New faculty member helping shape UHV’s health studies program

Michael Wiblishauser, an assistant professor of health studies at the University of Houston-Victoria, is preparing students to be at the forefront of public health, and health promotion and education.

Michael Wiblishauser

Wiblishauser said public health and health promotion are growing industries.

“We’re not the ones who actually are going out and treating a new virus or a disease, but we educate people about it,” he said. “We are the ones who create programs to actually treat it.”

Wiblishauser, who is originally from Great Falls, Mont., is one of the newest faculty members at UHV. He began working for the university in January. He mainly teaches junior and senior level health studies courses.

“Ideally, this program should attract students who want to work in all facets of public health and health promotion, such as working for county health departments, nonprofits like the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association, the Center for Disease Control, and various agencies within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.”

Wiblishauser, 41, earned both his bachelor’s in psychology and his master’s in health education from the University of West Florida in Pensacola, Fla. He obtained his doctorate of philosophy in health education from the University of Toledo in Ohio.

He previously taught at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, S.D., and came to UHV from Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania, where he taught health science classes.

“What I like about UHV is it’s a relatively new program,” Wiblishauser said. “It was created in 2014. I want to help mold and form it into something. I can help grow it from the ground up. That really drew me to program.”

Last spring, Wiblishauser taught “School Health Education,” “Health Promotion Planning” and “Global and Environmental Health.” This summer, he is teaching “Medical Terminology” and “Introduction to Public Health.” In the fall, Wiblishauser will teach “Research and Evaluation in Health Promotion,” “Ethics in Health Policies” and “First Aid/CPR/AED” (automated external defibrillator).

In addition to teaching, Wiblishauser researches violence prevention and obesity. One of his recent presentation titles was “The Impact of Perceived Stress and Coping Adequacy on the Health of Nurses: A Pilot Investigation.” He has presented his work at national conferences.

“I am looking for ways to decrease obesity because it is the biggest public health problem that we have,” he said.

With plenty of information online and from other available sources, Wiblishauser said people want to become more educated about health topics.

“We have people who are living longer and, obviously, they want to be able to prolong their life as much as possible, so they are looking at all facets of health,” he said. “How can they eat healthier? If my father suffers from heart disease, how can I offset that if I am prone to it?”

Wiblishauser said he chose to teach in order to mold young minds.

“I love academia. I love learning,” he said. “I learn as much from the students as they learn from me. They have perspectives that I don’t have. I love to take that in, and absorb it like a sponge. They have life experiences that I don’t have. You learn something new from everyone you talk to because no one is alike. That’s what I really love about education.”

Faculty Feature is an online feature highlighting faculty members from each of the University of Houston-Victoria’s three schools. To nominate a faculty member, contact Jeremy Shapiro, UHV communications manager, or call 361-570-4296.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.