Graduate certificate helps students understand importance of overall health

As the first semester for the Health and Wellness Graduate Certificate wraps up, Sandra Bargainnier, chair for the Health Promotion and Wellness Department, feels positive about its future.

The certificate is one of many health related graduate programs SUNY Oswego has developed to fill industry gaps.

According to Bargainnier, the certificate is for professional and personal development, helping students advance in their profession or enter the health care industry.

This semester 17 students registered for the first course, Mind, Body, Wellness. Enrolled students come from various backgrounds such as nursing, health administration, health and physical education teachers, and mental health counseling. Courses are offered 100 percent online.

First course, first semester

The first course, taught by Bargainnier, focused on brain physiology, psychoneuroimmunology, mindfulness, stress management and health and healing.

Aside from reading books and articles and learning content from TED Talks, the Khan Academy and YouTube, students have also had to participate in and reflect on many experiential activities.

“They’ve had to drive mindfully, exercise mindfully, eat mindfully”, Bargainnier said. “They’ve been asked to meditate and really just reduce distractions in their lives."

The course also includes discussions and self-assessments based on the evidenced-based practices in the field. Students are given the time to think and reflect in order to work on their own wellness.

“Students take that new knowledge and apply it in their current workplace or in their future workplace,” Bargainnier said. “The certificate gives people that background of health content.”

Evan Bigam, Community Development Specialist at SUNY Oswego, is currently a student in the certificate program.

“They’ve had to drive mindfully, exercise mindfully, eat mindfully”, Bargainnier said. “They’ve been asked to meditate and really just reduce distractions in their lives."
Sandra Bargainnier, Chair
Health Promotion and Wellness Department

“I was looking for a professional development opportunity,” Bigam said. “I have always had a passion for health and wellness topics, so I felt like this would help provide me with current and accurate information for the betterment of myself as well as to be able to assist with students in this area.”

In his position at SUNY Oswego, Bigam oversees several residence halls on campus where he works directly with students and staff on hall programming and administrative activity.

This summer

The next course for the certificate will take place this summer and will be taught by Amy Bidwell, assistant professor for the Health Promotion and Wellness Department.

Healthy Weight Management, HSC 512, will have a strong emphasis on nutritional sciences, exercise science and using those concepts and theories to help people manage their weight or create a program to help others with weight management.

“I’m trying to really get the students to understand that how you manage your weight can really affect your overall wellness,” Bidwell said. “It’s important because people think so much about the number on the scale, but there is so much more to it.”

The course is an integrative approach to nutrition, exercise and stress management to maintain weight and overall wellness. It will encompass discussion questions and also a number of clinical case studies.

“One of the main projects of the course will be a nutrition and exercise analysis on themselves,” Bidwell said. “They will become familiar with free Internet sources that people can use, where they can assess these particular types of behaviors like nutrition and exercise.”

Students will have the skills to be able to develop a weight management program and the understanding of how it affects overall wellness.