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The Health Education Department (HED) of Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC) assumed a central role in professional preparation for Health Education when Dr. Donald N. Boydston hired Dr. Elena M. Sliepcevich in 1973. Just a decade earlier, as Director of the groundbreaking national School Health Education Study (SHES), Sliepcevich spearheaded research to support development of national standards in public school Health Education and training for teachers. Through use of national and local surveys and focus groups, Sliepcevich and her SHES colleagues worked to understand teachers' perspectives and advocate practical implementation of programs in the schools, bridging the gap between theory and practice. The commitment of Sliepcevich and her colleagues to research-driven best practices remains the conceptual model as schools address contemporary curriculum development and modern societal challenges.
While they made great strides, support for school Health Education must continue. Preserving the stories and artifacts of these leaders will continue to inspire researchers and practitioners in the field of Health Education. With her colleagues Drs. Robert D. Russell, Alice E. Miller, Eileen Zunich, Robert Gold, Robert McDermott, Judy C. Drolet and Paul D. Sarvela, Dr. Sliepcevich built on her SHES experiences to offer nationally recognized graduate and undergraduate Health Education programs as well as extensive contributions to HED teaching, research, and service. Meeting the unpredictable health challenges of the 21st century will require the energy and dedication modeled by SHES and the SIUC Health Education program. The Elena M. Sliepcevich Centre Collections offer extensive resources to accomplish this goal.