Forest Service Wellness Project

Wellness Leadership Certificate Program

“Where service and health meet”

Cal Poly Humboldt (Humboldt) has developed a comprehensive Wellness Leadership Certificate Program (WLCP) in partnership with the Six Rivers National Forest to support the health and wellness of firefighters. The WLCP is a program of study based on evidence-based practices. Using an interdisciplinary approach, firefighters develop personal and professional skills to provide leadership for health and wellness for themselves and within their organizations. This program supports and complements the existing efforts of physical fitness training programs within the National Forest Service system. The wellness focus and broad health emphasis is in recognition of following key factors for Forest Service personnel to:

  • Attain high-quality, longer lives, free of preventable disease, disability, and injury;

  • Create social and physical environments that promote good health for all; 

  • Promote quality of life, healthy development, and healthy behaviors across the professional life span, and;

  • Provide leadership within the organization to support new and existing efforts to promote wellness.


The program defines a roadmap for the real-world implementation and use of an effective worksite wellness program. This program will have immediate economic benefits for communities, by improving the health of firefighters and reducing operating costs due to early retirement, overtime, illness, and injury. 

The following outline provides an overview of the topics and priorities for the program based on the body of literature for facilitating health promotion behaviors with evidence specific to firefighters. 

Mission: Using an interdisciplinary approach, personnel develop personal and professional skills to provide leadership for health and wellness within their organization.  

Goals:  Specific goals include but are not limited to:

1. Improve the identification and treatment initiation of mental health management plans for  

    fire fighters

2. Increase consumption of nutritionally balanced meals and snacks in daily life and in the field

3. Increase physical fitness specific to the needs of the tactical athlete  

4. Develop wellness leadership skills

5.  Implement injury prevention components within the job demands of a firefighter


A key program component is the implementation of evidence-based practices. The program plans to support significant improvements over the coming decade in the quality of life for all Forest Service employees. Occupational safety and health research has led to many improvements in workplaces and processes that prevent injuries, illnesses, and deaths in workers. However, the individual wellness of each person is often based on lifestyle factors that can have a significant impact on health. The Wellness Leadership Certificate will translate and transfer research findings, technologies, and information into highly effective wellness interventions and education designed to support health promotion and disease prevention. These approaches can be readily integrated into the workplace, resulting in more immediate lifestyle improvements in the lives of participants.

The following outline provides an overview of the courses in the program. Courses include content on health promotion behaviors for each topic with evidence specific to fire fighters where available and are delivered in a mixture of in-person and online formats.


Humboldt Faculty

KINS 280: Introduction to Wellness Leadership: 2 units

Dr. Jill Pawlowski

KINS 280: Principles and Techniques for Physical Training: 3 units

Dr. Brian Blackburn

HED 280: Nutrition: 3 units

Dr. Taylor Bloedon, RD

KINS 280: Ergonomics and Injury Prevention: 1 unit

Dr. Whitney Ogle, PT

KINS 480: Advanced Physical Fitness: 3 units

Dr. Brian Blackburn

KINS 480: Capstone Wellness Leadership: 3 units

Dr. Jill Pawlowski


     Josh Eichamer, Forest Fire Training and Apprentice Coordinator Six Rivers NF and Redwood National Park 

     Phone: (707) 601-7080        Email:

     Carl Hansen, Administrative Lead for Humboldt Dean, College of Extended Education and Global Engagement

     Phone: (707) 826 3731        Email:

      Jill Pawlowski, Program Coordinator for Humboldt Professor, Department of Kinesiology and Recreation Administration

     Phone: (707) 826 4541        Email: Jill.

     Chris Hopper, Director, Institute for Health and Human Performance, Cal Poly Humboldt Professor, Department of         Kinesiology and Recreation Administration

     Phone: (707) 826 3853        Email: