207 Sturzebecker Health Sciences Center
West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383
Phone: 610-436-2931
Dr. Cinelli, Chairperson
Dr. Carson, Graduate Coordinator


Debra Bill, Ph.D., Temple University
Lynn Carson, Ph.D., Temple University
Bethann Cinelli, D.Ed., Pennsylvania State University
Tammy James, Ph.D., Kent State University
Gopal Sankaran, M.D., Dr.P.H., University of California, Berkeley
Maura J. Sheehan, Sc.D., University of Pittsburgh
Charles V. Shorten, Ph.D., Clemson University

Associate Professors

James W. Brenner, Ph.D., Temple University
Tanya Gatenby, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Stacie Metz, Ph.D., St. Louis University

Assistant Professors

Mary Elizabeth Bowen, Ph.D., Virginia Polytechnic Institute
Sharon DeJoy, Ph.D., University of South Florida
Donald McCown, M.S.S., L.S.W., Bryn Mawr College
Christine Williams, Ph.D., Middle Tennessee State University


Lynne Hamilton, M.Ed., Slippery Rock University

Program of Study [top]

The Department of Health offers degree programs leading to the master of education in health (M.Ed.) and the master of public health (M.P.H.).

The M.Ed. enriches academic preparation for teaching health education in elementary and secondary schools. A concentration in school health is offered.

The M.P.H. is designed primarily to meet the individual needs of the graduate student pursuing a career in public health, with emphasis in community health, environmental health, health care management, integrative health, and nutrition.

Communication with the Department

All inquiries and other communications regarding the graduate program in health should be addressed to the coordinator of graduate studies. Students also may call for information at 610-436-2138, fax at 610-436-2860, or e-mail

Master of Public Health [top]

The master of public health is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health. For more information on the M.P.H. program, contact the department.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet the basic requirements of the University for admission to graduate study and must present either a baccalaureate degree attained in their anticipated major area of health or equivalent preparation in a related field, and three letters of recommendation. Students applying to the M.P.H. program need an undergraduate course in statistics. Students who do not have adequate academic and professional preparation in the desired program of study will be required to take foundation courses. WCU undergraduates may be eligible to fast track into the M.P.H. program. Contact the department for details.

Requirements for Admission to Degree Candidacy

Within the 12-15 semester hours of precandidacy, majors in health must complete departmental and concentration core courses with a minimum grade point average for these and all other courses during precandidacy of 3.0.

Requirements for the M.P.H.

Students must complete the M.P.H. curriculum shown below with a minimum overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0.

Curriculum (45 semester hours)

  1. Public health core (24 semester hours)
    ENV 530; HEA 520, 526, 630, 632, 648, 649, and 650
  2. Focused elective area (21 semester hours)
    Under advisement, students select a focused elective area. These are thematically related electives designed to provide the student with cohesive, comprehensive knowledge of key areas within public health. The focused elective areas are health care management, community health, environmental health, integrative health, and nutrition (see the Department of Nutrition, pages 88-89.) Contact the department for the current list of available electives in each area.

Graduate Certificate in Emergency Preparedness in Public Health

This certificate is designed for public health, environmental health, occupational health, and emergency professionals along with managers and educators who need to upgrade their skills in the area of protecting people in emergencies. HEA 520 provides a solid preparation in fundamental skills such as epidemiology and public health practice, while ENV 530 allows the student to learn how to identify, measure, and control environmental hazards. ENV 545 and 551 expand the student's knowledge about risks and how they are measured, modeled, and communicated. ENV 570 and 575 focus on the specifics of emergency preparedness and on the mitigation of the risks of chemical and biological hazards. For more information, contact Dr. Charles V. Shorten, 610-436-2360; fax, 610-436-2860; or e-mail,

Curriculum (18 semester hours)

Required courses:
ENV 530, 545, 551, 570, 575; and HEA 520

Important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended this program.

