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PROFILE: UC Health Educator Leads National Organization

University of Cincinnati Professor Randall Cottrell will begin serving a two-year term as president of the American Association for Health Education in April.

Date: 1/26/2004 8:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Peter Griga
UC ingot Randall Cottrell, a UC professor of health promotion and education, will lead the nation’s largest professional organization for health educators. Cottrell will become president of the 5,500 American Association for Health Education (AAHE) in April. He is currently finishing a two-year term as president-elect of the AAHE, based in Reston, Va.
Randall Cottrell
Randall Cottrell

The AAHE works to serve health educators by developing standards, resources and services related to the health education profession. The organization also fosters research and advocates for health issues. “We serve health educators who work in a variety of settings, including schools, community agencies, health departments and worksite or corporate settings,” explains Cottrell, who’s been a member since 1973.

Cottrell’s duties as president of the AAHE will be to serve as chair to the organization’s board of directors, represent the organization at national meetings and coordinate roles and communication between the organizations committees and its board of directors. He says the AAHE is also interested in recruiting more minorities into the health education profession.

During his two-year term as president of the AAHE, Cottrell will continue his work as program coordinator and professor for the health promotion and education program in the College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services. He returned to UC last fall from a six-month sabbatical dedicated to writing a new textbook on research methods in health education.

Randall Cottrell

Cottrell says the AAHE is also working to address one of the leading health concerns of children in K-12 education: obesity. “It’s as close to a true epidemic as there is, and our organization is very concerned about that.” He says the temptation of tobacco continues to be a serious health issue for the nation’s youth.

“Our organization also is advocating for third-party endorsement for health education services. We’re interested in the idea of a health educator working alongside a physician in a clinical setting. So, if the physician diagnosed a patient with heart disease who smoked, the patient could then meet with the health educator, who could spend considerably more time with them than the physician could to provide the information and resources to help the patient quit smoking. The cost of that service would be billed to insurance companies.”

Cottrell started teaching at the University of Cincinnati in 1987. His son, Kyle, graduated from UC with a degree in industrial management and is now working at Cintas. His other son, Kory, is a third-year student in the College of Business and is currently serving as a co-op at GE Aircraft Engines. Cottrell’s wife, Karen, is also a health educator and teaches seventh grade in the Lakota School District.

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