Health education professor to receive national technology award

By: ISU Communications and Marketing Staff, ISU Communications and Marketing Staff
February 14, 2012

The American Association for Health Education (AAHE) has selected Maureen Johnson of Indiana State University to receive the 2012 AAHE/HEDIR Technology Award.

The award recognizes Johnson, assistant professor of health sciences in Indiana State's College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services, for outstanding contributions to health education through the use of technology. The award has its roots with the Health Education Directory but is no longer affiliated with the directory.

"The award is most deserved and it is with honor that I present it to you," AAHE President Thomas Davis said in a letter to Johnson. She will receive the award during the AAHE/American Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance national convention March 15-16 in Boston.

The award is largely in recognition of Johnson's work with the AAHE student involvement committee, said Linda Moore, AAHE's acting executive director.

Johnson is the creator and manager of the AAHE4Me student website and she created a regular series of free webinars for students.

"Her dedication to students and the technology they use is awesome," Moore said. "She is on the forefront of communications for the next generation health education specialist."

AAHE4Me provides undergraduate and graduate students a place to interact with one another and with professionals. It also helps students identify internship, study abroad and job opportunities and provides resources to assist with classes or internships. It also allows students to post accomplishments from their classes or news about chapters of Eta Sigma Gamma, the health education honorary fraternity.

"It is a tremendous honor for me to receive the award," said Johnson, who has been involved with AAHE4Me for the past five years. "It makes me feel good because I have been trying to help students become more involved within the profession. I was there once and I know how difficult it can be to attend conferences and to network with others while carrying a full class load."

Students in one of Johnson's classes during fall 2011 developed a disease education website and Johnson has posted a link to the site on AAHE4Me. She said such tasks help students break out of their comfort zone.

"I'm hoping this is a skill they can take with them and build on throughout their professional lives," she said. "It's not just a matter of success in class; it's a matter of building on that success throughout life."

Charnele Williams, senior health sciences major from Chicago who took Johnson's Health 403 class in the fall, called her a great teacher who is helpful and open with students.

"Learning about different communicable diseases that affect the public was an interesting class," Williams said. "Doing the website was very beneficial to me as well as the class because it gave us a chance to advance our skills in technology."

Linneka Sneed, senior health sciences major from Indianapolis, called Johnson a caring professor who is always willing to help her students.

"Creating a disease education website meant a lot to me because I was able to gain a technological skill that will aid in bringing awareness to others about a particular disease," said Sneed. "Being in Health 403 has taught me a lot about communicable diseases, which will be a guide to me in my future career."

Richard "Biff" Williams, dean of the College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services, noted that Johnson's award for use of technology follows on the heels of national recognition by U.S. News & World Report for the college's online graduate nursing program in the category of student services and technology.

"Technology plays an ever increasing role in health care delivery and education, especially in underserved rural areas where many of our graduates will serve," Williams said. "We share Professor Johnson's excitement at being recognized nationally for her commitment and innovation in this area."

Johnson has been a faculty member in the department of applied health sciences at Indiana State since 2008. She holds a master's and Ph.D. in health education from Southern Illinois University and a bachelor's in psychology from Duquesne University. Prior to coming to Indiana State, she served as an instructor at John A. Logan College in Carterville, Ill., and at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/photos/i-62ZN7DS/0/L/i-62ZN7DS-L.jpg - Maureen Johnson, associate professor of health sciences at Indiana State University, moderates a webinar for health education students around the country on Feb. 9, 2012 from her office on the ISU campus. (ISU/Rachel Keyes)

Contact: Maureen Johnson, assistant professor, applied health sciences; College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services, Indiana State University, 812-237-3078 or Maureen.johnson@indstate.edu

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or dave.taylor@indstate.edu