Profile for Keely Rees

Keely Rees profile photo

Contact me

Keely Rees

Public/Community Health Edu
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

FriendlyFace badge

Specialty area(s)

Women’s Health (pregnancy, exercise, maternal & child health, menstruation) Adolescent Health Behaviors; Health Policy and Advocacy; Motivational Interviewing, Grant Writing in Health and Human Services. 

Brief biography

Keely Rees is a Chair/Professor in the Department of Health Education and Health Promotion at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.  Dr. Rees’ research and teaching have focused on numerous issues in the health field for over 20 years. Her research has focused on prenatal care, exercise prescription and behaviors during and after pregnancy, social support for pre-conception and prenatal nutrition, tobacco use during pregnancy, and sexuality education and advocacy for young children, teens, and parents, and schools as community outreach for nutrition/exercise. She has been working in collaboration with collaborative projects with Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and Global Partners of Gundersen Health System to provide education and advocacy with Native American youth and leaders.  Dr. Rees has taught community & public health foundations courses, grantsmanship, and women’s health courses, trainings, and workshops in university, hospital, schools, locally and has taught internationally in Ireland, Spain, Costa Rica and soon to be Thailand with other universities, researchers, and organizations identifying ways to better prepare public health educators for the field. Dr. Rees has been a faculty co-sponsor for the Eta Sigma Gamma, Beta Phi Chapter since 2003 and was inducted to Gamma Delta Chapter in 1999 and served as a faculty co-sponsor until 2003. Keely is the President of National Eta Sigma Gamma 2020-2022, a member of SOPHE, APHA, and WPHA.

Current courses at UWL

CHE 400, Health Policy, Advocacy, Community Organization 

CHE 430, Grant Writing & Resource Management




Ph.D. (Health Education) University of New Mexico;
M.S. (Exercise Physiology/Health Behavior) South Dakota State University;
BA (Health Education) University of Minnesota-Morris.

Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES)", National Commission for Health Education Credentialing. (November 26, 2012 - Present).

Certified Health Education Specialist", NCHEC. (April 1999 - March 2009).


Teaching history

CHE 240, Comm Health Foundations

CHE 309, Volunteer Experience in Psychology 

CHE 370, MI for Health Educators

CHE 400, Health Policy, Advocacy, Community Organization 

CHE 430, Grant Writing & Resource Management

CHE 440, Program Development and Planning in Health Education

CHE 475, Workshop in Health Education

CHE 480, Senior Capstone.

CHE 498, Community Health Education Preceptorship

HED 409, Stress Management and Relaxation Skills

HED 412, Women's Health Issues

HED 422, Sexual Abuse of Children

HED 439, Teaching Stress Management and Relaxation Skills

HED 472 Sexual Health Promotion

HED 473, Health Aspects of Aging

HED 474, Nutrition Education

HED 701, Contemporary Issues in Hlth Ed

HED 703, Foundations of Health Education

HED 720, Program Planning in Health Education

HED 760, Global Management

HED 798, Grad Project in Health Education

HED 799, Research: Master's Thesis

PH 204, Introduction to Global Health


Professional history

Professor, University of Wisconsin- La Crosse, La Crosse, WI. (July 1, 2014 - Present).

Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin- La Crosse, La Crosse, WI. (June 2007 - 2014).

Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin- La Crosse, La Crosse, WI. (August 2003 - May 2007).

Assistant Professor, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, KHE Department, Edwardsville, Illinois. (August 1999 - May 2003).

Project Manager/Evaluator, South West Coalition Against Tobacco (SWICAT), Edwardsville, Illinois. (May 2001 - July 2002).

Teaching Assistant, Department of Health Education -University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico. (January 1998 - June 1999).

Wellness Consultant/Exercise Specialist, Sioux Valley Hospital Wellness Center, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. (December 1995 - August 1997).

Teaching Assistant, Department of Health, Physical Education, & Recreation at South Dakota State University, Brookings, South Dakota. (August 1994 - December 1995).

Graduate Assistant, The Wellness Center, South Dakota State University, Brookings, South Dakota. (August 1994 - December 1995).

Research and publishing

Published Intellectual Contributions


Rees, K.S, Early, J., Hampton, C. (2022) Be the Change: Putting Health Advocacy, Policy, and Community Organization into Practice in Public Health Education, Oxford University Press.

Book Chapters

Wagenschutz, H.M. & Rees, K.S. (2016). In Bensley, R., Brookins-Fischer, J. (Ed.), Developing Effective Presentation and Training Skills in Community health education methods: A practitioner’s guide 4th Edition (4th Edition). Sadbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.

