Aliza Richman, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Associate Professor of Sociology

Aliza Richman, Ph.D., M.P.H.


Read Dr. Richman's article "American Individualism May Be the Death of Us," Medium, March 25, 2020.

Aliza D. Richman is a sociologist and demographer interested in social disparities in health and well-being, biodemography, sub-Saharan Africa, and the environment. She received her doctorate in Sociology and Demography from the Pennsylvania State University and a Master's of Public Health from Northwestern University. Dr. Richman brings a unique and interdisciplinary lens to her teachings and scholarship framing her research as a demographer and sociologist with public health leanings. She joined the faculty at West Chester University as an Assistant Professor of Sociology in 2014.

Dr. Richman's teaching puts into practice the notion that there is congruence between the learning process and field of scientific inquiry, with both areas helping inform the other. She strives to promote critical thinking, content mastery, communication skills, and a basic understanding of sociological research methods and data through the integration of scholarship. As a scholar, Dr. Richman is continually acquiring knowledge and refining her ways of thinking. Through teaching, she hopes to encourage her students to do the same.

Dr. Richman enriches our campus community with several course offerings including SOC 361: Sociology of Medicine, SOC 364: Sociology of Aging, and SOC 245: Environmental Sociology, a brand new course to WCU created by Dr. Richman (fulfills the General Education Behavioral and Social Science Distributive requirement). Further, Dr. Richman developed WCU in Ghana, a month-long study abroad program in Ghana. For more information on studying abroad in Ghana, please see the 'WCU in Ghana' tab below.

ghana kente

WCU in Ghana: Students and Dr. Richman in Bonwire, the home of Kente cloth weaving.

Courses Taught

  • SOC 200: Introduction to Sociology
  • SOC 245: Environmental Sociology
  • SOC 361: Sociology of Medicine
  • SOC 364: Sociology of Aging
  • Topical Seminar: Contemporary African Society

Areas of Specialization

  • Population health
  • Medical sociology
  • Biodemography
  • Social stratification
  • Sociology of gender and race/ethnicity
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Aging and the life course

WCU in Ghana

Come explore the sights, sounds, and tastes of Ghana while earning WCU credit. Ghana is a country of great culture, history, democratic stability, and geography, which will be the focus of this month-long, faculty-led study abroad experience. Situated in Africa, north of the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean, Ghana's coastline hosts sandy beaches as well as historical presence. The University of Ghana in Legon will be our home base while studying and residing, immersing ourselves among Ghanaian faculty and students. Throughout the course, we will travel the country, experiencing first-hand many of the topics covered in our lectures and discussions. A sampling of destinations include: Cape Coast and Elmina Castles - ports of exit for the transatlantic slave trade; Kakum - rainforest and canopy walk; Kumasi - home of the Ashanti people and Ashanti Chief's palace; Bonwire - a village home of the colorful kente cloth; Lake Bosomtwe - the largest lake in Ghana; among other destinations. Come for the experience of a lifetime made possible by the generous hospitality and friendliness of the Ghanaian people! Click here for more program information and to apply.

What do WCU in Ghana past participants have to say about their experience?

"Travelling to Ghana for a month was absolutely one of the best and most fruitful experiences I’ve ever had the privilege to enjoy. Not only were the various excursions fun and exciting but just being in the everyday life of such a different country was beyond eye-opening."

"I want go back. I definitely want to go back as soon as I can. I loved every second of it, I loved how healthy it made me feel, I loved being so close to my culture, I loved how friendly everyone is, it was almost like a dream world to me. Being in Ghana again made me so happy and I'm extremely glad that I got the opportunity to experience this at this stage of my life. If I could do it again, I would."

"I am so incredibly thankful to have experienced Ghana with Professor Richman; she did such a fabulous job planning, and we got to experience so much in such a short amount of time. She conducted research in Ghana during graduate school, and has visited four times since. Dr. Richman is absolutely the perfect person to run this program because she knows the country and culture so well, and handled any mishaps with grace. I hope that any students who are considering studying abroad in Ghana are ready for the amazing adventure they would embark on."

"Some of the best things about this program are that the students get to learn a culture and experience it simultaneously. I enjoyed the classroom lecture topics, because they explain and were comprised of the materials needed to understand Ghanaian culture and foreign society. The trips we took were also very helpful for us to see what is around and beyond the main area of stay; it showed us the diversity of the country."

"Something I would tell those who are thinking of studying abroad in Ghana is to take advantage of this experience because there's nothing like it. It's really an unforgettable experience, and I could do it all over again (maybe even the ant bites). There are multiple scholarships available to help alleviate the costs to make this experience more tangible, because you definitely want to experience this."

ghana bosomtwe

WCU in Ghana: Students and Dr. Richman at Lake Bosomtwe, Ashanti Region.

Gana Larabanga

WCU in Ghana: Students visiting school children in the village of Larabanga, Northern Region.

ghana mosque

WCU in Ghana: Students tour Larabanga Mosque, the oldest mosque in West Africa (est. 1421), Northern Region.


WCU in Ghana: Students in lecture presentation by Dr. Adriana Biney of University of Ghana's Regional Institute for Population Studies.

field work

WCU in Ghana: Students conducting field research with Dr. Mumuni Abu in Greater Accra.


WCU in Ghana: Students visit Jamestown fishing village in Greater Accra.

Read more Faculty Profiles

Back to top of page.