Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Health Education at San Francisco State University is to promote health and health equity at the individual, community, and structural levels through transformative education, research, scholarship and service, all of which value diversity, engage communities and are grounded in cultural humility.

Our mission, goals and objectives reflect the following public health values:

  • We affirm that health is a human right. Public health practitioners must be motivated by profound compassion and the desire to create a world in which human rights and social justice are the norms.
  • We believe the health of the public demands a workforce that is intellectually rigorous, socially engaged. and culturally and linguistically diverse. An educated citizenry is critical to the improvement of public health. 
  • We embrace an ecological approach in the preparation of public health professionals.
  • We honor community wisdom about the causes and solutions to the problems we face.
  • We partner with communities to co-create new knowledge to build the evidence necessary to advance public health, health equity, and social justice.


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.