Graduate Certificate in Health Care Management

The graduate certificate in health care management provides health care professionals an opportunity to expand their knowledge of health care management issues. An accelerated format is available for many of the courses so the certificate can possibly be earned in three semesters or less.

Departmental Requirements

Applicants must meet the basic requirements of the University, given under "Admissions," and must present either a baccalaureate degree attained in their anticipated major area of health or equivalent preparation in a related field. They must also submit a one-page statement of career objectives and arrange for two letters of recommendation. For more information contact Dr. Tanya Gatenby, 610-436-2113; fax, 610-436-2860; or e-mail,

Curriculum (18 semester hours)

Required courses:
HEA 513, 514, 516, 613, 614, and 616

Important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended the Certificate in Health Care Management program.

Graduate Certificate in Integrative Health

The graduate certificate in integrative health is designed for healthcare professionals desiring graduate study of evidence-based integrated approaches to health promotion, disease prevention, and treatment. Please note that this certificate is not designed to prepare practitioners in any given modality. For more information, contact Dr. Bethanne Cinelli, chairperson, Department of Health, 610-436-2931; fax, 610-436-2860; or e-mail,

Curriculum (21 semester hours)

  1. Required course (3 semester hours)
    HEA 501
  2. Electives (18 semester hours)
    Select six graduate health courses under advisement:
    ENV 530; HEA 500, 510, 511, 512, 538, 545, 547, 550, 581 (e.g., homeopathy or traditional Chinese medicine); NTD 503

Important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended the Certificate in Integrative Health program.

Master of Education in School Health

Admission Requirements

In addition to meeting the basic requirements of the University, given under Admission, applicants must present a baccalaureate degree attained in the field of health, or equivalent preparation in a related field and two letters of recommendation.

Requirements for Admission to Degree Candidacy

Within the 12-15 semester hours of precandidacy, the student must complete departmental and concentration core courses with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0. Students who do not have adequate professional and/or academic preparation for the desired program of study will be required to take foundation courses. Teaching certification is not offered through this program.

Requirements for the M.Ed.

  1. Satisfactory completion of the M.Ed. curriculum shown below, with a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 in the concentration.
  2. Successful completion of the research project

Registration Policy for Research Credits

Research credits for the M.Ed. are earned in HEA 601. These credits must be preceded by successful completion of the degree core, concentration core, and concentration electives taken under advisement. The student can enroll in HEA 601 only once.

Curriculum (33 semester hours)

  1. School health core (6 semester hours)
    HEA 620, 622
  2. Concentration electives (24 semester hours)
    Selected under advisement
    School health electives (18)
    Education electives (6)
  3. Additional degree requirements (3 semester hours)
    HEA 601

Course Descriptions [top]

Symbol: ENV

524 Industrial Hygiene (3) A study of the recognition, evaluation, and control of health hazards in the work environment. PREREQ: ENV 530, permission of instructor.

530 General Environmental Health (3) This course will address the protection of human health from environmental disease agents. Students will learn current issues in environmental risk assessment, air and water pollution, waste management, and workplace health and safety. Students will use this information to communicate effectively the relevant environmental risk to populations they serve. Training and education strategies and the use of instructional resources, including the Internet, will be integrated into the learning experience.

532 Hospital Environment (3) A comprehensive assessment of the environmental health aspects of hospitals, including microbiologic considerations, environmental hygiene, safety, general sanitation, and administration.

533 Water Quality and Health (3) An examination of the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of natural waters and their significance for human health; methods of water treatment and distribution also will be considered.

538 Ground Water Contamination (3) Provides a qualitative and quantitative examination of the fate, transport, and remediation of contaminants in ground water.

545 Risk Assessment (3) Provides a qualitative and quantitative examination of hazard, toxicity, and exposure assessment to establish human health and ecological risk from environmental contamination.

547 Environmental Regulations (3) Provides a fundamental overview of major environmental law principles. Focuses on a wide range of air, waste, water, transportation, and occupational regulations.

