In the fall of 2020, Saint Leo University is excited to unveil a new degree program within the ever-growing health discipline. This is a first for the university in its 131-year history.

This new undergraduate degree program is the Bachelor of Science in Health Education and Health Promotion. Th health education program helps prepare students for careers in a wide range of health education and promotion roles.

We recently caught up with Dr. Kathy Van Eerden, associate dean of the College of Health Professions at Saint Leo University, to learn more about this health education degree program.

Q: What is your educational and professional background?

A: I have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I earned my PhD in Leadership in Higher Education from Cardinal Stritch University.

In addition to my career in academia, I a registered nurse with experience in medical and surgical nursing, population health, school health, and home care.

Q: How did you wind up coming to Saint Leo University to help start its new College of Health Professions?

A: I have spent of my career in nursing education s an educator and associate dean I was dean of Nursing and Health Sciences where I oversaw respiratory therapy program helped launch a new bachelor's program was closely involved in framing the broad curriculum for that new program.

Q: How would you define the term health education?

A: application of teaching and learning strategies to help improve the health and wellness of people within a particular community. In health education, work is done across a wide range of populations and within a variety of settings.

It's important to realize that health education involves the concept of educating others health

Q: Why did Saint Leo University decide to launch this health education degree program?

A: While Saint Leo University has a long history across many disciplines, had never formally pursued

Given the demand for health professions and projections for the future, Saint Leo wanted to meet the call. ealth professions align well with our core values and mission

In addition, there is a strong interest in health professions within the community This field is also in the spotlight with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic .

Q: What types of students is this degree program geared toward?

A: We are looking for students who are interested in and have a deep passion for health and wellness but may not have a desire to work as a clinician . teaching and education health promotion.

Q: How is this program delivered and what is the availability of the faculty?

A: This health education degree program is launching in the fall of 2020. It will be offered on ground at University Campus. However, we do plan to offer an online version of this program in

Thanks to our student-instructor ratio, our faculty are available to work with students

Q: What topics are covered in the coursework?

A: The coursework covers a broad range of topics across the health education and health promotion spectrum.

  • Nutrition
  • Wellness
  • Physical, mental, and emotional health
  • Population-focused health and wellness
  • Use of technology in health education

I should also mention that the first This give students a the health and prepares them the core courses on health education and health promotion.

Q: What is the certification option available in this program?

A: There is a voluntary national certification which graduates of this program may pursue. pass exam become Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). mployers and hiring agencies see this certification as a desirable .

Our program aligns with the national standards for health educators, so we are confident that students will be prepared the exam should they choose to pursue it.


Q: Who are the faculty teaching in this program?

A: our College of Education and Social Services

This program is a true collaboration and interdisciplinary effort as we are leveraging the strengths offaculty

Q: What makes this degree program unique?

A: This program is unique in We have faculty who are experts in wellness and provided significant input into the development of the curriculum. We have a strong emphasis on the education-based coursework in terms of preparing students for a wide range of teaching opportunities. We also focus on brain-based learning, working with a diverse group of learners, and best practices

Q: What are some specific career opportunities one would qualify to attain with this health education degree?

A: The settings for this career field include:

  • Health education and promotion roles within hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities
  • Health education and promotion roles within government agencies (i.e., Centers for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health, etc.)
  • Education, communications, or PR roles within local community agencies in the public health space
  • Education, communications, or PR roles within local, state, or national nonprofit organizations (i.e. American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, etc.)
  • Workplace wellness coordinator

Q: What does the current and future job market look like for health education?

A: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, health education is considered a "bright outlook occupation." It's projected to grow 16 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is significantly faster than many other occupations. A big part of this growth will be driven by new technology and evolving healthcare services.

The BLS also states that the latest figure on median annual wage for this field is $55,220. The lower 10 percent of this group in terms of income earned less than $32,890 annually, while the higher-tiered 10 percent earned at least $98,680.

Q: What are some examples of graduate degree programs one could pursue with this degree?

A: There are several graduate degree programs a student who earns this bachelor's degree could pursue. One is a Master of Public Health. An MBA in a health-related specialization could also be an option.

Of course, could pursue a physician's assistant program or a range of other healthcare programs

Q: How can prospective students learn more about this BS in Health Education and Health Promotion degree program?

A: Feel free to contact m, Dr. Kathy Van Eerden, at he program page