School of Health Management
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Faculty and Staff

Staff : Health Administration : Health Education : Public Health : Public Health - Dental Emphasis

Health Education

Erin Breitenbach, D.H.Ed.Erin Breitenbach, PhD

Erin Breitenbach holds a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology (1991), a master’s degree in health education (1996), and a doctorate degree (1998) in health education from The University of Texas at Austin. After several years conducting health education research, she worked for several years managing oncology clinical research before returning to health education as a public health instructor for ATSU.

Dr. Breitenbach is program chair of the Health Education program at ATSU’s School of Health Management. Her research interests include cancer screening in Hispanic women, school nutrition behaviors, and developing collaborative partnerships among institutions of higher learning, state-level organizations, and local school districts to improve comprehensive school health education.


Donna Allen, PhD., CHES, FAWHDonna Allen, PhD, CHES, FAWHP
Assistant Professor

Donna Allen earned her PhD in Health Promotion from Texas Woman’s University, Denton, Texas, Master of Education Degree with an emphasis in Health Education and Exercise Physiology from Baylor University, Waco, Texas, and a Baccalaureate Degree in Health and Physical Education at Bethany College, Lindsborg, Kansas.  She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist, a Wellcoach, and a Fellow for the International Association for Worksite Health Promotion.  She is certified by Gallup University as a Strengths Advocate and a Strengths Coach, and holds a K-12 Teacher Certification in Health.

Dr. Allen likes to be known first and foremost as a terrific mom.  She is a recognized leader in health promotion, and is in progress of finalizing a book entitled Roadmap to Success with co-authors Deepak Chopra and Ken Blanchard.   Her passion to advance the field of health promotion and positive productivity have been recognized in awards and accomplishments including the Innovation in Positive Psychology by Mentor Coach and Innovative Teacher of the Year, and Health Educator of the year by the Kansas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.  Dr. Allen has served as a full professor and chairperson in higher education, a middle school and high school health teacher, and a business consultant for worksite wellness.

She has delivered more than 500 invited keynote and presentations internationally and nationally in positive psychology and strength based wellness.  Her research interests include the measurement of social, economic, psychological and human capital as it relates to global quality of life.  Particularly her interests focus in positive health, positive productivity and building a bridge between positive psychology and wellness, including the inquiry of salutogenics and presenteeism in wellness.  Her presentation at the International Positive Psychology Conference in Croatia led to partnerships with colleagues in Spain to develop Wellness Courses for MBA core curriculum.  She is the founder of the Linkedin Group on Positive Health and Productivity.   Her passion is developing wellness initiatives that create high trust, low corruption and democratic governance in workplace cultures and communities.

Donna enjoys serving others through cycling.  She has Biked Across America two times 2,927 miles in 26 days from San Diego, CA to Tybee Island, GA,  fundraising for the American Breast Cancer Foundation and The Hope Center for Kids in North Omaha.

Joshua BernsteinJoshua Bernstein PhD, CHES
Assistant Professor

Joshua Bernstein joined ATSU’s School of Health Management in 2010. He holds a bachelor’s degree in sports medicine from New Mexico State University, a master’s degree in education from Centenary College in Louisiana, and terminal degree in health studies from Texas Woman’s University. He is a certified health education specialist and a certified athletic trainer. Following a 13-year clinical management career in outpatient orthopedics, Dr. Bernstein moved into the fields of public health and health education pedagogy. His teaching experiences include adjunct positions at the University of Texas in Tyler, Texas A&M University in Kingsville, and Texas Woman’s University in Denton. Dr. Bernstein now teaches full-time as an assistant professor for A.T. Still University.

Dr. Bernstein’s research interests include adolescent risk perception related to unintentional injury, health literacy among minority populations, and professional preparation among health educators. Dr. Bernstein is an active member of the Society for Public Health Education, the Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, and the National Athletic Trainers Association.

Matthew Caines, D.H.Ed., M.P.H. Candace Ayars, PhD
Assistant Professor

Candace Ayars holds a doctoral degree in Community Health Science from the University of Texas School of Public Health at Houston and completed her postdoctoral research fellowship at the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine. In addition, she holds a Master of Science degree from the University of Houston – Clear Lake in Biology with a physiology concentration and two Bachelor of Science Degrees (Biology/Anthropology) from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Dr. Ayars is a member of the Society for Epidemiologic Research and the American Evaluation Association.

