SUNY Oswego to launch graduate certificate in health, wellness

OSWEGO — Starting this spring, SUNY Oswego will offer a new graduate certificate program in health and wellness, aimed at health care workers who are seeking to motivate healthy behaviors in their patients — and in themselves.

Preventative lifestyles — exercise, eating nutritionally and so on — and the study of the mind-body connection have come to the fore as insurers and employers try to develop ways to bring down health care costs. Health care workers themselves often suffer from stress-related illnesses and behaviors produced by such factors as high expectations, workloads and time and budget constraints, program organizers said.

Sandra Bargainnier, a faculty member at SUNY Oswego in the 1990s, returned as the college’s new chair of health promotion and wellness in time to implement a certificate proposal that she worked with past chair Sandra Moore to develop several years ago.

“Obviously, we have a health care crisis in this country, and a crisis among those providing health care,” said Bargainnier, most recently at Syracuse University and Penn State.

Bargainnier pointed out that any health care worker trying to motivate change in patients must first understand the mind-body triggers for his or her own behavior and addictions.

“The courses in this certificate will help provide a framework for how we can make a behavioral change — a theoretical model — and will help us determine how to motivate behavioral change in others,” she said.

The proposal for the four-course graduate certificate in health and wellness notes that preventable chronic diseases generate 75 percent of the nation’s health care costs.

To explore the issues around this crisis, graduate students will take courses in mind-body wellness, healthy weight management, wellness and addictions, and behavior change process.

The certificate program — tentatively to be delivered in an all-online format through the SUNY Oswego Metro Center — is aligned with the college’s mental health counseling program in the department of counseling and psychological services. The courses are approved electives in the school counseling program, as well.

Besides the new health and wellness certificate, SUNY Oswego now offers health-related certificates in gerontology, play therapy, trauma studies, health information technology and integrated health systems.

For more information, visit or call the Division of Graduate Studies at 315-312-3152.