551 Environmental Toxicology (3) A multifaceted investigation of the health problems caused by various toxins and hazards found in the general environment and the workplace. The human body’s reactions to environmental toxins; how suspected environmental toxins are experimentally investigated and the specific health effects of critical environmental toxins will be emphasized. PREREQ: ENV 530, permission of the instructor.

570 Emergency Preparedness (3) This course examines the historical, legal, and regulatory framework for dealing with emergencies emphasizing the four phases of emergency management. It addresses emergency preparedness by schools, businesses, communities, and counties for natural disasters, failures of technology (spills, accidents, and explosions), and acts of war or terrorism. The course is designed for professionals in environmental and public health, emergency responders (police, fire, hazmat, and medical), planners, educators, and others who may serve in a leadership capacity.

575 Bioterrorism and Public Health (3) This course addresses the protection of the public’s health and that of workers such as first responders from biological agents that cause disease and/or death. Students will learn current issues in disaster mitigation, how biological agents can be transmitted in the environment, measurement techniques, decontamination methods, the proper use of personal protective equipment, and response strategies for bioterrorism emergencies and related catastrophic events. Students will analyze and synthesize this information to analyze risk, communicate that risk, and develop policies and action plans to protect specific populations. Communication and coping strategies, group interaction, case studies, and the use of Internet resources will be integrated.

581 Special Topics (1-3) An in-depth study of selected, current topics relevant to the development of environmental health professionals. Specific topics will be noted in the master schedule. PREREQ: ENV 530, permission of instructor.

Symbol: HEA

500 Diseases (3) Provides a contemporary view of disease and prevention, and a more precise understanding of disease processes. Body systems are reviewed, and the etiology, pathophysiology, symptoms, diagnostic techniques, and treatment methods used in selected diseases are studied. Illnesses most frequently found in our society are explored.

501 Integrative Health (3) A comprehensive evaluation of alternative and complementary medicine aimed at describing how these modalities are being integrated with allopathic care. Focus will be on Eastern, African, and Native American traditions; homeopathy; naturopathy; botanical medicine; energy work; and mind/body health.

502 Human Development: Implication for Health Education (3) This course examines human development from an applied perspective. Health educators and others working with preschool and school-aged children, as well as adolescents will examine physical, cognitive, and emotional development. Course participants will explore developmentally appropriate approaches to education and mentoring of children and youth. The course includes the use of readings on contemporary issues and policy initiatives affecting children and youth, along with case studies.

506 Current Issues in Death and Dying (3) The course is intended to provide accurate information on a variety of topics related to death. Students will examine theories and concepts related to controversial issues of death and dying.

510 Adolescent Medicine Issues (3) This course is designed for the health professional working with adolescents. Topics will include eating disorders, sports medicine issues, risk behaviors, and other common concerns among adolescents.

511 Stress Management Techniques and Program Development (3) The first half of the course is devoted to examining basic stress concepts, the psychophysiology of stress, common stressors and their effect, and the relationship between stress and disease. The second half consists of a comprehensive review of stress management techniques that deal with cognitive restructuring, relaxation, and relationship building. Considerable emphasis is placed on personal application and group interaction in the classes.

512 AIDS and Public Health (3) Epidemiology of HIV/AIDS; natural history of HIV infection, psychosocial, economic, educational, ethical, legal, and health care issues related to HIV/AIDS will be addressed. Impact on social groups (minorities, women, and adolescents) will be discussed. Heath promotion and disease prevention strategies will be highlighted.

513 Legal Aspects of Health Care (3) An analysis of the basic legal concepts and major legal issues that are important to and directly affect the health services administrator. Topics include legal frameworks of health organizations and health practitioners, administrative policy, contracts, consent, patients’ rights, legal death, insurance, liability, and research.

514 Approaches to Health Care Delivery (3) The future of managed care depends on the performance of the managed-care industry, especially the goal of providing high-quality health care at the lowest costs possible. This course will discuss the challenges faced by managed-care organizations and strategies used to overcome them.

