MSU department head honored for health education practice

Contact: Karen Brasher

Will Evans (Photo by Kevin Hudson)

STARKVILLE, Mississippi—The Mississippi State University head of the Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion is being honored for his work as a health education practitioner.  

Marion W. “Will” Evans received the Sarah Mazelis Award for outstanding performance by a practitioner at the American Public Health Association annual meeting in Atlanta this month.

Evans was most recently named a Fellow of the Southeastern Conference Academic Leadership Development Program. He also has developed a new graduate certificate program in clinical health promotion and wellness coaching, pending approval by the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning.

Prior to his role in academia, Evans served as a private chiropractor in rural Alabama for 17 years. Evans provided health education to his patients and formed an alliance with other local health care providers to improve the lives of individuals and families within the community.

Within this role, Evans led a partnership with city leaders to pass and enact the town’s first non-smoking ordinance in 1991 and again strengthen that ordinance in 2000.

The Sarah Mazelis award is given to an individual for outstanding practice in health education. Mazelis was a superb practitioner whose keen sense of the field linked with the best of academic theory and conceptualization made her “the practitioner’s practitioner.”

David Buys, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station scientist and state health specialist with the MSU Extension Center, who nominated Evans for the accolade, said Evans’ dedication to health education embodies the spirit of the award.

“Dr. Evans’ work to train chiropractic health professionals in the use of health education and promotion techniques to improve their ability to assist patients, in addition to his focus on policy, systems and environmental interventions, lend strong evidence that he is certainly a ‘practitioner’s practitioner,’” Buys said.

Evans is a master certified health education specialist and a certified wellness practitioner. He earned his bachelor's degree from Indiana University and his doctoral and master’s degrees from the University of Alabama. He received a doctor of chiropractic degree from Logan University.

Evans previously served as executive vice president and provost of the University of Western States in Portland, Oregon; dean of academics at the U.S. Sports Academy in Alabama; and director of wellness initiatives at Parker University in Dallas, Texas.

The MSU Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion offers two undergraduate degrees, master’s and doctoral degrees, including a distance master’s degree in health promotion. The department includes faculty and staff with appointments in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, and the MSU Extension Service.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - 12:44 pm