Physical Activity, Fitness and Wellness Working Group

Health Fitness Specialist Logo

Link to Undergraduate Degree Program Page Link to Masters Degree Program Page

The Department of Kinesiology is proud to present the Physical Activity, Fitness and Wellness Working Group. This group manages and facilitates two degrees  in fitness and wellness: Undergraduate Program: Health Fitness Specialist; and Masters in Physical Activity, Fitness and Wellness.

Visit our Facebook page.

Get your IU Health & Fitness Specialist Gear Here! Apparel Flyer & Order Form

Program Justification
Interest in the PAFW graduate program has increased considerably with the publication of the new program description and curriculum. During the 2010-2011 academic year there has been a tripling of applications. In addition the HFS undergraduate program has averaged 123 majors in the last five years and is consistently the fourth largest undergraduate degree program in the Department of Kinesiology. The programs are primarily focused on increasing knowledge of the benefits of physical activity as well as applying the science of exercise/fitness movement principles in order  to promote health and improved quality of living among diverse populations across the lifespan. Integrating research, service-learning and applied instruction will open up many avenues for translational research projects in the future. Long term reach of these programs could provide continued research/service-learning opportunities for the IU community and students for years to come.

Physical Activity, Fitness and Wellness (PAFW) Graduate Program
Interest in the field of physical activity, fitness and wellness as a means to influence health for the broad population of U.S. citizens has increased.  The American College of Sports Medicine has a new area of emphasis titled ‘Exercise is Medicine’ and now offers a joint certification program with the National Society of Physical Activity Practioners in Public Health. The American College of Sports Medicine has also introduced two new areas of certification: one for inclusive health fitness specialists and the other for specialists to work with cancer patients/survivors. In addition, increasing health insurance costs are pushing organizations and corporations to seek health and wellness programs for employees and retirees. This suggests a need for professionals to address health and well-being through physical activity and fitness. Click here for more information.

Health Fitness Specialist (HFS) Undergraduate Program
Students who successfully graduate with the Health Fitness Specialist emphasis from the Department of Kinesiology are positioned to work in a variety of settings:  commercial, , medical (cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, physical therapy, post rehabilitation specialists), community (YMCA, JCC), Senior and Children fitness, Athletic conditioning and performance training, worksite wellness, fitness and wellness coaching (Web MD), fitness consultant, club managers, program directors.  Specific to the program at Indiana University is the opportunity to work with the Department of Defense in the US Navy Shape Fitness program—graduates are selected to work onsite (Norfolk, San Diego, Pearl Harbor) with senior officers. Click here for more information.


Our vision is to educate, provide practical experiences, and research opportunities for future health fitness/wellness professionals in order to impact and enhance healthy lifestyles for all.

• To prepare qualified, certified and experienced health and fitness/wellness professionals who are capable of impacting society by enhancing healthy lifestyles across all ages.
• To train students for careers as leaders in physical activity, fitness, and wellness by providing a comprehensive and cross disciplinary curriculum focused on: (a) the science of physical activity and fitness as applied to diverse populations; (b) the application of science to human movement experiences; and (c) program development, evaluation, and administration.

Program Goals and Objectives
• Provide a comprehensive science based curriculum governed by current trends and research in the health and fitness/wellness industry.
• Provide experiential learning opportunities thru the integration of research and practice in diverse settings and for a variety of populations.
• Provide a curriculum which utilizes students to provide health, fitness/wellness services to the Indiana University community, as well as locally, regionally and nationally.
• Provide a curriculum which prepares students with the knowledge, skills and abilities to comprehensively develop and implement health and fitness/wellness programs to meet the demands of our society and make a positive impact on its citizens.
• Provide a curriculum that gives opportunities, encourages and promotes certification by nationally accredited organizations:  ACE, ACSM, NASM, NSCA, AFAA, etc.
• To increase enrollment in PAFW to approximately 20 students per year.
• To achieve a high rate of student employment in positions directly related to their degree (95% employment rate).

Distinctive Points

• Few universities in the U.S. offer similar undergraduate or graduate degrees.
• The need for individuals with expertise and leadership skills to promote physical activity and fitness as a path to wellness is supported by the federal government (Centers for Disease Control, Office of Health and Human Services).
• The program is directed by faculty with significant expertise in the science and application of physical activity, fitness and wellness:
• The comprehensive PAFW graduate curriculum draws from the diverse expertise of faculty within the School of Public Health.
• The HFS degree contains both a heavy science focus and the implementation of science into practice. Numerous faculty members have experience  working and instructing in both public and private fitness/wellness programs prior to teaching at IU.  The program seeks to balance both science and practice in order to enhance marketability of program graduates. All HFS faculty members have specific expertise as well as multiple national certifications in the fitness industry.
• Faculty are recognized locally (state) and nationally for expertise in physical activity and fitness.
• In May of 2004, the HFS undergraduate program applied for and received endorsement from ACSM as having a curriculum, which meets the knowledge, skills and abilities and fulfills the requirements for the ACSM Health Fitness Instructor.  Only approximately 38 other institutions have received this certification endorsement.
• Faculty regularly participate and present in national fitness conferences as well as volunteer with organizations such as the American Council of Exercise, American College of Sports Medicine, IHRSA, and Club Industry: Johnston, Frey, and Kennedy-Armbruster will be presenting at the Indiana Joint National Public Health Week Conferecence in April. View the brochure.; Mary Yoke and Carol Kennedy-Armbruster are also presenting this April at the ACSM Health Fitness Summit conference.
• HFS is an educational partner with the American Council on Exercise (ACE).


HFS and PAFW Faculty

Michelle Miller, MS, Coordinator of Health Fitness Specialist Undergraduate Program
PH 296
SPH Profile Page

Jeanne D. Johnston, Ph.D, Clinical Associate Professor
PH 042
SPH Profile Page

Carol Kennedy-Armbruster, PhD, Coordinator of Physical Activity, Fitness, and Wellness Masters Program
PH 296
IU Navy SHAPE Website:
Carol Kennedy-Armbruster won the 2004 and 2009 HPER Teaching Award.
SPH Profile Page

Georgia Frey, Ph.D, Faculty/Instructor
PH 112
SPH Profile Page

Mary Yoke, M.A., M.M.
PH 296
812 855 7926
Mary Yoke won a 2003 award for Excellence in Teaching and Outstanding Service to the Profession
SPH Profile Page