently serves as the Chair of the Faculty Senate Committee for DEI; she also sits on the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate and is the Campus Representative to the Board of Trustees Committee on DEI. She has also led and participated in several Faculty Learning Communities on Anti-Racist Pedagogy and Culturally Sustaining Classrooms.
Elissa leverages her global health experience, her capabilities as an educator, her DEI commitment, and her skills as a Certified Mindfulness Meditation Teacher and a registered advanced yoga teacher (E-RYT500) to provide leadership and innovation in engaged pedagogy, envisioned by bell hooks as one that promotes reflection “about how to live” and catalyzes and sustains meaningful engagement in the world.