After thirty-two years as a faculty member at UNI, experiences in worksite health promotion, hospice care and community mental health, Dr. Thomas M. Davis has a rich perspective to share with his students and colleagues about where the health promotion profession is headed. Dr. Davis applies his varied experiences to his instruction of the courses, Worksite Health Promotion; Stress Management; Health Promotion Theory and Application, Planning & Evaluation of Health Promotion Programs.
Davis believes opportunities are going to expand within health promotion, especially in the areas of prevention. "The evidence is clear the financial return on investment in prevention is going to be positive." He cites the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) as being a major indicator of the increased career and job opportunities within health promotion. Signed into law on March 23, 2010, the PPACA law reforms certain aspects of health insurance coverage and increased projected national medical spending. The law also creates an interagency council for the promotion of health policies and for building national prevention and health promotion strategies and programs. This legislative action, combined with an aging population and the generally deteriorating health of the American population sets the stage for increasing demand for health promotion and prevention specialists.
Davis says students can do several things to take advantage of these increased employment and advancement opportunities within the profession. Davis encourages students to present a healthful image and develop a sense of competency. Health promotion students often have to be willing to relocate for job opportunities. Additionally, a graduate education qualifies students for better jobs and pay. Davis encourages UNI students to pursue national certification available to health educators. Unlike many other universities, UNI students are prepared and eligible to sit for the National Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exam. The UNI health promotion curriculum is specifically tailored to prepare students for the certification exam.
Davis' interactions with students are guided by partnership, the pursuit of excellence, respect and appreciation of diversity. As a professor, he believes he has the responsibility to create a learning environment in which students interact with professors and the content of the discipline, and not just passively observe the educational process. While students may believe C and D grades "get degrees," Davis believes students should "pursue excellence in the classroom and in all professional endeavors."