Expand AU Menu

Health Promotion | Program History

The School of Education, Teaching & Health's Health Promotion Program provides opportunities for students to learn and experience aspects of fitness, movement, and sport that last through a lifetime of physical activity. The diversity of courses emphasize the development of physical skills and the acquisition of cognitive understanding. Students are urged to participate in these courses early in their college years so that they may acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to reduce the pressure of a busy, stress-filled schedule. To achieve these goals, students need to attain the levels of fitness and skills that are the requisites for sports activities. In addition to psychomotor skill development, students should acquire an understanding of fitness and wellness as they apply to their individual lifestyles. Fitness activities and sport skills that can be enjoyed throughout life are part of the education of each American University student. Students are encouraged to explore the interdisciplinary relationship between courses of this program and those of other schools and departments within the university.

Overview of the Health Promotion Program

The School of Education, Teaching & Health's Health Promotion Program is a part of the College of Arts and Sciences. In addition to the BS in Health Promotion, the program also offers an MS degree in Health Promotion Management, and elective courses including fitness activities, sport skills, stress management, lifetime wellness, and sports psychology. In order to give each student exceptional attention and support, the number of students enrolled in the courses are kept small. At any one time, there are about 35 students in the BS program and 40 students in the MS program.

The Health Promotion Program has a long history in health promotion and wellness. Founded in 1980, the program continues to train leaders in the field through its graduate degree in health promotion management. The graduate program has earned international recognition for its progressive health promotion curricula. Today more than 300 graduates work throughout the world in a variety of health promotion positions. These graduates actively network through the annual alumni directory, providing internship opportunities to students and employment opportunities to graduates.

Research at the Health Promotion Program

The faculty and professional staff of the Health Promotion Program and the National Center for Health Fitness have been involved in research for the last twenty years. They were one of the first to have examined the relationship between participation in corporate health promotion and the costs associated with health care utilization, absenteeism, productivity, and health risks. The research was based on data obtained over the years at the Army Materiel Command Health Promotion Program and other NCHF contracts. This research has been presented in national and international forums. All students have the opportunity to be involved in research at the DHF/NCHF, by working with one of the full-time graduate faculty.

National Center for Health Fitness

American University's National Center for Health Fitness provides students in the BS and MS programs with many helpful resources and facilities. These include the William I Jacobs Fitness Center, the United States Postal Service Headquarters Health Promotion Program, and the International Institute for Health Promotion.

These resources enable experiential learning opportunities in the areas of comprehensive health promotion programming, cost-benefit research, and strategic planning initiatives for organizations interested in worksite health promotion. In addition, the Center has a human performance laboratory with state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment for assessment of cardiovascular fitness and pulmonary function; a physical fitness center fully equipped to accommodate all forms of human conditioning; a body composition laboratory with modern hydrostatic weighing facilities; and computer communications systems.

International Institute of Health Promotion Internship

The IIHP is a worldwide interdisciplinary network of prestigious institutions working in the health promotion field. The IIHP was formed in 1994 to serve as a global center for the development and advancement of health promotion policies, programs, services and research. As the headquarters for the Institute, the NCHF serves as the facilitator for health promotion efforts of more than 50 cooperating institutions from 25 nations.

Internship opportunities abroad can be generated by contacting IIHP network members. Additional internship opportunities are available with the Program Manager here at the NCHF. Students can participate in international seminars, conferences or other special events on campus or in the city, and meet health promotion professionals from around the world. Students are welcome to visit the IIHP office and browse through the growing international collection of materials and/or talk with the Program Manager to learn more about what's going on outside of the U.S.

Contact Dr. Robert Karch at (202) 885-6275 to benefit from the IIHP activities and phenomenal global network.

Washington, DC

Our Washington, DC location puts the student within minutes of the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging, President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, and National Library of Medicine as well as many nonprofit organizations, such as the American Heart Association. For more information on Washington DC, check out DC Connections.