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Rita Sumner, B.S., M.S., M.P.H., Ph.D.

Contact Information

Office: Urban 670-17
Telephone: 503.725.8330


Rita Finn Sumner, Fixed-Term Assistant Professor of Public Administration, earned her B.S. in Biology from Florida State University, M.S. from Oregon State University in Health and Safety Administration, and both her M.P.H. specializing in Health Administration and Policy, and Ph.D. in Public Administration and Policy from Portland State University.  Outside of a 5-year military service period as a United States Air Force officer and navigator on a KC-135A aircraft, since 1975, Dr. Sumner has served in various capacities in environmental and occupational health within the public sector.  

Currently, Dr. Sumner teaches courses within the Civic Leadership undergraduate minor. In addition, she serves as the coordinator for the University Studies Leading Social Change cluster. 

Research Focus & Interest

  • High Reliability Organizations
  • Occupational Health


Ashcom, G., Janeba, N., Mistry, N., & Sumner, R., (2007). Smoking/tobacco use policy evaluation: A summary of work by the smoking/tobacco use sub-committee. Portland State University.

Gelmon, S.B., McBride, L.G., Sumner, R., & Norvell, K. (2001). Final evaluation report: Nonprofit education—community alliances project. W.K. Kellogg grant report. Portland State University.

Gelmon, S., McBride, L., & Sumner, R. (2000). Evaluation report: 2000 Northwest spring symposium. W.K. Kellogg grant report. Portland State University.