516 Health Care Management (3) Administrative and management techniques acquired in the administrative core are applied to the problems involved in health administration/management. Topics will include federal, state, and local health agencies; health care centers; organization principles; personnel factors; public relations; and fiscal management.

520 Public Health Epidemiology (3) An overview of the epidemiological model of disease causation. Various epidemiological study designs and their applications will be presented. PREREQ: MAT 121 or equivalent.

525 Elementary School Health Education (3) Trends in elementary school health: curricular approaches and emphasis, teaching strategies, motivational techniques, resources, materials, issues, problems, and evaluations. PREREQ: Background in elementary education.

526 Biostatistics for Public Health (3) An overview of scientific methods, research designs, sampling, and survey techniques pertinent to the study of health issues will be presented. Choice and use of epidemiological and statistical software to analyze health data sets will be emphasized. PREREQ: MAT 121 or equivalent.

527 Human Sexuality and Family Life Education (3) This course will address current trends in family life education and the development and implementation of programs in schools and community settings. Emphasis will be placed on developing appropriate content and strategies useful in the classroom.

529 Mental Health Issues and the School Health Program (3) This course provides an overview of mental health and counseling issues affecting children and youth in today's school and communities. The goal of the course is to broaden the student's understanding of key mental health issues children face in school and community settings. This course will provide relevant background information that will be used to promote positive mental health in the school, clinic, and community setting.

531 The Community as a Basis for Health (3) An analysis of the community with its diverse population and its response to critical and current health problems. Emphasis will be placed on the need for balance between individual and community needs, rights, and responsibilities.

538 Evaluation of Health Programs (3) Emphasis will focus on the procedures essential to the evaluation of health programs in a variety of settings (community, medical, school, worksite). Major areas include conducting quality assurance measures, data collection methods, and preparation of final reports. Includes both theoretical and practical experience.

539 Health Promotion Program Planning (3) An advanced program planning course that provides students with an opportunity to apply theories, principles, and teaching strategies and methods by developing a comprehensive plan for a health promotion program.

542 Nutrition for Health Fitness and Performance (3) The study of nutrition as it relates to health, fitness, and performance. Attention will be given to nutritional guidelines for optimal health and physical performance.

543 Transcultural Health (3) An introduction to the role of culture in health and illness, and its role in accessing and utilizing health care in the United States.

544 Program Administration in Health and Human Service (3) This course will provide students with the skills needed to administer community health programs in a nonprofit setting with a focus on program management in nonprofit agencies.

545 Mind/Body Medicine (3) A comprehensive evaluation of the mind's role in disease prevention and healing. Emphasis will be placed on learning and practicing mind/body techniques and assessing the mind's role in preventing disease and promoting healing.

546 Medical Geography for Management (3) This course is a survey of medical geography which includes a broad range of geographical work in health care. Emphasis is placed on human-environment interactions and their influence on public health. Medical geography distinguishes itself from the discipline of geography by its thematic focus, not its methods or theoretical grounding. Students will learn course content and develop their mapping skills through a computer-based program, helping students understand the importance of medical geography through the hands-on application of medical geography research.

547 Principles of Botanical Medicine (3) A comprehensive evidence-based assessment of botanical medicines in health promotion, disease prevention, and symptom management.

550 Evidence-Based Medicine and Public Health (3) A seminar on learning salient principles of evidence-based medicine and evidence-based public health and their applications to improve the health of individuals and populations.

555 Women's Health Issues - A Transcultural Perspective (3) Using a life cycle approach, this course makes a comparative analysis of women's lives and their health status across different cultures and nations. Women's health status as related to their multiple roles in the family and society will be examined.

581 Special Topics (3) In-depth study of selected health topics current to the interests and needs of professionals serving in various health and health-related areas. Topics will be announced prior to the first day of each semester.

