Joan E. Cowdery

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Professor of Public Health Education and Graduate Program Coordinator

Health Promotion and Human Performance

318H Porter


[email protected]


  • Ph.D., Health Education and Health Promotion, University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa /University of Alabama Birmingham School of Public Health
  • MS, Exercise Physiology, Purdue University
  • BS, Community Health Education, Ohio State University


Dr. Joan Cowdery has been a faculty member at Eastern Michigan University since 2006. Her primary research experience and interests include the use of innovative health communication and behavior change strategies, including tailoring, smart phone technology, and the use of virtual worlds to influence health behaviors and eliminate health disparities. Additional research focuses on improving participation in medical and clinical trials research particularly among underrepresented populations. Prior to coming to EMU she held a number of positions at HealthMedia, a health technology company whose primary purpose was to design and deliver scientifically based, computer tailored, health communication materials and behavior change programs.


See a complete list of scholarly publications.



  • HLED 550 Foundations of Health Education
  • HLED 562 Health Education Program Planning
  • HLED 570  Measurement in Health Education
  • HLED 575  Implementation & Administration of Health Education Programs
  • HLED 592 Special Topics:  Health Communication
  • HPHP 677 Research Methods
  • HLED 690 Graduate Project in Health Education
  • HLED 692 Thesis in Health Education
  • HLED 599 Directed Study in Health Education
  • HLED 686 Internship in Health Education


  • HLED 120 Healthful Living (on-line)
  • HLED 242 Theoretical Foundations of Health Behavior
  • HLED 260 Introduction to Community Health
  • HLED 270 Principles of Health Education
  • HLED 355 Health Education Program Planning
  • HLED 499 Directed Study in Health Education


Dr. Cowdery has published and presented research on the use of novel and innovative theoretical and technological approaches to health communication and health behavior change, including tailoring, mobile phone app technology, and the use of virtual worlds to influence health behaviors and eliminate health disparities. Recent research has focused on the use of smart phone apps to encourage physical activity behavior change, and the use of text messaging for stroke risk reduction. Other recent studies have included the examination of factors that impact decisions regarding participation in clinical trials research, the use of tailored health information in stroke risk reduction in a Hispanic church based population, and exploring the use of virtual world technology in delivering health communication messages regarding dietary behaviors and physical activity to college students.

Dr. Cowdery is involved in several professional organizations including the American Academy of Health Behavior and the Society for Public Health Education, and is a reviewer for multiple professional journals. She is also a founder and board member of the Academy for Sport Leadership.