Program Director, Undergraduate Programs

School of Health Sciences

Jody EarlyDr. Jody Oomen-Early specializes in health studies that focus on community and women’s health, as well as the development of online learning and health education programming.

Dr. Early is currently the program director of undergraduate programs for the School of Health Sciences at Walden University. She is focused on developing innovative, reputable, and quality online programs that prepare 21st century health practitioners to improve the health of communities and the global society.

Prior to joining Walden University in 2009, Dr. Early worked as a professor and director of online programs for the Department of Health Studies at Texas Woman’s University, where she was recognized for her pioneering work in establishing one of the first fully online undergraduate programs for health education in the nation. In 2009, the American Association for Health Education, in conjunction with the Health Education Directory (HEDIR), awarded her the HEDIR Technology Award, an honor given to health educators who have made exceptional contributions to the profession through technology.

Before entering higher education, Dr. Early worked in a variety of health and educational settings including as a high school teacher, a curriculum specialist, a community health educator, a regulatory specialist, and an editor. Dr. Early has presented her research at global, national, and state conferences and has published her work in several peer-reviewed journals. She is also co-author of The Process of Community Health Education and Promotion (second edition).


  • Ph.D. in Health Studies (Community Health Education), Texas Woman’s University, Texas, 1999
  • M.S. in Health Science, Brigham Young University, Utah, 1997        
  • B.A. in English with an emphasis in Secondary Education (minors: health and history), Brigham Young University, Utah, 1994        

Areas of Expertise

Women’s Health

  • Researched a number of women’s health issues, including interpersonal violence, breast cancer, eating disorders, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and HIV/AIDS.
  • Designing a comprehensive instrument to measure breast health knowledge, attitudes, self- efficacy, and screening practices among women.
  • Worked as a former principal investigator and co-director of the Pioneer Breast Health and Community Outreach Program of Denton County, Texas.

Social, Behavioral, and Cultural Determinants of Health and Illness

  • Directed, explored, presented, and published community-based research projects relating to breast cancer among Latina and African-American women, barriers to child health and survival in Sierra Leone, reducing barriers to treatment of type 2 diabetes for Hispanic and Latina women and perceptions and determinants of HIV/AIDS among married couples in Kenya.
  • Focused on culture-based models to develop prevention programs and interventions for diverse populations.
  • Presented research on religiosity as a predictor of eating attitudes and eating disorder symptomatology among college women.

Community Health Program Development and Evaluation

  • Co-authored the textbook The Process of Community Health Education and Promotion (2010, Waveland Press).
  • Successfully obtained external funding to develop, direct, and evaluate community health programs.
  • Experienced health educator in community, school, corporate, and nonprofit settings, as well as serving as a board member for several nonprofit organizations.

Health and Technology

  • Published evidence-based research on effectiveness of online programs in the health sciences.
  • Developed quality online undergraduate and graduate programs, and incorporates the use of blogs, social media, audio communications, and other forms of Web 2.0 in higher education and within the health sciences.

Relevant Publications (last three years)

  • Doyle, E., Ward, S., and Oomen-Early, J. (2010). The Process of Community Health Education and Promotion (2nd edition.) Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.
  • Walker, A., and Oomen-Early, J. (2010). We have to do something for ourselves: Using Photovoice and participatory action research to assess the barriers to orphan caregiving in Sierra Leone. International Electronic Journal of Health Education, 13, 33-48.
  • Melancon, J., Oomen-Early, J., and del Rincon, L. (2010). Knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus among Mexican-American and Mexican Native men and women in North Texas: A mixed methods study. International Electronic Journal of Health Education, 12, 203-221.
  • Burke, S. andOomen-Early, J., and Rager, R. (2009). Latina women’s experiences with intimate partner violence: A grounded theory approach. Family Violence Prevention and Health Practice, 2 (9). 
  • Wallen, M., Burke, S., Oomen-Early, J. (2009). Using asynchronous and synchronous audio communication platforms to enhance online learning and student connectedness. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 6 (3).
  • Armstrong, S. and Oomen-Early, J. (2009). Social connectedness, self-esteem and depression symptomatology among collegiate athletes vs. non athletes. Journal of American College Health, 57, (5), 521-526.
  • Oomen-Early, J. and Murphy, L. (2009). Self-Actualization and E-Learning: A qualitative investigation of university faculty’s perceived needs for effective online instruction. International Journal on E-Learning, 8 (2), 223-240.
  • Yick, A.G., and Oomen-Early, J. (2009). Using the PEN-3 theoretical model to plan for culturally competent domestic violence prevention and intervention services within Chinese-American and Chinese immigrant communities. Health Education Research, 109 (2), 125-139.
  • Oomen-Early, J. (Jan 2009). Burn-out and online instruction, Part II: Ten tips to revive your E-classroom & yourself. Online Classroom, 8-11.
  • Oomen-Early, J., Bold, M., Wiginton, K.L., Gallien, T., and Anderson, N. (2008). Using Asynchronous Audio Communication (AAC) across academic disciplines to increase instructor presence and enhance students’ engagement, learning outcomes, and overall satisfaction in the online classroom. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 4 (3),  267-277.
  • Oomen-Early, J. (Dec 2008). Burn-out and online instruction: Ten tips to revive your E-classroom & yourself: Part I. Online Classroom, 8-9.
  • Whallen, M., Burke, S., and Oomen-Early, J. (June 2008). Using group audio communication to enhance social connectedness in the online classroom. Online Classroom, 1-3.
  • Oomen-Early, J. and Burke, S. (May 2008). Thirteen ways to integrate blogging into the online classroom. Online Classroom, 5-8.
  • Oomen-Early, J. and Murphy, L. (2008). Overcoming obstacles to faculty participation in distance education. Distance Education Report, 12 (5), 4-5. 
  • Oomen-Early, J. (2008). Comparability in E-learning: An overview of a fully online undergraduate program in Health Education at Texas Woman’s University. International Electronic Journal of Health Education, 11, 19-38.
  • Yick-Flanagan, A., andOomen-Early, J. (2008). A sixteen-year examination of domestic violence and Asian-Americans in the empirical knowledge base: A content analysis. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 24, 20-32.
  • Gallien, T., and Oomen-Early, J. (2008). Personalized versus collective feedback in the online health course: Does type of instructor feedback affect student  satisfaction, performance, and perceived connectedness with the instructor? International Journal on E-Learning, 7 (3).

Professional Affiliations

  • Member, American Public Health Association (APHA)
  • Member, Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAPHERD)
  • Member, American Association of Health Education (AAHE)
  • Member, Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH)
  • Member, Global Health Council
  • Reviewer for peer-reviewed journals relating to health and technology: the Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, Innovate, and the International Electronic Journal of Health Education

Professional Recognition

  • Research Fellow, Institute of Translational Health Sciences, University of Washington (May 2010)
  • 2009 HEDIR Technology Award (national award sponsored by the American Association of Health Education)
  • Favorite health science faculty, College of Health Sciences, Texas Woman’s University (2008)
  • Nominee (one of eight), Leadership in E-learning Award, Texas Distance Learning Association (2008)
  • Distinction in E-learning Award, Texas Woman’s University (2007)
  • The Kitty Magee Most Promising Professional Award, Texas Woman’s University (2003)
  • Dr. Oomen-Early in the News

    Creating a beautiful you – annual checkups that aren’t pleasing but are lifesaving
    (Los Angeles Family, Las Vegas Family)

    12 Health screenings women need: Tests for disease prevention & early detection