Harrison Award: Current Awardee

In 2022, Cynthia Cook received the Harrison Award.

Cynthia Cook has over thirty years of experience in the field of school health education. After graduating from Kent State University in 1982, Cynthia began her career in K-12 education teaching physical education, health education, and science education in Ohio, Maryland, Wisconsin and Georgia. Cynthia returned to Kent State in 1995 to complete her master’s and doctoral degrees in school health education, during which time she served as a research and teaching assistant in the Applied Psychology Department and the Health Sciences Department, respectively. In her final year as a doctoral student, she was awarded the Doctoral Student of the Year Award by her professors. Cynthia’s dissertation looked at the relationship between Coordinated School Health Programs (CSHP) and the academic outcomes of students in 18 large urban school districts.

Cynthia spent the next three years at the University of Toledo as an assistant professor in health education, teaching and training pre-service school health education teachers.  Cynthia served as the Regional School Health Coordinator (RSHC)in the Department of Curriculum Instruction and Assessment (DCIA) at the Calhoun Intermediate School District (CISD) in Michigan for nine years where she provided leadership, services and technical assistance to school health professionals in 39 local school districts in Barry, Branch, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, and St. Joseph Counties.

Currently, Cindy is in her sixth year as the School Health Consultant for Wayne RESA. She enjoys sharing her expertise in coordinated school health, prevention programming, and health promotion with school stakeholders.  Since, research reports that a students’ academic success is closely linked to their  physical, mental, and social well-being, Cynthia’s goal is to provide evidence and research-based prevention programming to school staff, who in turn, help facilitate the student’s adoption of positive health- enhancing attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.

What is the Harrison Award?

MiSHCA hosts the presentation of the Harrison Award. This award is selected and presented by the Michigan Model for Health State Steering Committee.

The Harrison award is given in recognition to honor individuals who have made a significant and lasting contribution to school health education in Michigan.  The Michigan Model for Health State Steering Committee has given this recognition annually (with exception of 2014-2017) since 1988 when Dr. James T. Harrison was recognized for his distinguished service and commitment to school health.

Dr. Harrison championed the first legislative appropriation in 1983 that created the concept of making available to every school; age appropriate, sequential, skill building comprehensive school health education through the Michigan Model for Comprehensive School Health Education.  As the Chief Medical Officer for the then Michigan Department of Public Health, he resided over the Michigan Model State Steering Committee as the first chairperson for five years.

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