Rees, K. S., Goldsmith, M. (2008). In Bensley, R., Brookins-Fischer, J. (Ed.), Presentation Methods in Community health education methods: A practitioner’s guide 3rd Edition (3rd Edition). Sadbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett. (Submitted: March 1, 2007, Accepted: September 2007, Published: January (1st Quarter/Winter) 2008).

Journal Articles

Rivera, L., Starry, B., Gangi, C., Lube, L., Cedergren, A., Whitney, E., Rees, K. S. (2016). From Classroom to Capitol: Building Advocacy Capacity Through State-Level Advocacy Experiences. Health Promotion Practice, 17(6), 771-774. (Published: November 2016).

Tolzman, C., Rooney, B., Duquette, R. D., Rees, K. S. (2014). Perceived Barriers to Accessing Adequate Nutrition Among Food Insecure Households Within a Food Desert. Wisconsin Medical Journal, 113(4), 139-143. (Submitted: June 2014, Accepted: July 2014, Published: August 2014).

Ward, D. L., Rees, K. S. (2013). Building community capacity through grant development collaborations in public health settings: A case study. Journal of the Grant Professionals Association, 11(1), 65-74. (Submitted: January 14, 2013, Accepted: September 2013, Published: November 2013).

Rees, K. S. (2009). Contemplative Practices in Health Education. in Advocacy in Changing Times Health Educator, Monograph Series, Eta Sigma Gamma, 26(1), 29-33. (Submitted: October 2008, Accepted: January 2009, Published: April (2nd Quarter/Spring) 2009).

Barth, M., Rees, K. S. (2008). A Nutrition Assessment of Dietary Practices of Mexicans Living in the State of Veracruz, Mexico. UW-L Journal of Undergraduate Research XI, XI(2008), 1-4. (Submitted: December 2007, Accepted: February 2008, Published: May 2008).

Skemp, K. M., Rees, K. S., Mikat, R. P., Seebach, E. (2006). Body Image Dissatisfaction Among Third, Fourth, and Fifth Grade Children. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 4(3), 58-67. (Published: September 2006).

Driver, S., Rees, K. S., O'Connor, J., Lox, C. (2006). Aquatics, health-promoting self-care behaviours and adults with brain injuries. Brain Injury, 20(2), 133-141. (Accepted: January 2006, Published: February 2006).

Rees, K. S., Thompson, S. E. (2005). An ounce of prevention…Internship planning, and implementation for students, university advisors, and site supervisors. California Journal of Health Promotion, 3(3), 1-7. (Accepted: October 2005, Published: October (4th Quarter/Autumn) 2005).

Sharon, T., Brenda, S., Rees, K. S. (2005). Perceived barriers to participation in a supplemental nutrition program among low-income women on the US/Mexico border. California Journal of Health Promotion, 3(3), 24-28. (Accepted: September 2005, Published: October (4th Quarter/Autumn) 2005).

Rees, K. S., Thompson, S., Curtis, R., David, C. (2005). Unexpected findings in an alternative high school: New implications for values education. California Journal of Health Promotion, 3(1), 130-139. (Accepted: March 2005, Published: July (3rd Quarter/Summer) 2005).

Driver, S., O'Connor, J., Lox, C., Rees, K. S. (2004). Evaluation of an aquatics program on fitness parameters of people with brain injury.. Brain Injury, 18(9), 847-859. (Published: January (1st Quarter/Winter) 2004).

Driver, S., Lox, C., O'Connor, J., Rees, K. S. (2003). Effect of an aquatic exercise program on the psycho/social experiences of individuals with brain injuries: A pilot study.. The Journal of Cognitive Rehabilitation, 21(1), 22-31. (Published: 2003).

Scandell, D., Wlazelek, B., Bentelspachher, C.E., Rees, K. S., Thomas, S. (2003). Effects of questionnaire order on self-reported sexual behavior, risk perceptions, and ratings of HIV and STD protection strategies. Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality, 15(1), 53-67. (Published: 2003).


Ward, D., Rees, K. S. (2011). In Weber, J. (Ed.), Grant writing collaboration is a win-win (47th ed., vol. 16, pp. 3). La Crosse, WI: Bridges. (Submitted: October 11, 2011, Accepted: October 2011, Published: November 23, 2011).


