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Our faculty and staff are ready to assist you in achieving your health career goals and are devoted to providing you with an outstanding educational experience. Our undergraduate programs are challenging and rewarding.

We are confident that you will find a “fit” for you! Through an interdisciplinary approach and practical experiences, you will be prepared for the real world or for admission to advanced professional or graduate programs. Employment for health care professionals is increasing and diverse opportunities will be available well into the future. 

Our faculty and staff are readily accessible and will work with you one-on-one in planning your program of study. In addition, all courses in health sciences are taught by faculty. The average class size is small at 15-50 students and laboratory sections are limited to 18 students, enabling you to get the personalized attention to succeed.

If you aspire for a career in health care, please contact us. We will welcome you to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and to the School of Health Sciences and Wellness!

With Warm Regards,
Rebecca Sommer, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean, School of Health Sciences and Wellness

History of Health at UWSP

Since July 2020, students studying health-related fields at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point will now benefit from enhanced, enriched and expanded curriculum and out-of-the-classroom opportunities with the launch of the School of Health Sciences and Wellness. The school brings together 10 undergraduate majors and 12 graduate programs under one roof from three former schools–Communication Sciences and Disorders; Health Care Professions; and Health Promotion and Human Development.
CPS Cafe Dining Room


SHSW Main Office:
Science Building, Room D127
2001 Fourth Avenue
Stevens Point, WI 54481
Phone: 715-346-3766
SHSW classrooms, labs, offices are also located in:
College of Professional Studies Building
1901 Fourth Ave.
Stevens Point, WI 54481

Marshfield Clinic Health System Champions Hall
2050 Fourth Ave.
Stevens Point, WI 54481

Bi​rthplace of Wellness

Where did wellness originate? And how did become a word we quite possibly hear every day? Though the Oxford English Dictionary traces wellness, meaning the opposite of illness, to the 1650s, the story of wellness movement really begins in the 1950s. Inspiration for living a more healthy lifestyle in part came from the World Health Organization’s 1948 constitution: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” During this time, Halbert L. Dunn, chief of the National Office of Vital Statistics, was looking for new terminology to convey the positive aspects of health beyond simply avoiding sickness. He sketched out his concept in a 1961 book “High-Level Wellness,” defined as “an integrated method of functioning, which is oriented toward maximizing the potential of which the individual is capable.”

Bi​rthplace of Wellness

Over a decade later, an early advocate, John W. Travis, picked up Dunn’s book in 1972 from a $2 clearance table at the bookstore of Johns Hopkins Medical School, where he was enrolled in a preventive-medicine residency program. After Travis reluctantly embraced the word wellness, which he originally thought was stupid and would never catch on, he opened the Wellness Resource Center in Mill Valley, California in November 1975. Wellness was so unfamiliar at the time, but soon got national attention when a young doctoral student named Donal B. Ardell profiled Travis’s center in the April 1976 issue of Prevention magazine. Prevention’s editor, Robert Rodale, welcomed the “exciting field of wellness enhancement. Even greater exposure came with Dan Rather’s “60 Minutes” segment on a new health movement known as wellness, which focused on Travis and the Mill Valley center.

Bi​rthplace of Wellness

Influenced by Travis and Ardell, Bill Hettler, a staff physician at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point founded the annual National Wellness Conference at Stevens Point. The conference lent valuable academic prestige to the wellness movement and also caught the attention of Tom Dickey, who was working with the New York publisher Rodney Friedman in the early 1980s to set up a monthly newsletter on health, based at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1984, the Berkeley Wellness Letter was born. The Berkeley Wellness Letter debunked many of the holistic fads of the day by presenting evidence-based articles on health promotion. It did much to establish the credibility of wellness in the 1980s.

Bi​rthplace of Wellness

Still, not everyone was a believer. In 1988, a survey of the Usage Panel for the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language found that a whopping 68 percent of panelists disapproved of the word when used to refer to employee-wellness programs and the like, and a critical note was included in the dictionary’s 1992 edition. However, griping over wellness faded away in the 1990s as the term gained a foothold in everyday use. The American Heritage Dictionary silently dropped the usage note on wellness in its fourth edition in 2000, a decision that supervising editor, Steve Kleinedler chalks up to the growing prevalence of wellness programs in the workplace and beyond. A word that once sounded strange and unnecessary, even to its original enthusiasts, has become accepted as part of our glossary of health.​
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The Seven Dimensions of Wellness

The term wellness has been applied in many ways. It is much more than just physical health, exercise, and nutrition. Wellness is multidimensional including Spiritual, Physical, Emotional, Career, Intellectual, Environmental, Social (SPECIES). Wellness is a full integration and the pursuit of continued growth and balance in these seven dimensions of wellness. Each dimension contributes to our own sense of wellness or quality of life, and each affects and overlaps the others. At times, one may be more prominent than others, but neglect of any one dimension for any length of time has adverse effects on overall health.

The career dimension recognizes personal satisfaction and enrichment in life through work. It is the ability to get personal fulfillment from jobs or chosen career fields while still maintaining balance in life. Occupational development is related to attitudes about work. The desire to contribute to a career to make a positive impact on the organizations in which one works and on society as a whole leads to career wellness. It is essential to contribute the unique gifts, skills, and talents to work that are both personally meaningful and rewarding in order to gain purpose, happiness, and enrichment in life. Achieving optimal career wellness allows one to maintain a positive attitude and experience satisfaction and pleasure in employment.

Tips and suggestions for optimal occupational wellness include:
1. Explore a variety of career options.
2. Create a vision for your future.
3. Choose a career that suits your personality, interests, and talents.
4. Be open to change and learn new skills.