601 Research/Report Writing in Health Education (3) The M.Ed. candidate selects a school health issue or a critical topic for review of the literature and produces a scholarly manuscript. PREREQ: Permission of instructor.

609 Independent Study and Special Projects (1-3) Research projects, seminar papers, reports of special conferences, and reading in health. PREREQ: Administrative approval.

610 Integrative Health Coaching (3) This course provides students with an overview of the theory and practice of health coaching in integrative health and health promotion programs and settings.

611 Field Placement (3) A project for students in health concentrations. All core course work should be completed before beginning the project. Permission of graduate coordinator required.

612 Health Care Financial Analysis and Management (3) An introductory health care finance course with emphasis placed on the most important accounting and financial management principles and concepts relevant to organizations that provide health care services.

613 Advocacy and Quality of Health Care Services (3) An introduction to patient advocacy for graduate students in health professions. Topics include ethics, health care financing and policy, health advocacy for special populations, and key strategies for system change.

614 Health Care Technology and Information Management (3) This course will provide future health care managers with the knowledge and skills they need to work effectively with information systems technology. Topics covered in this course include emerging technology, information systems, the Internet’s impact on health care organizations, and system standards, among others.

616 Strategic Leadership in Health Care (3) Health care industry requires visionary, creative, and transformational leaders who can navigate effectively through a dynamic and complex landscape. This course will provide foundational concepts and principles necessary for exercising strategic leadership.

620 School Health Programs (3) This course provides the theoretical underpinnings of the profession, professional responsibilities, and programmatic and critical issues in comprehensive school health programs.

622 Curriculum and Instruction (3) This course will address the foundation, philosophy, and practice of comprehensive school health education. Major focus in on the development, implementation, and evaluation of K-12 comprehensive school health education.

623 Substance Use Prevention (3) Designed for future and present school and public health educators, this course includes content and program planning skills for community and school: tobacco, alcohol, and other drug prevention curriculum and programs.

632 Social and Behavioral Aspects of Health (3) An advanced course on current theories in health behavior and the application of these theories to management methods in the health care field. Topics include trends in health behavior, health concerns, analysis of the decision-making process, and factors affecting health behavior.

645 Global Community Health Promotion (3) This course focuses on the core concepts involved in the planning, assessment and implementation of global community health promotion among different cultures from around the world. Topics will include key concepts in global  community health,  how to measure global community health, tools to assess a specific country's health status, culture, and resources, as well as strategies to improve a specific country’s health status,  issues of health equity and aging around the world, and key organizations involved in  global  community health. Students will be asked to develop a country-specific community health promotion plan from a global community health perspective.

648 Research Methods in Public Health (3) This course focuses on the theory and practice of research applied to public health problems. Students will be exposed to the design and implementation of public health research projects. The course is centered on the tools and techniques of research and their application to formal research design. PREREQ: HEA 520 and 526.

649 Applied Learning Experience I (3) This course prepares students for the Applied Learning Experience II which includes the culminating experience (research report) and practicum. This 100-hour preparation will include a comprehensive and integrated application of the M.P.H. curriculum in the development of the research and major project plan. PREREQ: HEA 520, 526, 648, and completion of 30 credits.

650   Applied Learning Experience II (3) This course enables students to complete their major project and research report during a 200-hour practicum at a community practice site. PREREQ: All course work must be completed before the start of this practicum.

Undergraduate Courses for Graduate Credit

The Department of Health has approved the following undergraduate course for graduate credit when scheduled with the approval of the student's adviser and department chairperson. No more than three credits of 400-level course work may be used to satisfy graduate degree requirements.

ENV 460 Industrial Hygiene II (3) Evaluation techniques for monitoring the industrial environment will be learned in a laboratory setting and in the field. These techniques will include monitoring of air quality, air flow, noise, heat stress, and radiation. Evaluation of personal protective equipment, pulmonary function testing, and audiometric testing also will be investigated. PREREQ: ENV 102, 452, or permission of instructor.