International & Global Studies

Megan Benka-Coker

Assistant Professor

Health Sciences



Campus Box 0432


Science Center
Room 148 A
300 North Washington St.
Gettysburg, PA 17325-1400


BA Gettysburg College, 2009
MPH Emory University, 2011
PhD Colorado State University, 2018

Academic Focus

epidemiology; environmental health; household air pollution

Research Interests

Dr. Benka-Coker’s work focuses on household air pollution and the health impacts of exposure to biomass burning. Dr. Benka-Coker has studied household air pollution in both urban and refugee populations in Ethiopia as well as in rural populations in Honduras. Her doctoral research explored exposure characterization of household air pollution from biomass stoves in Honduras. She evaluated ultrafine particle (nanoparticle) number concentrations in the homes of families using biomass cookstoves. Additionally, she explored the association between household air pollution exposure and markers of exhaled nitric oxide and markers of systemic inflammation.

In her current and future work, Dr. Benka-Coker hopes to address the intersection of the biological, environmental, social, and economic factors that influence the health of populations around the world who utilize biomass for cooking. Her work hopes to target gaps in our understanding of the impact of household air pollution on population health and poverty, as well as the potential for energy poverty interventions (improved cookstoves) to reduce the burden of disease attributable to household air pollution.

Career Path

Dr. Benka-Coker received her Bachelor of Arts from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania in Health Sciences and Globalization Studies in 2009. During her undergraduate career, she had the opportunity to study abroad in Uganda and this sparked her interest in global public health. In 2011 she earned her Master’s Degree in Public Health from Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health in Global Health with a concentration in community development. She also received a graduate certificate in Complex Humanitarian Emergencies from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Megan received her Ph.D. from Colorado State University Environmental Health and Epidemiology.  

Courses Taught