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The Leisure, Health and Wellness Lab aims to increase individual and community health, well-being, and quality of life across the life span.

Mission Statement

The purpose of Leisure, Health and Wellness Lab is to stimulate innovative research that contributes to the prevention of primary and secondary health risk factors, the promotion of healthy lifestyles through leisure, and the reduction of health care costs in Pennsylvania and beyond. The lab will serve as a catalyst to promote transdisciplinary research and graduate education concerning issues of leisure activity, leisure services, health, well-being, and healthy lifestyles.

Specifically, the lab will provide a context within which to:

Develop New Knowledge

  • Bringing together interdisciplinary scholars interested in the intersection of lifestyle issues and health outcomes
  • Developing and evaluating innovative interventions that will provide field professionals with an array of evidence-based programs and practices to improve health and reduce costs

Translate and Disseminate Knowledge

  • Offering workshops and seminars
  • Producing and distributing a series of "white papers"
  • Identifying and promoting use of effective evidence-based programs and evaluation
  • Working with policy makers to define the most critical policy issues and shape critical decisions that will impact public health and well-being

Strengthen Capacity

  • Training graduate and post-graduate level students to conduct transdisciplinary research on leisure lifestyle and health outcomes and costs
  • Enhancing the capacity of leisure and health professionals to deliver and evaluate programs and services to promote healthy lifestyles and reduce health care costs by learning new competencies and expanding resources and partnerships

Engage in Local, State, National, and Global Partnerships

  • Collaborating and sharing resources with others throughout the immediate and global communities who are addressing similar issues

Attract Funding to Support our Objectives

From various agencies and organizations such as:

  • Federal and state funding agencies
  • Legislative appropriations
  • Corporations
  • Foundations
  • Private donors

Contributing Faculty

Linda Caldwell
Linda works from an interdisciplinary perspective and combines leisure, health, and human development. Her research emanates from a prevention framework that focuses on developing youth competencies and healthy leisure, thereby reducing risky behavior in leisure. Two of her major research projects include the development and evaluation of a new school-based curriculum, TimeWise: Taking Charge of Leisure Time (ETR Associates) and the HealthWise South Africa: Life Skills for Adolescents curriculum.
Phone: 814-863-8983
Ben Hickerson
Ben’s research is designed to examine health-inducing characteristics of natural and built environments through the lens of the social ecological model. He is interested in the interplay between individual, social, and physical structures and how these connections can help determine positive or negative health behaviors. His recent projects have dealt with assessing social ecological correlates of physical activity in youth summer camps and the value of physical structures in local park playgrounds.
Phone: 814-867-2900
Andrew Mowen
Andrew’s research focuses on the contributions of public parks in shaping physical activity and health, both at the individual and community level. He recently conducted a pilot recreation and health campaign evaluation for the Pennsylvania Advocates for Nutrition and Activity and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. This assessment examined the role of park use, park visitation constraints, and perceived neighborhood walkability upon physical activity and health of key stakeholder groups (older adults, parents with school-aged children). Currently, Andrew is conducting a study funded by the National Recreation Foundation which examines nationwide health partnership practices and public health collaborations within the field of parks and recreation.
Phone: 814-865-2102

Contact Information

Benjamin Hickerson, Ph.D.
Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Management
Pennsylvania State University
704M Donald H. Ford Building
University Park, PA 16803