Dr. Ayars has more than 20 years' experience in the field of chronic disease risk factors in children beginning as a project and field director for three large NIH funded epidemiologic studies (Project HeartBeat!, Project HealthVOICE, and The Heartfelt Study).Most recently, she served as the Director of the Healthy Communities Section of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment where she led evidence-based statewide efforts to reduce the burden of primary chronic disease risk factors in Kansas. She served as the State Health Department Expert Advisor for the Kansas ACHIEVE (Action Communities for Health Innovation and Environmental Change) grants. Prior to joining KDHE, she collaborated with clinicians in the Geisinger Healthcare System of Pennsylvania to develop research initiatives for primary care and school-based pediatric obesity prevention and treatment programs. Dr. Ayars’ work in chronic disease risk factors in children has been published in peer-reviewed publications, such as Preventive Medicine, and presented at national and international conferences, including The Obesity Society and the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

Lori Dewald, EdD, ATC, MCHES, F-AAHELori Dewald, EdD, ATC, MCHES, F-AAHE
Assistant Professor

Dr. Lori Dewald, EdD, ATC, MCHES, F-AAHE has two undergraduate degrees. One from South Dakota State University in Athletic Training and Physical Education and the second from Mankato State University in Teacher Education. Lori’s masters and doctorate are in Health Education from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville.

Lori was the first person in the country to achieve both the credentials of Certified Athletic Trainer and Certified Health Education Specialist in combination with a doctorate. She became a master certified health education specialist when the new advanced credential was developed in 2011.

She currently serves on numerous committees within the American Association for Health Education (AAHE). She is on the review board for 15 different professional journals. Lori is also on the Healthy Campus 2010/2020 National Commission, and is the first person ever appointed as liaison between the American College Health Association and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, and has had 4 continuous reappointments. She is also a member of the ACHA’s Ethics Committee. She is a longtime NCAA CHOICES grant reviewer.

Dr. Dewald has given more than 100 national conference presentations, and has had 40 peer-reviewed publications. She was the 1996 Mabel Lee Award Recipient from AAHPERD. Lori was inducted into the exclusive Delta Kappa Gamma Society for Key Women Educators in 2008. In 2009, she was one of five people (and the only woman) inducted as a fellow in the American Association for Health Education. In June 2011, she received the NATA’s Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award.

Her primary research interests are in college health and school health education.
Lori is an avid tennis player, her two Shetland sheepdogs are certified therapy dogs that visit nursing homes; and she is in the final stages of becoming a Deaconess in the Lutheran Church, where she will be a volunteer in hospital chaplaincy and in hospice care.

Colleen Halupa, Ed.D. Colleen Halupa, EdD

Associate Professor

Colleen Halupa has been an associate professor in the Doctorate of Health Education program at ATSU’s School of Health Management since 2006. She has an AS in medical laboratory technology, a BS in healthcare management, an MS in health administration, and an EdD in curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, and management. Prior to her career in academia, Dr. Halupa was a biomedical sciences officer in the United States Air Force. During her tenure in the Air Force, she held varying positions in health administration and education. She served as department manager, the compliance manager for a large hospital where she oversaw quality improvement, risk management and infection control, as the director for an Air Force medical training program, and as an assistant administrator at a large health facility. Before entering the Air Force as an officer, she was a laboratory manager and consultant at a 100-bed hospital with a 150-bed nursing home in rural Nebraska as well as the chair of the Hospital Hazardous Materials committee. Dr. Halupa started her career as a medical laboratory technician then a medical technologist in the Air Force. She spent most of her time as a technologist in the field of microbiology and chemistry.

Dr. Halupa is an active contributor to professional journals and has spoken at several state, national, and international health and education conferences. She currently conducts research in online learning, graduate education, student satisfaction, mentor relationships and and online continuing medical education, in addition to writing and presenting on rural healthcare issues and the new Health Reform Act. Her other research interests also include microbiology and epidemiology, parasitology, emerging pathogens and infectious disease, environmental safety and health – particularly hazardous chemical and biological agent management and response, allied health education and miscellaneous health administration topics.

Lynda T. Konecny, D.H.Ed. Lynda T. Konecny, DHEd, CHES
Assistant Professor

Lynda T. Konecny earned her doctor of health education degree from ATSU’s School of Health Management. She obtained her master of science in counseling/student personnel services from Emporia State University in Kansas, and bachelor of science in behavioral psychology from Northern Michigan University. Dr. Konecny is also a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) and a member of a variety of professional organizations.

Dr. Konecny has been with ATSU since 2005 and began teaching for SHM in 2008. In addition to her experience with online education, Dr. Konecny taught residential courses in public, private, civilian, and military educational institutions. Over the course of her career, she has been a professional presenter and held a variety of position in college student services, including admissions/recruitment, marketing, student activities/intramural sports, and residential life. Dr. Konecny also spent many years as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserves. In addition, she has more than 13 years' experience working in the fitness industry as a certified group fitness instructor, personal trainer, and fitness center manager.