The emotional dimension recognizes awareness and acceptance and healthy expression of one’s feelings such as happiness, hope, love, joy, sadness, anger, fear, and/or stress. Emotional wellness encompasses optimism, self-esteem, and self-acceptance. It includes the capacity to manage feelings and related behaviors including the realistic assessment of limitations, development of autonomy, and ability to cope effectively with stress. Emotional wellness also includes intimacy, independence, and interdependence. Awareness of and accepting a wide range of feelings in oneself and others is essential to wellness. It is important to take on challenges, take risks, and recognize conflict as being potentially healthy. Managing life in personally rewarding ways, and taking responsibility for one’s actions, will help to see life as an exciting, hopeful adventure. It is better to be aware of and accept these feelings than to deny them, and it is better to be optimistic in an approach to life than pessimistic.

Tips for optimal emotional wellness:
1. Tune in to your thoughts and feelings.
2. Cultivate an optimistic attitude.
3. Seek and provide support.
4. Learn time management skills.
5. Practice stress management techniques. 
6. Discover your specific stress relievers.
7. Generalized anxiety resources
8. Accept and forgive yourself.

The environmental dimension is the extent to which one cares for the earth by protecting its resources. It is the ability to recognize personal responsibility for the quality of the air, water, and land. The ability to make a positive impact on the quality of homes, communities, and the planet while understanding the negative effect of personal choices contributes to environmental wellness. Environmental wellness is recognizing the unstable state of the earth and the effects of daily habits on the physical environment. It consists of maintaining a way of life that maximizes harmony with the earth and minimizes harm to the environment.

Tips and suggestions for optimal environmental wellness:
1. Stop junk mail.
2. Conserve water and other resources.
3. Minimize chemical use.
4. Renew a relationship with the earth.
5. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: reduce the amount of pollution we generate; reuse containers, bags, and batteries; recycle paper, glass, aluminum, and plastic.

The intellectual dimension encourages creative, stimulating mental activities. A good person expands his or her knowledge and skills while discovering the potential for sharing one’s gifts with others. The mind should be continually exercised just like the body. To become intellectually well, it is important to explore issues related to problem-solving, critical thinking, and adaptation to change. Intellectual wellness involves spending more time pursuing personal interests and reading books, magazines, and newspapers while staying aware of current events and issues. It is the ability to open one’s mind to new concepts and experiences that can be applied to personal decisions, group interaction, and community enhancement, improve skills and seek challenges in pursuit of lifelong learning.

Tips and suggestions for optimal intellectual wellness:
1. Take a course or workshop.
2. Learn or perfect a foreign language.
3. Seek out people who challenge you intellectually.
4. Read.
5. Attend museums, exhibits, and theaters.
6. Learn to appreciate art.

The physical dimension recognizes the need for regular physical activity. Physical development promotes learning about diet and nutrition while discouraging the use of tobacco, drugs, and excessive alcohol consumption. It is better to consume foods and beverages that enhance good health rather than those which impair it. Physical wellness is the ability to maintain a healthy quality of life that allows one to get through daily activities without undue fatigue or physical stress. Optimal physical wellness is met through a combination of good exercise and eating habits. Improving physical wellness consists of building physical strength, flexibility, and endurance while taking safety precautions including medical self-care and appropriate use of a medical system as well as protecting oneself from injuries and harm. The physical dimension of wellness involves personal responsibility, disease prevention, and care for minor illnesses, and also knowing when professional medical attention is needed. Being physically fit and feeling physically well often leads to the psychological benefits of enhanced self-esteem, self-control, determination, and a sense of direction.

Tips and suggestions for optimal physical wellness:
1. Exercise daily.
2. Get adequate sleep. 
3. Prevent injuries by using seat belts, wearing helmets, and other protective equipment. 
4. Learn to recognize early signs of illness and prevent diseases. 
5. Practice safe sex, if sexually active. 
6. Eat a variety of healthy foods and control meal portions.
7. Use alcohol in moderation if at all.
8. Quit smoking or continue to refrain from smoking and protect from second-hand smoke. 
9. Strive to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Social wellness is the ability to relate to and connect with other people in the world. The ability to establish and maintain positive relationships with family, friends, and co-workers contributes to social wellness. Friends can serve as a source of encouragement and reinforcement for practicing healthy habits. The social dimension encourages one to become aware of his or her importance in society. It is vital to stay connected to people, form new relationships and participate in various social activities. Social wellness encourages one to take an active part in improving the world by encouraging healthier living and initiating better communication with others. Social wellness encourages one to discover the power to make willful choices to enhance personal relationships and important friendships, and build a better living space and community. Social wellness also includes showing respect for others, oneself, and other cultures.

Tips and suggestions for optimal social wellness:
1. Cultivate healthy relationships.
2. Resources for social anxiety
3. Strengthen current friendships, contact an old friend, or discover new friendships.
4. Get involved.

The spiritual dimension recognizes one’s search for meaning and purpose in human existence. It includes the development of a deep appreciation for the depth and expanse of life and natural forces that exist in the universe. Spiritual wellness is the ability to establish peace and harmony in our lives. It encompasses a high level of faith, hope, and commitment to our individual beliefs that provide a sense of meaning and purpose in human existence. It is better to ponder the meaning of life for ourselves and to be tolerant of the beliefs of others than to close our minds and become intolerant. Becoming spiritually well means striving for consistency with our values and beliefs.

Tips and suggestions for optimal spiritual wellness:
1. Explore your spiritual core.
2. Spend time alone/meditate regularly.
3. Be inquisitive and curious.
4. Be fully present in everything you do.
5. Listen with your heart and live by your principles.
6. Allow yourself and those around you the freedom to be who they are.
7. See opportunities for growth in the challenges life brings you.
8. Volunteer!