Collins Airhihenbuwa receives 2011 Health Education Mentor Award

October 04, 2011

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Collins O. Airhihenbuwa, professor and head of the Department of Biobehavioral Health in the College of Health and Human Development, has received the 2011 Health Education Mentor Award given by the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE). The award recognizes individuals who have provided excellence in mentorship to health educators, thus helping to bridge the gap between practice and research. Airhihenbuwa was selected for his significant and lasting contributions to students, colleagues, the field of health education and SOPHE.

According to his nominators, “Dr. Airhihenbuwa has touched the lives of many individuals. What is impressive about his reach into the lives of his mentees is his desire to see the best in others irrespective to race, age, gender, geographic location and discipline.”

Not only does Airhihenbuwa touch the lives of students and colleagues, but he also has had an enormous impact on millions of people suffering from HIV/AIDS. An expert at developing health promotion interventions, he was at the forefront of developing HIV/AIDS education programs from the start of the epidemic in the 1980s, and his work on global health has been recognized and supported by several international agencies, including the United Nations and the World Health Organization. His results are described in more than 90 peer-reviewed articles, several book chapters and three books.

In addition to receiving the 2011 Health Education Mentor Award, Airhihenbuwa was named a SOPHE Distinguished Fellow in 2007 and was named Scholar of the Year in 1998 by the American Association for Health Education. He also was the recipient of the 2011 Penn State University Outreach Award; the 2006 David Stacher Award, given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Directors of Health Promotion; the 2006 W. LaMarr Kopp International Achievement Award, given by Penn State; and the 2000 Robert F. Allen Symbol of H.O.P.E. Award, given by the American Journal of Health Promotion. In addition, he was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Health Behavior in 2002 and of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research in 2010.

Airhihenbuwa has worked at Penn State for more than two decades, first serving on the faculty of the Department of Health Education from 1984 until 1997 and then as head of the department from 1994 to 1997. He then joined the newly formed Department of Biobehavioral Health in 1997. He earned a doctoral degree in public health education and a master’s degree in health planning and administration from the University of Tennessee. He earned his bachelor’s degree in health planning and administration from Tennessee State University.


  • Collins Airhihenbuwa

    IMAGE: Penn State

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Last Updated January 09, 2015