New graduate certificate, new department chair, new opportunities

SUNY Oswego will be offering a new Graduate Certificate in health and wellness beginning spring 2014 with the help of the new Health Promotion and Wellness Department chair, Dr. Sandra Bargainnier.

The graduate certificate is offered 100% online as a 12-credit, 4 course, professional development program, focusing on mind body wellness, healthy weight management, the behavioral change process and addictions.

The first course, Mind Body Wellness, will be offered spring 2014 and will be taught by Bargainnier.

“There’s been a whole change in that field and that there is a connection between the mind and body and how we think or feel and how that impacts us at a physiological level,” Bargainnier said.

New director, new direction

Bargainnier helped create the Health Promotion and Wellness program at SUNY Oswego 17 years ago and after many years of working in the health education field, has decided to return to SUNY Oswego.

As a dedicated athlete in high school, Bargainnier decided to continue her education in athletic training, an up and coming program at the time.

Bargainnier began her education as Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania, where she studied health and physical education with a concentration in athletic training.

Bargainnier attended graduate school at the University of Rhode Island for exercise science and worked as a graduate assistant athletic trainer with the D-I teams. It was during her work in the exercise research labs that she realized that she did not want to be a clinical researcher; she wanted to help people with changing health behaviors.

“At the time I was teaching aerobics and doing adult fitness and cardiac rehab as part of my exercise science program and I really liked working with the people,” Bargainnier said.

She decided her new path would be health promotion and wellness. This lead her to completing an internship in the Wellness Department at a local hospital in Rhode Island

“I developed a community wide walking program called “Ease on Down the Road,” Bargainnier said. “The event was on TV and in the paper, it was great.”

Bargainnier also educated employees on stress management, health and wellness.

“This is an opportunity for people to get professional development to help them move up in a company or for those who would like to get into the health industry,” Bargainnier said.
Health Promotion and Wellness, Chair

“That is when I realized I liked this whole area of employee health and wellness, so my Masters degree thesis and project were all around employee health and wellness with and emphasis on exercise,” Bargainnier said.

At the time, the pay for corporate health and wellness programs was very low and Bargainnier decided to take a position as a high school health teacher and became the head athletic trainer for 44 athletic teams.

Once again, Bargainnier decided to continue her education and attended Boston University for her doctorate in human movement and health. While obtaining her doctorate, Bargainnier worked full-time at Plymouth State University teaching exercise science and health education.

Bargainnier continued her work at the university level including Penn State University and Syracuse University, where she worked as the director of the health and physical education department and branded the I-MOVE program to promote physical activity opportunities for students, the campus and the neighboring community.

“It was a good time to transition from S.U. and come here because it’s an exciting time at Oswego, there’s great things happening. Having been gone for 15 years, it’s really exciting to see the changes on campus, with the facilities, and to see how progressive Oswego really is,” said Bargainnier

Health and wellness graduate certificate

According to Bargainnier, the goal for this graduate certificate is to help professionals who work in areas such as personal training, teaching or health care to refocus their attention on their own health and wellness in order to understand how to truly care for others.

“My hope is that these courses focus on personal development first and then provide the theories, models, strategies and tools to then take that knowledge and personal reflection of these topics and help others,” Bargainnier said.

The health and wellness graduate certificate can be paired with SUNY Oswego’s graduate counseling programs and the MBA in Health Services Administration.

The certificate is also for professionals in any area of the health care field looking to advance their career and better understand their clientele.

Another unique aspect of the certificate is that it provides the required “12 credits in a related field” that New York State students who graduated in health or physical education (P.E.) need to obtain the health or P.E. professional certification, while attending graduate school.

“This is an opportunity for people to get professional development to help them move up in a company or for those who would like to get into the health industry,” Bargainnier said.

The courses for this certificate will provide a framework for how students can make behavioral changes and will help them determine how to motivate behavioral change in others.

SUNY Oswego also offers health-related certificates in play therapy, gerontology, trauma studies, health information technology and integrated health systems.