Sunshine Cowan, Ph.D.
Sunshine Cowan, PhD, MPH, MCHES® is a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Studies at the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) where she coordinates the Community/Public Health program.
Dr. Cowan teaches numerous classes in the undergraduate public health program as well as the graduate program. Classes include but are not limited to: Introduction to Public Health, Human Development, Media Advocacy & Health Communication, Health Assessment & Evaluation, Community Intervention, and Health Equity. Dr. Cowan also works with practicum students, interns, and serves on thesis committees and graduate projects.
Education and Certifications
Dr. Cowan holds a Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University in Environmental Science with a focus on environmental justice. Her dissertation focused on the public housing controversy in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. She has an MPH in Health Promotion Science from the University of Oklahoma, and a B.S. in Community Health from UCO. She is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES®).
Professional and Community Involvement
Dr. Cowan's research focuses on health equity, and she was one of five faculty in Oklahoma recognized as a 2013 DaVinci Institute Fellow for promoting innovative teaching practices in the classroom that included meaningful community work. Ongoing projects incorporated into her coursework include: data collection and interventions with seniors and families served by the Oklahoma City Housing Authority; focus groups among people served by the Homeless Alliance Day Shelter; data collection among the Hispanic community for INTEGRIS hospital; and food desert observations between zip codes. Additional student research projects have included PhotoVoice projects among daily riders of public transportation in the metro, with people experiencing homelessness, and in zip codes to address inequities.
Dr. Cowan is a founding board member of the Oklahoma Health Equity Network (OHEN), is the immediate Past President of the Oklahoma Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (OAHPERD), and is a former President of the Oklahoma Public Health Association (OPHA).
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