Valerie A. Ubbes

Valerie UbbesProfessor Emerita

204D Phillips Hall

Ph.D., Ohio State University
M.Ed., University of Toledo
B.S., Appalachian State University

Curriculum Vitae

Scholarly Interests

My scholarship focuses on the relationship between literacy, health, and technology within public health education. I have a special interest in health literacy projects that promote cognitive-behavioral skill development for low literacy populations. I advance the principles of health communication message design when teaching professionals how to write and disseminate digital materials that increase the practice of health behaviors.

The two main intersections of my work include the role of reading and writing in health literacy development and furthering the promise of functional health literacy, which I define as the ability to read, write, and speak about health habits in a variety of life situations and environments.

Recent Courses Taught

KNH 125 Introduction to Public Health

KNH 221 Social Marketing in Public Health

KNH 262 Public Health Education

KNH 362 Public Health Communication

KNH 424/524 Health Disparities Past and Current

KNH 613 Health Communication and Education

Recent Publications

Ubbes, V.A. & Njoku, B. (2022). A curriculum, instruction, and assessment (CIA) framework for health literacy education (HLE) in medical and health professions schools. World Journal of Social Science Research 9(1),15-55.

Ubbes, V.A. & Witter, A. (2021). Parental influences on children’s oral health behaviors, reading behaviors, and reading attitudes associated with the sharing of a digital story from the eBook for Oral Health Literacy© Curriculum, Children and Teenagers, 4(3), 26-55.

Ubbes, V.A. (2021). Bicycles and other riding toys. In Bergen, D. (Ed.) The Handbook of Developmentally Appropriate Toys (pp. 61-70). New York: Rowman and Littlefield.

Ubbes, V.A. & Ausherman, J. (2021). Oral language development in university classrooms: Building health communication through a constructivist theoretical framework. International Journal of Interdisciplinary Educational Studies. In press.

Ubbes, V.A. & Ausherman, J. (2021). Teaching health education history by using a constructivist pedagogy to promote student memberships in professional organizations, engagement in course discourse, and attendance at professional conferences. The Health Educator. In press.

Ubbes, V.A., Killeen, G., Bettinger, S.S., & Burke, K.E. (2021). Child liking preferences of favorite vegetables: Visual textual survey development with picture book compatibility. International Journal of Health, Wellness, and Society.

Ubbes, V.A., Witter, A.M., Kraska, C.M., Justus, E.E. (2020). Evaluation of an eBook for Oral Health Literacy© to promote child health: Readability, suitability, understandability, actionability, and gist-based message design. Children and Teenagers, 3(1), 54-80.

Ubbes, V.A., Geller, K.S., Schweitzer, R., & Robison, K. (2020). Testing the psychometric properties of the Habits of Health Scale for children and youth. Children and Teenagers, 3(1), 1-15.

Ubbes, V.A. & Ausherman, J. (2018). A historical comparison of reading materials originating in the 19th & 20th centuries that contributed a language and vocabulary for functional health literacy. The Health Educator. 50 (2), 26-40.

Ubbes, V.A. (2018). Three pedagogical approaches to independent studies. SPUR: Scholarship and Practice of Undergraduate Research, 2(1),1.

Ubbes, V.A., Dillhoff, R., & Maldonado, W. (2018). Reading and writing attitudes of children: Conceptual implications for health education and health literacy. Journal of Health Education Teaching, 9(1), 49-67.

Ubbes, V.A., Coyle, J., & Tzoc, E. (2018). