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Professor/Director Maisch Coll GG

University of Central Oklahoma (405) 974-5238 Kinesiology & Health Studies WAH 12 , Box 189


Sunshine Cowan, Ph.D., MPH, MCHES® is a professor in the Dr. Virginia Peters Department of Kinesiology and Health Studies at the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) where she co-coordinates the public health program and serves as the MPH faculty advisor. She also serves as the director for the John A. Maisch Collective for the Greater Good, which supports academic connections between the campus community and community partners within the OKC metro and beyond. 

Classes Taught

  • Health Equity and Determinants of Health
  • Introduction to Public Health
  • Community Engagement
  • Human Development
  • Health Communication and Advocacy
  • Blueprint to Health Sciences

Education and Certifications

Ph.D., Environmental Science, Environmental Justice focus, Oklahoma State University, 2009

  • Dissertation: Environmental Justice after Hurricane Katrina: A Delphi Approach to Determining the Ethics and Future of Public Housing Policies in New Orleans

MPH, Health Promotion Sciences, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, 2002

B.S., Community Health, University of Central Oklahoma, Community Health, 2000

Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES®)

Professional and Community Involvement

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. 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. 

Cowan was a founding board member of the Oklahoma Health Equity Network (OHEN), is a former President of the Oklahoma Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (OAHPERD), a former President of the Oklahoma Public Health Association (OPHA), and a former Chair of the Oklahoma Turning Point Council (OTPC).

The views expressed by UCO faculty and staff on their personal websites and social media pages do not necessarily reflect the positions of the University of Central Oklahoma. UCO faculty and staff are advised to follow the university’s social media guidelines and are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with policies outlined in UCO’s Employee Handbook and/or Faculty Handbook.