Welcome to the Department of Health Education

Thank you for visiting the Department of Health Education’s website. While exploring our website, you will see that the department has a wide array of academic degree programs, faculty, and projects.


Administratively housed in the College of Health & Social Sciences, the Department of Health Education was originally founded to educate elementary and secondary school health education teachers. Since that time, the department has blossomed, and it currently offers a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Health Education with emphases in community-based health, holistic health, and school health.


In terms of minor fields, we offer a health education minor, holistic health minor, and a women’s health minor. The holistic health program also offers a certificate program. At the graduate level, we offer a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in Community Health Education. We serve over 2000 students each semester in our classes and we have 300 undergraduate majors and 60 graduate students.


Both the Bachelor of Science in Health Education and the Master of Public Health in Community Health Education programs are accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.


We have approximately 18 full–time faculty members and a number of part-time lecturers. Many of our faculty members have training in health education and others have training in related fields, reflecting both the interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary nature of the health education field. All faculty members are engaged in research and/or community projects. We invite you to get to know our faculty better by viewing the profiles on this website, and contacting individual faculty if you so choose.


Besides the academic programs, our department is involved in two large scale externally funded projects. Both of these projects are housed in Community Health Works, which is a partnership of SF State and City College of San Francisco. More information about the Metro Academies College Success Program and Welcome Back can be found under the Department Funded Projects tab on this website.


Thank you again for visiting our website. Should you have any questions, please contact individual faculty members or write to our department office staff at hed@sfsu.edu.



Mary Beth Love, Ph.D., Professor & Chair

José Ramón Fernández-Peña, MPA, MD, Associate Professor & Associate Chair


Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Health Education at San Francisco State University is to prepare public health professionals to work at individual and community levels for health equity and social justice, through a participatory learning environment that integrates theory, research and practice; honors diversity through a cultural humility lens; and fosters teamwork, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication skills.

The Department's Institute for Holistic Health (IHHS) offers a model undergraduate program in self-care and the role of holistic perspectives in health and healing. IHHS provides the University community with knowledge and skills that encourage and support health through  natural means focusing on a rich cross-cultural, trans historical vision of human well-being.


The Department of Health Education, originally known as the Department of Health and Safety Education, was organized in 1949 as a department within the Division of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. The primary program areas of the department at that time were: 1) a major and minor in school health education; 2) school health education courses for elementary education majors; and 3) school health education courses designed specifically for physical education majors.

In 1962, with the passage of the Fisher Bill related to the credentialing of teachers in California, health education was recognized as a single subject, and increasing numbers of students majored in health education in preparation for teaching in public schools. In addition to the credential major in health education, the department offered a liberal arts major leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree, continued to offer special health education courses for elementary and physical education majors.