Film by Best-selling Author Validates Art and Science of Health Promotion

With the presence of several hot-button, controversial health issues at the forefront in our country and world, it’s easy to lose sight of the depth and breadth of factors affecting health and well-being. It’s about much more than insurance coverage and calorie counting.

As best-selling author Tom Rath addresses in his book and documentary Are You Fully Charged?, improving health and well-being is a complex, multi-faceted endeavor. Through his research, Rath has unearthed factors that indicate a “fully charged” day-to-day life. He found amazing stories of healthier choices, interactions that strengthen relationships, and the pursuit of meaning over happiness.

A recent showing of Rath’s documentary on campus at American University—where he helped launch our new Department of Health Studies—sparked discussions and ideas among students, professors, and others about how they can change the world around them. The movie provided powerful, inspiring examples of how actions that improve someone else’s life and that spur positive moments are connected to better mental and physical health.

Rath’s book and movie resonate with students and staff from the Health Promotion Management Program at American University, because his research helps validate what we have made our mission in life. While our areas of emphasis vary a great deal, the underlying goal that drives us also unites us: We are determined to help people, organizations, and communities change lifestyle behaviors to move toward a state of improved health.

Much like the science and art of health promotion that we learn and teach about daily, the type of work that Rath discovered during his research gives framework and definition to intangible concepts that we hold dear:

  • A church giving its members $500 to spend on others
  • A gardener planting vegetables in abandoned lots
  • A nonprofit helping thousands of low-income students go to college

To add remarkable credibility to his assertions, Rath turned to world-renowned experts in behavioral health, the psychology of spending, social networks, decision-making and behavioral economics, willpower and the role of meaning in the workplace. The result is a thought- and effort-provoking documentary that proves there are practical ways to energize your life.

These real-world success stories encourage our MS in health promotion management students to continue striving. At the moment, they are studying what they can do to make a difference in fields ranging from corporate health and personal nutrition to global health policy.

Soon, their ideas, goals, and hard work will yield “fully charged” personal lives, careers and surrounding communities—and we’ll all be better for it.


Are you ready to turn your passion for health and well-being into a world-changing career? Learn about our master’s degree in health promotion management from American University.

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