Ruth Kershner, a health professor at West Virginia University, has been named Health Education College/University Professor of the Year by The Midwest District American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.
Dr. Kershner, who teaches undergraduate and graduate-level courses in school and community health, was one of only six professors to be recognized nationally by AAHPERD .
To receive this award based on my teaching, methodology and the voluntary service-learning opportunities in my classroom from other health education faculty is especially meaningful,she said.
Kershner joined WVU s Department of Community Medicine in 1991. She is a registered nurse, West Virginia-certified in school health and nationally certified as a health education specialist.
Her teaching interests include womens healthspecifically, sexual assault prevention and violence against women.
I like the health field because many of the controversial issues in society are integrated into our curriculum,she said.The field is ever evolving.
Her favorite part of teaching is interacting with students.
I love to teach and enjoy the opportunity to mentor students,she said.Each and every student brings something of value to the classroom. It is my privilege to be a small piece of their academic experience.
Kershners work has not gone unnoticed. Dr. Alan Ducatman, head of the Department of Community Medicine, said one of his joys as a department chair is hearing how students feel about professorsteaching.
For Dr. Kershner, the praise is joyful and sincere,he said.Our students know she loves to teach. They learn from her, they want to emulate her, and she inspires them to consider how their careers can make a difference in society.
Kershner praised the Universitys vast array of health programs for providing a high-quality learning environment.
Since I have been at WVU , we have developed or improved several programs that are specific to health education,she said.In my own department, we offer a school health teaching program, a masters degree in both community and public health, and we will soon have a doctoral degree in public health.
Kershner also pointed to training programs for students, resident assistants and faculty leaders; the Universitys four health educators who address substance abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual assault and a myriad of other health topics; and a national credentialing certification for health educators.
In addition to teaching, Kershner has presented at local, state, national and
international conferences about domestic violence and numerous other health-related topics.
For her efforts, she has been recognized as a West Virginia Health Education Teacher of the Year. She also received the Robert C. Byrd School of Medicine Distinguished Teacher Award, the West Virginia Health Education Council Innovative Health Programming Award, the PATCH Health Advocacy Award and the June Harless Award for Exceptional Teaching.
AAHPERD is the largest organization of professionals supporting and assisting those involved in physical education, leisure, fitness, dance, health promotion and education, and all specialties related to achieving a healthy lifestyle.
The organization is an alliance of six national associations and six district associations. It provides members with a comprehensive and coordinated array of resources, support and programs to help practitioners improve their skills and so further the health and well-being of the American public.
The Midwest district includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia and Wisconsin.