Deborah Gagnon

Deborah Gagnon

Professor of Psychology and Health Sciences

Zabriskie 308


On September 8, 2023, Deb Gagnon, Professor of Psychology and Health Sciences and Lindsay Burwell, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Health Sciences, were invited to attend a luncheon sponsored by Healthy Workforce Now and Area Health Education Centers of New York State. Deb and Lindsay were asked to attend since they are seen as leaders in New York State in developing and implementing Rural Health Immersion Programming. Wells College developed the first Rural Health Immersion Program in New York State, which other undergraduate and medical school programs have now adopted or are working with Lindsay and Deb to develop.

Professors Deborah Gagnon and Lindsay Burwell presented on ten years’ worth of data from the Rural Health Immersion Program in a symposium entitled, Rural Health Immersion: A Case Study at the Triennial Meeting of the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions (NAAHP) on June 17, 2022 in Denver, Colorado.

From Aug. 18 to Aug. 23, 2019 Leah Elliott, assistant professor of biology; Linda Galbato, director of academic and career advising; Deborah Gagnon, professor of psychology; Sarah Markowitz, associate professor of psychology; and Lindsay Burwell, assistant professor of chemistry, took six students (Kara Reynolds ’20, Shenelle Buckley ’20, Jessica Mebane ’20, Taylor Sofo ’20, Morgan Gravlin ’22 and Aliah Gilkes Richardson ’21) to Carthage Area Hospital for the 2019 Rural Health Immersion Program. Throughout the week, students were able to experience how health care is carried out in a rural community and collect feedback from health care providers and community members about the quality of health care in that region. The feedback was presented at an open community presentation at the end of the week.

Professor of psychology Deborah Gagnon sponsored two Wells students who presented their work on March 2 at the Eastern Psychological Association conference in New York City.  Michelle Pradella ’19 presented her senior thesis research project, “Self-Care on Campus: A Climate Report.” Barbara Hebbard ’19 presented archival findings from work conducted with Professor Gagnon, “An Archaeology of Artifacts: Digging into the History of Psychology at Wells College.” Professor Gagnon also presented a symposium with Carol Weisse (Union College) on “Special Homes for the Dying: Student Opportunities for Direct Patient Care” at the Northeastern Association of Advisors in the Health Professions conference in Boston, Mass. on March 30.

During the week of August 13th  Deborah Gagnon, Professor of Psychology, Thomas Stiadle, Professor of Math, Leah Elliott, Assistant Professor of Biologyand Lindsay Burwell, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, went to Carthage Area Hospital along with six Wells students to participate in the Rural Health Immersion Program.  The Wells College Health Science Committee designed this program in collaboration with the Northern Area Health Education Center (NAHEC) and Carthage Area Hospital to provide students with hands-on healthcare experiences in a rural community. In addition to working with providers, students were asked to collect feedback from Carthage residents about services provided in the area.  At the end of the program, students gave a presentation open to the entire community to summarize the feedback they collected throughout the week.

Deborah Gagnon, Professor of Psychology, attended and participated in the Association for Psychological Science annual meeting held in San Francisco, CA (May 2018), including a pre-conference on the Teaching of Psychology.  Professor Gagnon received funding through the Endeavor Foundation to support this professional development work.


In June, Professor Gagnon presented “Development of Empathy and End of Life Care Competencies in a Comfort Care Home Model: The Wells College/Matthew House Experience,” as part of a Symposium (Gaining Competencies through Partnerships with End-of-Life Care Agencies: It’s not Always about Finding the Cure) at the 2018 Meeting of the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions in Washington, DC.  Symposium co-presenters included C. Weisse (Union College), V. Iaffa (CUNY), and D. Swarner (Dickinson College).  Professor Gagnon also received a grant through NAAHP to support the presentation of this work.  Professor Gagnon continued her service this academic year as Associate Editor of the journal Psychology and Cognitive Sciences.

Deborah Gagnon, Professor of Psychology, and Dr. Taylor Newton, assistant professor of psychology (Lenoir-Rhyne University), co-presented an Interest Group Session on teaching research methods and statistics at the 64th Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association, Charleston, SC on March 9.  The conference paper will be published by the Society for Teaching of Psychology in the upcoming third annual volume of Teaching Tips: A Compendium of Conference Presentations on Teaching, 2017-18, edited by Richard L. Miller.

Deborah Gagnon, Professor of Psychology, published her chapter “A ‘Troublesome Effort’: Focused Attention and Deep Processing in the Digital Age of Teaching and Learning” in R. J. Harnish, K. R. Bridges, D. N. Sattler, M. L. Signorella, & M. Munson’s The Use of Technology in Teaching and Learning, an edited volume published by the American Psychological Association.

Professors Deborah Gagnon, Professor of Psychology and Kristy Blake-Hodek, Assistant Professor of Biology presented “Rural Health Immersion @ Wells College” at the Biannual Meeting of the National Association of Academic Advisors in the Health Professions on June 16, 2016 in Minneapolis, MN.  The presentation was part of a special session titled “Rural Health Program and Immersion Models” which also featured colleagues from Southern Utah University and Snow College, Karen Ganss and Carrie Torgersen, who presented on the rural health model they developed for pre-health students in Utah.

Associate Professor of Psychology Deborah Gagnon accompanied psychology majors Stephen Armstrong ’16, Holli Erkson ’16, Anna Olczyk ’16, and Amber Telfer ’16 to the 44th Annual Western Pennsylvania Undergraduate Psychology Conference held on April 16 at Gannon University (Erie, PA).  All four students presented their empirical work at the conference; Dr. Gagnon supervised Holli Erkson’s project (Test of a Holistic Needs Model of Romantic Relationships) and Amber Telfer’s project (Students’ Knowledge of Accommodation Rights and Responsibilities), while Dr. Milene Morfei supervised Stephen Armstrong’s project (Sustainable Drinking: Improving Drinking Water Practices on a College Campus) and Dr. Sarah Markowitz supervised Anna Olczyk’s project (Treatment of Academic Procrastination in College Students).