Rees, K. S. (2012). In Gilmore, G. D. (Ed.), Rees, K. (2012).  Using focus groups to assess tobacco usage in pregnant and postpartum women. In G.D. Gilmore, Needs and capacity assessment strategies for health education and health promotion (4th ed., pp.249-260).  Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning. (4th Edition, pp. p 249-260). Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning. (Submitted: August 6, 2011, Accepted: September 2011, Published: January (1st Quarter/Winter) 2012).

Rogers, C. M., Rees, K. S. (2011). In Rees, K. S. (Ed.), South Dakota's Challenges Since 1960 (pp. 296-428). Garrettson, SD: Sanders Printing Co. (Submitted: June 2009, Published: November 2011).



KJ Newkirk, Mikka Nyarko, Anders Cedergren, Keely Rees and Emily Whitney, all Public Health and Community Health Education; Willem Vanroosenbeek, Pride Center; and Casey Tobin, Psychology; co-authored the book "Be the Change: Putting Health Advocacy, Policy, and Community Organization into Practice in Public Health Education" published on Oct. 14 by Oxford University Press . Advocacy has become a key part of public health degree programs across the country. Many programs have added policy and advocacy courses into curricula in response to new emphases in accreditation requirements, yet few public health textbooks comprehensively cover the advocacy skills that health professionals need to effect change. Be the Change is an affordable introductory resource on public health advocacy, policy, and community organizing for both undergraduate and graduate students within the health and social sciences. Using a conversational and reader-friendly style, the authors draw on their experience as diverse advocates and practitioners in the field to synthesize the purpose, strategies, and tactics used in successful advocacy campaigns in public health. In each chapter, they highlight case studies of actual advocacy campaigns alongside concrete strategic recommendations for implementing change at the local, state, and federal levels. Full of useful stories and advice, Be the Change amplifies the important advocacy work happening around the United States, from traditional health organizations to grassroots community activists, and provides readers with the tools and inspiration to put advocacy into practice every day. REVIEWS: "Few people truly understand how policy shapes our health. In simple language, Be The Change helps practitioners understand this critical connection and provides them with strategies from real world success stories to determine where they can act most effectively." -- Larry Cohen, Founder, Prevention Institute and author, Prevention Diaries "A timely and practical playbook, Be the Change offers students the how-to skills for change-making. An essential read for all students who want to make the world a better place." -- Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, MPH, Flint pediatrician and author of What the Eyes Don't See "As a public health researcher, I know that racism, not race, is a fundamental cause of racial health inequities. Structural racism is a fixable problem, and policy makers have the power to enact solutions. This book is a tool to educate and empower public health changemakers, providing them with context, wisdom, and inspiration to build our shared vision of an antiracist future." -- Rachel Hardeman, PhD, MPH, Founding Director, Center for Antiracism Research for Health Equity, University of Minnesota School of Public Health

Submitted on: Nov. 11, 2022



Grace Rollin, Anders Cedergren, Keely Rees and Katie Wagoner, all Public Health and Community Health Education, presented "Bridging the Gap: Sexuality Education for First Year College Students" at Society for Public Health Education Advocacy Summit on Oct. 22 in Washington, DC. Comprehensive sexuality education is crucial for adolescents. Factors such as funding, religion & politics make it difficult to establish consistent education across public K-12 districts. This session provides a solution for campuses.

Submitted on: Oct. 26, 2022



Porter Culp and Harper Rees, both PATCH -Providers and Teens Communicating for Health; and Angela Gelatt and Keely Rees, both Public Health and Community Health Education; presented "High School Students Advocating and Addressing Policy for Better Health Outcomes" at Society for Public Health Education Advocacy Summit on Oct. 22 in Washington, DC. Providers and Teens Communicating for Health (PATCH) addresses inequities, misinformation, and teen’s rights and needs regarding their health. Learn how PATCH is an innovative program improving adolescents' health and wellbeing across the nation.

Submitted on: Oct. 26, 2022



Ashley Clark and Morgan Worachek, both BS Public Health- Community Health Education; Lillian Minor, Keely Rees and Katie Wagoner, all Health Education & Health Promotion; and Eta Sigma Gamma, Beta Phi ; received the award for Health Education & Health Promotion at SOPHE Annual Meeting 2021 on Monday, April 5 in St Louis (virtual). The Chapter Excellence Award is the highest award a Chapter can receive and recognizes a year of Chapter achievement. The Chapter Research Award was based the research project the Beta Phi Chapter conducted in coordination with the UWL Greenfund for the DivaCup Research. This fund provided 40 reusable menstrual cups to be given to University of Wisconsin-La Crosse students. In the spring of 2018, students who were given reusable menstrual cups were asked to participate in research regarding their perceived benefits and barriers to regular use of menstrual cups, social support, and self-efficacy. This project was created using the Health Belief Model for behavior change.

