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Department of Health Studies

Offering programs in health promotion, nutrition education, and public health.

Department of Health Studies

The mission of the Department of Health Studies is to educate and empower future leaders in the field to improve the health status and wellbeing of individuals, communities, organizations, and societies. This mission is achieved through innovative education, transformational research, creative partnerships, and policy-change advocacy. Health issues are of universal interest and relevance, transcending the boundaries of race, religion, culture and national origin.

Degree Programs & Careers


Our graduates put their expertise to work promoting health outcomes, policy, and research locally, nationally, and globally. Here are just a few recent examples of alums' career paths:

  • Research Associate at National Institute of Health
  • Nutrition Educator at Maryland Snap-Ed
  • Program Associate at Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids
  • Wellness Coordinator at NFL Players Association
  • Assistant Fitness Director at Sport & Health
  • Health Communications Specialist at USAID
  • Senior Director, Customer Engagement at Cigna
  • Research Associate at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research
  • Lifestyle Educator at Kaiser Permanente
  • Education Specialist at the Capitol Area Food Bank

Faculty Experts’ Corner: Stacey Snelling

Chair of health studies, Stacey Snelling talks about how her department has transitioned to active and engaging online learning, while engaging with students and serving many communities in Washington, DC, from teachers to healthcare workers.


Department News

Professor Liz Cotter has recieved funding for the K23 award which grants patient oriented research funding for 5 years.

Professor Melissa Hawkins was featured in a new article in The Conversation about what the huge undercount in COVID-19 testing means for the US. 

Faculty In the Field

  • Professor Jessica Owens-Young spoke with American Public Media to help the reporter understand racial disparities and the coronavirus pandemic and DC’s response.
  • Professor Melissa Hawkins was featured in an article by the DCist on the region’s rise in Covid-19 cases.
  • Professor Melissa Hawkins was featured in a CNN piece, among others, as part of Sanjay Gupta’s Reopening project on accessing routine health care during Covid-19. 
  • See more Health Studies News.



Alumni ·

Student-Athlete Alumna Coaches AU 5K/10K Training Program Virtually

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27 Number of grants awarded to our department to promote health in Washington, DC

126 Students, faculty, staff, and volunteers working with us

69 Number of publications, reports, and presentations to disseminate this work