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William David Kernan

Professional Background

Educational Background

Ed.D., Health Education, Columbia University Teachers College

M.S., Health Education, Columbia University Teachers College

M.P.A., Public Health Administration, Marist College

B.A., Biology and English Literature, State University of New York, Potsdam

CHES, Certified Health Education Specialist 

Scholarly Interests

Impact of health status on learning among graduate-level health professions students; Barriers to support seeking among medical and dental students; Evidence-based wellness programs for graduate students; College student health; Impact of grading system changes on levels of stress and anxiety; Patient satisfaction with college health services; The role of the health educator as counselor at institutions of higher education; Meaning-making processes and adjustment to illness and stressful life events

Selected Publications


1.       Kernan, W.D., & Lepore, S.J. (2009) Searching for and making meaning after breast cancer: Prevalence, patterns, and negative affect.  Social Science & Medicine, (in press).


2.       Kernan, W.D., Wheat, M.W., & Lerner, B.A. (2008).  Linking learning and health: A pilot study of medical students' perceptions of the academic impact of various health issues. Academic Psychiatry, 32(1), 61-64.

3.       Kernan, W.D. & Wheat, M.W. (2008). Nursing students' perceptions of the academic impact of various health issues. Nurse Educator, 33(5), 215-219.

4.       Kernan, W.D. & Lepore, S.J. (2008). Searching for and making meaning after breast cancer; Prevalence, patterns, and negative affect.  Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 35(1s); 1-232.

5.       Lepore, S.J. & Kernan, W.D. (2008). Positive outcomes in the context of serious illness: An expanded social-cognitive processing model. In Medical Illness and Positive Life Change – Can Crisis Lead to Personal Transformation?; Park C., Lechner, S., Stanton, A, & Antoni, M, Eds.  American Psychological Association.


1.       Graham, M.J., Kernan, W.D., Wright, L., & Drusin, R. (2006). Regulatory focus effects on medical students’ study strategies within an honors-pass-fail grading system: A longitudinal study.  New Investigators Session, Division 1 (Professional Education). Annual Conference of the American Education Research Association: San Francisco, CA.

custom course list

HBSS 4120: Topics in Health Education (Stress & Health; Global Health; Environmental Health)
HBSS 4141: Health and Illness Across Cultural Perspectives
HBSS 5000: Health Promotion in Higher Education
HBSS 5116: Social Relations, Emotions & Health

HBSS 4120: Topics in health education

Review and synthesis of current knowledge on a selected topic related to health, such as teenage suicide, child abuse, violence, teenage pregnancy, and mental health.

HBSS 4141: Health and illness in cross-cultural perspective

Examination of the role of healing and medicine, both historically, and cross-culturally and of the utility of considering cultural practices and beliefs when designing health education programs.

HBSS 5000: Health promotion in higher education

This course will explore the complex issues and challenges facing those working to enhance the quality of student health and student learning at college and universities.

HBSS 5116: Social relations, emotions, and health

Covers theory and research on the effects of social relationships and emotions on health. Reviews and evaluates the use of social support and expressive writing interventions for treating chronic health problems, such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis, or acute illnesses, such as upper respiratory infections. Also considers the role of emergent technologies in supportive-expressive therapies.