Health Promotion


Health Promotion research focuses on the prevention of disease and facilitation of wellness by maintaining or maximizing the health potential of individuals, families, communities, and societies. Health promotion emphasizes the achievement of an optimal level of health through health education, disease prevention, and health protection1 Research goals include the identification of determinants of health, the avoidance of disease complications, and the development and evaluation of strategies to modify health knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors.


Examples of major trends and opportunities in extramural funding

Current Funding:

US Department of Health and Human Services, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Missouri Department of Transportation, Missouri Foundation for Health, and the Community Partnership of the Ozarks.

Other Opportunities:

The National Institute of Health (Including the various institutes and centers), Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Agency for Health Research and Quality (AHRQ) Missouri Department of Education and Secondary Education all have current grant funding available in the area of health promotion.


Examples of areas of knowledge you anticipate will experience the most dramatic growth

The NIH is currently emphasizing research on health promotion in the areas of ethnic and minority disparities, worksite health, oral health, obesity and health literacy. Research on outcomes of health promotion and disease prevention interventions, including health status, quality of life indicators, and cost/benefit analyses are also evident. Many local, state, and federal agencies are funding studies related to the leading health indicators identified in Healthy People 2010 2 (physical activity, obesity, tobacco and substance abuse, sexual behavior, mental health, injury and violence, environmental quality, immunization, and access to care). Rising rates of morbidity and mortality related to chronic diseases, such as diabetes and cardiac disease are fruitful areas for funding.

Unique Resources:

Examples of unique existing resources as well as current needs in Missouri, the Ozarks, and/or Springfield regarding economic development, technological advances, cultural enrichment, physical well-being, and/or social prosperity

Existing Unique Resources:

Missouri State University has a history of funding in the areas of health promotion related to health screening, risk reduction, health education, and interdisciplinary research. Examples of resources to support health promotion research include: the Speech, Language, and Hearing Clinic, the Physical Therapy Clinic, Taylor Health and Wellness, health programs that utilize student placement in community clinical sites, and the many community partnerships already established with Departments in the University. The Ozarks Public Health Institute (OPHI) is a resource for individuals doing research in health promotion and collaborations could result in proposals for external funding. Missouri State University is the only public institution to offer an Audiology Doctorate in the state, and the Master of Social Work program is only one in the region. The Division of Statistics and Research is providing a valuable service to area health organizations. Multiple faculty have cited research agendas that include a "family institute" that would support expanded clinical activities unique to the region including providing resources in couples counseling, healthy families, conflict resolution, advocacy, and disability support. The area of Counseling has a Specialist Degree Program ready to submit through governance and when funding is available, this program would include a thesis requirement to support faculty/student research.

New Resources:

The new Missouri State University wellness initiative for faculty, staff, and students currently under development would be a fruitful area for research.

Current Needs:

The region, due to the demographics of the population in the Ozarks, is at risk for many health problems. In addition, state budget cuts have affected the health care of many individuals in the state. Health problems in the region include high rates of alcohol, tobacco, and drug abuse, obesity, and teenage pregnancy.


Examples of new collaborations in research and/or learning as well as linkages to the University's existing and emerging research strengths

There are many opportunities for new multidisciplinary and multi-agency collaborations for research in this area. The current projects in the University (OPHI tobacco grants, the Missouri Health Foundation grant to address health of Hispanics in Monett, and the Department of Health and Senior Services grant for newborn screening ) all are examples of fertile fields for research. Faculty in dietetics and psychology and Taylor Health Center are working on the benefits of a program for weight loss and management. The current discussion about general wellness and how it may fit in with future faculty/staff benefits has significant potential for research. Also, the many healthcare agencies and organizations in the area provide fertile areas for collaboration and research in the areas of practice and health systems

The HPER Department has many research collaborations that are ongoing in the community (LIFE, Body Walk, the Step Club) and funded by the public school system, local hospitals, and the Springfield-Greene County Park Board. There are several labs involved in these initiatives, including the Biomechanics Laboratory, Exercise Science Laboratory, Perceptual Motor Development Laboratory.

The promotion of international collaborations for health promotion research would be beneficial.


Examples of building on existing strengths

Departments in the University have a history of being involved in the community and community agencies (nursing, public health, social work, CSD, sports medicine, PA, PT, Health Services Administration). Missouri State has a history of external funding from federal, state, and local state agencies. The Division of Statistics and Research collaborates with other Department and organizations within Missouri State and external to Missouri State. Faculty in the University have research agendas in many areas of health promotion, to include: the exploration of anger as a treatment modality, hearing, language acquisition, diabetes, obesity, wellness, the evaluation of interventions affecting health and wellness, and health literacy and education, to name a few. Faculty have success in interdisciplinary funding.

Mission Fit:

Examples of compatibility with the University's statewide mission in public affairs

Research involving the promotion of health is unquestionably valued by society and is aligned with the public affairs mission of the university. The promotion of health and reduction of factors that contribute to disease and illness are a societal concern evidenced by the many local, regional, state, national, and global initiatives. The research collaboration of disciplines and agencies to address areas of health promotion will allow projects that provide a broader view of health and yield advances that will add to the growing body of knowledge in the area of risk reduction and disease prevention.

Education Fit:

Examples of contributions to superior undergraduate, graduate, and professional education

Expanding and promoting the current health–related programs in the university will contribute to excellence and continued professional education. The current Doctorate of Audiology is the only state-supported AuD program in the state. Graduate programs in Speech-Language Pathology, Clinical Psychology, Nursing, Social Work, Physician Assistant Studies, and Physical Therapy Sports Medicine and Athletic Training, all afford students valuable practicum opportunities in the community directed at health promotion. Multiple clinical programs and laboratories across campus serve as potential vehicles for collaborative student, faculty, and community based research.

New programs may also include the Doctorate of Public Health, and the Doctorate of Nursing Practice, which draw on faculty and existing courses from throughout the University.

Many of the health programs at Missouri State have national accreditation (audiology, dietetics, nursing, nurse anesthesia, physician assistant studies, physical therapy, social work, speech-language pathology, sports medicine and athletic training, and HPER).


Health promotion is a major concern of the region, state, nation, and world, and will continue to be so. The need for health promotion is highlighted in the US Department of Health and Human Services initiative, Healthy People 2010. The Health of individuals, primarily the underserved, is targeted in many local, state, and federal grants which are fertile for funding. The promotion of health in undeveloped nations continues to be a major world problem. The response of the health care system to public health concerns, as evidenced by the bioterrorism, the recent flu and SARS epidemics, increasing antibiotic resistance will be elevated in the future.

Recommendations stated in the Research Task Force Statement for the New Five-Year Plan (2/2/05) should be operationalized in order to sustain and expand research efforts including public awareness initiatives to support faculty recruitment, incentives and rewards for faculty in line with record of productivity, recognition and support for faculty supervision of student research, teaching loads commensurate with research outcomes. There is a need to enhance the infrastructure in many areas to enhance success in receiving funding for federal grants (e.g. NIH, NSF, AHRQ, CDC). Areas in need of enhancing are: faculty, especially senior faculty with federally-funded research programs; resources available from the Office of Sponsored Research and Programs; and faculty workload issues across campus to accommodate research.

1 The Cochrane Collaboration (2006). Cochrane health promotion and public health field. Obtained January 12, 2006 at

2. US Department of Health and Human Services (2000). Healthy People 2010, (Conference Edition in 2 volumes, Washington, DC: Author.