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New Undergraduate Degree Will Focus on Wellness and Health Promotion

New Undergraduate Degree Will Focus on Wellness and Health Promotion

A new Bachelor of Arts in Wellness and Health Promotion Practice prepares students to work in emerging roles such as health educators and wellness coaches.
The Bachelor of Arts in Wellness and Health Promotion Practice will prepare students for a variety of careers such as as community health workers, health educators or health coaches.

In response to the growing demand for health and wellness workers, the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health is now offering a Bachelor of Arts in Wellness and Health Promotion Practice. The new degree will be offered in-person and online starting this fall.

Health coaches can provide significant benefits to increase overall wellness, including guiding individuals to modify behaviors and helping them navigate the health care system.“This is a great degree for students who want to help others develop healthy lifestyles and experience overall wellness,” said Velia Leybas Nuño, PhD, MSW, assistant professor and program director for the new degree. “Students who earn this degree can work in health care, health departments and elder care. They can become a community health worker, a health educator or a health coach. This field is predicted to grow significantly over the next 10 years, making the need for trained public health professionals essential.”

Developed collaboratively by faculty and community partners, the degree is the only one of its kind in the Southwest. The experiential learning model combines classroom study with practical, hands-on experience. Practicums and internships will take place in a variety of settings, including homes, communities, governmental organizations, businesses, health care centers, hospitals, schools, faith-based organizations and other non-governmental organizations.

By putting the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom into practice, students will gain a competitive edge for careers in the growing field of corporate and community health and wellness. Students will also be well positioned to pursue advanced degrees in public health, nursing, nutrition or medicine.

The bachelor’s degree allows students to specialize in one of three tracks: health and wellness, health education, and aging and population health. In each track, students will learn to conduct health needs and resource assessments, and to plan health promotion services and interventions using the latest research-based evidence to promote behavior change and healthier lifestyles. Coursework in the health education track makes students eligible to take the Certified Health Education Specialist exam through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing.

The Bachelor of Arts in Wellness and Health Promotion Practice was inspired and enabled by Mel Zuckerman, whose founding gift supported the establishment of the Zuckerman College of Public Health in 2000. Zuckerman’s own journey to wellness prompted him to launch the Canyon Ranch Health and Wellness resort, based in Tucson, Arizona. He and his wife, Enid, have been champions for health and wellness ever since, and this bachelor’s degree is part of that legacy. 

“We are very excited about this new degree offering, the Bachelor of Arts in Wellness and Health Promotion Practice,” said Iman Hakim, MBBCh, PhD, MPH, dean of the Zuckerman College of Public Health. “It represents a new chapter in Mel Zuckerman’s public health legacy. This degree will train the next generation of corporate and community health workers to promote health and wellness among diverse communities.”