Submitted on: Mar. 19, 2021



Keely Rees, Health Education & Health Promotion, elected National Eta Sigma Gamma President. Rees will serve a six year term total, 2 years as vice president, current two as president and the last two as past President. The mission of Eta Sigma Gamma is the promotion of the discipline by elevating the standards, ideals, competence, and ethics of professionally prepared individuals in Health Education. The goals of the honorary include:

-Supporting the planning, implementation and evaluation of health education programs and resources.

-Stimulating and disseminating scientific research.

-Motivating and providing health education services.

-Recognizing academic achievement.

-Supporting health education advocacy initiatives.

-Promoting professional standards and ethics.

-Promoting networking activities among health educators and related professionals.

Submitted on: Oct. 26, 2020



Keely Rees, Health Education & Health Promotion, presented "Incorporating Advocacy in the Classroom" at 2020 Advocacy Summit Preview Session on Sept. 8 in Washington, DC. During the session you will be able to get a glance of some of the skills you can gain by attending SOPHE’s 2020 Virtual Advocacy Summit. The summit focuses on the effects of climate change on health and how public health professionals can use advocacy skills in three specialized tracts (the effects of climate change on health, advocacy skill-building, incorporating advocacy in the classroom). Learn how climate change is impacting infectious/chronic diseases, especially impacting vulnerable populations and social justice issues. Attendees will be able to participate in virtual congressional visits with their elected officials (October 19-25) and participate in a pre-summit workshop, “Climate for Health Ambassadors Training”.

Submitted on: Oct. 26, 2020



Keely Rees, Health Education & Health Promotion, presented "Advocacy on the Local Level: Moving the Mountain Rock by Rock" at MN SOPHE: “What the Health? Understanding Disease, Diversity and Disparities on Oct. 22 in Minnesota. Advocacy is a process. It is grounded in theory, organization, and community building. It requires leadership, persistence, and passion and it can be tiring, frustrating and cumbersome. With strategic thinking, creativity, and compassion driven humans leading the efforts a lot can be accomplished over time. Rock by rock, step by step health educators can climb the advocacy mountain. We will cover seven key strategies for public health educators who are either just beginning their advocacy journey or need a refresher as a seasoned professional.

Submitted on: Oct. 26, 2020



Keely Rees, Health Education & Health Promotion, served Coalition of National Health Education Organizations Taskforce Co-Chair. The Coalition of National Health Education Organizations (CNHEO) announces the on-line publication of the revised Code of Ethics for the Health Education Profession. The Code of Ethics review process and update was undertaken by a task force made up of representatives from each of the CNHEO member organizations. This updated code of ethics can be found on the Health Education Health Promotion Department's website.

Submitted on: May 7, 2020



Eta Sigma Gamma - Beta Phi; Anders Cedergren, Dan Duquette, Keely Rees, Lori Reichel, Katie Wagoner and Emily Whitney, all Health Ed., Health Promotion;and Catherine Gangi, MPH - CHE; presented "3rd Annual Health Education Advocacy Experience in Madison, WI" at Health Education Advocacy Experience on Feb. 27 in Madison, WI. HEHP and Eta Sigma Gamma provided a two day advocacy training for 35 public health education graduate and undergraduate majors. Students then visited over 30 offices of Senators and Assembly persons discussing and educating on the importance of communicable disease prevention, control and funding for the state of Wisconsin.

Submitted on: Mar. 13, 2017



Lydia Rivera and Bethany Starry, both BS. Community Health Education; Anders Cedergren, Keely Rees and Emily Whitney, all CL-45; and Catherine Gangi and Lauren Lube, both MPH- Community Health Education; co-authored the article "From Classroom to Capitol: Building Advocacy Capacity Through State-Level Advocacy Experiences" in "Health Promotion Practice" published on Nov. 6, 2016 by Sage. This commentary provides insight from Community Health Education and Master of Public Health students on the benefits of participating in a state-level Advocacy Experience and provides a theoretical framework for increased advocacy intention among students as a result of participating in a state-level Advocacy Experience. Providing students the opportunity to translate what they learn about advocacy in the classroom into advocacy in action with policy makers is vital to the career development of our future health education professionals and is key to increasing advocacy capacity within our profession.

Submitted on: Nov. 7, 2016