Assistant Professor, Architecture

Education: University of Virginia, Master of Architecture; University of Virginia, Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering

Schaeffer Somers is a registered architect and assistant professor in Architecture and Public Health at the University of Virginia. Schaeffer incorporates a human-centered approach in all of his research and teaching in the School of Architecture and Medicine. His current research focus in Architecture concerns the design of healthcare environments. His courses in Public Health Sciences explore evidence-based and collaborative research methods with the goal of creating a healthy, equitable and resilient future. Schaeffer has co-developed a course, Built Environment & Public Health: Local to Global, to explore the relationships between the environment and health through an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning. A related workshop, Health Impact Assessment (HIA), applies systems thinking to understand how design and policy impacts social and environmental determinants of health as the basis for evidence-based design and planning. Schaeffer is the Principal Investigator of a HIA awarded through the Pew Charitable Trusts and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to assess the impact of housing and community development projects on the population health of the Santo Domingo Pueblo, a Native American tribe in New Mexico. Schaeffer also has funded research to analyze and evaluate the design of Maggie’s Centers in the United Kingdom as healing spaces for cancer survivors. The analysis combines traditional architectural field work with quantitative simulation of spatial configurations. Schaeffer’s undergraduate degree is a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and his first professional experience was designing software for astronaut training in the Space Station Program at Johnson Space Center.