Dr. Konecny’s research interests include the development, implementation, and evaluation of innovative teaching methodologies and introducing new technologies to enhance curriculum delivery and student learning; educating and improving overall wellness, or dimensions of wellness, within various and diverse populations; exploring the practical application of health education behavior theories and the educational aspects of health promotion; examining learning theory in relation to online and residential instructional design, assessing the impact and value of student services for the online learner; and psychological research emphasizing behavior modification in public health and health education settings.

Warren G. McDonald, Ph.D.Warren G. McDonald, PhD
Associate Professor

Warren G. McDonald has more than 30 years of healthcare and business experience. He is chief executive officer of McDonald and Associates, LLC, a consulting firm dedicated to the optical industry and related profession and a registered optician in the State of North Carolina. Dr. McDonald has been an adjunct faculty member at ATSU since 2006.

His academic background includes undergraduate degrees in opticianry and management. He holds graduate degrees in healthcare management, adult and community education, the doctor of philosophy in health sciences, as well as a number of professional certifications, including the prestigious master of ophthalmic optics, and advanced certification in contact lenses from the National Contact Lens Examiners. He is a member of the class of 2005 at the Institute for Management and Leadership in Higher Education at Harvard University and holds a graduate certificate in healthcare risk management from the University of Florida. Additional faculty appointments include professor of health administration at Methodist University, Fayetteville, N.C.

Current research interests include non-traditional and distance learning techniques and pedagogy and the development of advanced-level training programs for students in the health sciences. Specific management research interests include healt care marketing, leadership, and organization transition and change.

Larry K. Olsen, Dr.P.H. Larry K. Olsen, DrPH, MCHES

Larry K. Olsen completed a baccalaureate degree in health and physical education and a master of arts in teaching at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore. He completed a master of public health degree at the University of California, Berkeley, and his DrPH at UCLA in 1970. His doctorate is in health education with a minor in environmental and occupational medicine. By profession, he is a health educator and has worked in community, school, and university settings.

Dr. Olsen has been in academics for more than 40 years and has been a program coordinator, department chair, associate dean, and interim dean at various colleges and universities. Dr. Olsen has authored or coauthored more than 30 textbooks, 100 publications that have appeared in professional literature, and has presented more than 300 papers at the meetings of local, national, and international organizations. He has been a national officer in numerous national and international professional organizations and is currently the chair-elect of the School Health Education and Services Section of the American Public Health Association. He was a member of the steering committee for the National Health Educators Update Project to delineate the generic roles of both entry and advanced level health educators and has directed or served on over 300 masters and doctoral dissertation committees. His research interests lie in factors that affect health behavior, program evaluation, and environmental health issues.

Meg SheppardMeg Sheppard, PhD, CHES
Assistant Professor

Meg Sheppard graduated from a joint PhD program in Health Education and Health Promotion at the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Prior to her time at the University of Alabama, she earned a Masters of Science in Education in Health Education from Baylor University and a Bachelor of Science in Health from Texas A&M University. Dr. Sheppard has more than eight years of teaching experience at the undergraduate and graduate level in both a traditional classroom setting and online. She is active in the Public Health Education and Health Promotion section of the American Public Health Association.

Dr. Sheppard is a strong advocate of holistic health and increasing quality of life across the life span locally as well as internationally.

Dr. Sheppard’s research interests include examining both qualitatively and quantitatively the effectiveness of approaches to help individuals and communities increase health outcomes, specifically quality of life indicators, through behavioral and lifestyle changes. She also has experience in community-based participatory research locally as well as internationally.

Larry Wolod, M.S., CPA Larry Wolod, MS, CPA

Larry Wolod holds a BS in accounting from the University of Baltimore, an MS in taxation from the University of Hartford, a JD from the Potomac School of Law, and an LLM (taxation) from Georgetown University Law Center. Wolod is a licensed attorney and CPA.

Beginning as a revenue agent for the IRS, Wolod has held tax and legal management positions in public accounting and private industry for more than 20 years. Recently, Wolod was vice president, tax and legal, for a FORTUNE 1000 company in Houston, assisting with tax structuring related to the company’s IPO and directing all global tax and legal activities. Wolod also managed all litigation and defense for the company and provided tax and legal counsel to operating companies.

Wolod’s research interests are in accounting and taxation, particularly tax practice and procedure. Wolod has published articles in the areas of tax planning and tax disclosures.