Elena M. Sliepcevich's Students and Professional Legacy

Dr. Sliepcevich chaired and served on numerous disseration and thesis committees at SIUC and other universities. Early in her career, she served on dissertation committees for major key leaders, including Mary K. Beyrer (1959, The Ohio State University), Marian Solleder (1961, Oregon State University), and Peter Cortese (1975, University of California, Los Angeles). Later, she chaired the doctoral committees of Elaine M. Vitello (1977), Ella M. Phillips Lacey (1980), and Charles E. Basch (1984).

Elaine M. Vitello

Dr. Elaine M. Vitello

Elaine M. Vitello, Ph.D., is one of the major key leaders in Health Education most strongly influenced by and connected to Dr. Sliepcevich. After earning her Bachelor's (1967) from Ohio Dominion University, she completed her Master's (1971) degree under Dr. Sliepcevich at The Ohio State University. "Dr S." then mentored Dr. Vitello when they both came to SIU as she completed her Ph.D. (1977) in Health Education. She had the honor of being a Charter Certified Health Education Specialist (#8) when the profession moved to formal certification.

Dr. Vitello's 25 years career at SIU included: Visiting Assistant Professor (1977) in what was then known as the College of Technical Careers; Associate Professor (1982); full Professor and Director of Advanced Technical Studies (1988).

In her tenure as Dean of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts (1990 - 2002), she restructured the entire College, shifting from an emphasis on Associate degrees to Bachelor's degrees. In 2017, over 2400 students are enrolled in 7 Master's, 14 Bachelor's, and 2 Associate degree programs. Further, Dr. Vitello conceptualized, sought funding for, and helped launch the $35 million project at Southern Illinois Airport now known as the Transportation Education Center. She became Acting Director of the Center for Rural Health and Social Services Development (2002-2009) after her retirement from SIU (2002).

Dr. Vitello made presentations/papers (160) and served in numerous professional leadership roles among all Associations (AAHE, ASHA, APHA, SOPHE) as well as the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. Among other recognitions, she was recipient of the American Association for Health Education's (AAHE) Professional Service Award, Presidential Citation Award, Charter Fellow. She was author/co-author of 38 articles, 26 abstracts in peer-reviewed journals; 2 chapters and a foreword in professional books.

During these years, as cross-appointed Professor of Health Education, she and Dr. Sliepcevich co-taught the 8-credit Foundations of Health Education graduate course required of all Master's and doctoral students; and was Chair/Committee member of many Health Education Master's and Ph.D. committees together.

Dr. Vitello assisted in acquiring the initial donations of original documents for the Elena Sliepcevich Centre for Health Education Studies from the Sliepcevich family. She also contributed, from her work with Dr. Sliepcevich, many artifacts that are found among the extensive Elena Sliepcevich Papers.

Ella M. Phillips Lacey

Dr. Ella M. Phillips Lacey

A triple alumna of Southern Illinois University, Ella Phillips Lacey earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1964, a master’s degree in rehabilitation and human services in 1972, and a doctorate in education in 1979. 

Beginning in 1972 as a field coordinator and instructor for the SIU School of Medicine, Lacey worked to improve health in local communities for 22 years. In addition to serving as a professor at SIU, she was the coordinator for the Office of Community Health Program Development, and held dual appointments with the School of Medicine and SIUC’s College of Education and Human Services.

Engaged in health systems planning, Lacey was instrumental in developing and implementing a plan that improved ambulance services in seven Southern Illinois counties. She served on state councils and commissions focusing on AIDS, welfare and hypertension. She researched Pica, an eating disorder more commonly found in women with limited financial resources, and she served on state cancer prevention, adolescent pregnancy and child abuse committees.

Dr. Charles E. Basch

Dr. Charles E. Basch

Charles E. Basch earned his Ph.D. from SIUC in 1984. In a 2011 special issue of Journal of School Health, Basch argues that academic achievement disparities persisting in the wake of the No Child Left Behind Act can be reduced by implementing school health programs focusing on problems disproportionately affecting low-income, urban minority youth. Basch is the Richard March Hoe Professor of Health and Education at Columbia University.

Joyce V. Fetro

Dr. Joyce V. Fetro

Among higher education academic scholars are a rare group of professionals who also have contributed extensively as “hands-on” practitioners. These researchers translate the meaning and importance of scholarly work for day-to-day application in a variety of settings for myriad target audiences.  

Dr. Joyce V. Fetro came full circle twice in her pursuit of best practice. After 14 years as a Middle School teacher in Massachusetts (1971-1984), she completed her Master's degree (1985) and PhD (1987) at SIU under the guidance of Dr. Elaine M. Vitello. Dr. Judy C. Drolet also served as a Committee member for her degrees. She was a graduate student in classes taught by Dr. Elena M. Sliepcevich. In 1989, she became a Certified Health Education Specialist.

Initially, she applied her knowledge and skills as Director of Research (1987-1990) for ETR Associates, an award winning non-profit that focuses on youth development materials. In this capacity, she did cutting edge research while also developing innovative technology for teachers. Dr. Fetro then, as Supervisor and Curriculum Specialist (1990-1997) for San Francisco Unified School District, took this rich blend of skills and experience to ensure that students received a comprehensive Health Education program.

Dr. Fetro became Professor (1997) and Chair (2009 - 2013) of SIU's Health Education Department as well as being recognized as University-wide Distinguished Teacher of the Year (2005). She was Chair/Committee Member for 27 PhD Committees and 29 Master's committees at SIU.

Dr. Fetro’s research focused on such topics as personal and social skills, teens’ risky health behaviors, drug, alcohol and tobacco education, effectiveness of teen pregnancy prevention programs, and Middle School wellness, among others. Over her career, she received nearly $18 million in grants to support her work. Her papers and presentations (over 125) and training offered cutting edge, best practices models for school health professionals and practitioners. She was author/co-author of 14 book chapters, 36 peer-reviewed journal articles, and 16 books.

Among numerous awards, she was American Association for Health Education Scholar (AAHE) (2009), and recipient of the American School Health Association’s (ASHA) highest honor, William A. Howe Award (2010), that recognizes outstanding professional contributions and service in furthering Health Education. This Association previously presented Dr. Fetro with Distinguished Service (2002) and Outstanding School Health Educator (1991) Awards.

Dr. Fetro provided professional development services as Consultant to 15 large, urban school districts in 14 states. She served on national experts panels for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (1991 - 2009), was Visiting Professor for the University of Hawaii at Manoa (2001 - 2008), and served in numerous leadership roles for ASHA, AAHE, and Eta Sigma Gamma National Health Science Honorary.

Dr. Fetro dedicated her nearly 4 decades of professional contributions directly to School Health Education. Her collective research, curriculum development, training, and mentoring have extensive impact across the nation and internationally. She continued the legacy of her mentors, Dr. Sliepcevich, Dr. Vitello, and Dr. Drolet, with a renowned and highly respected career.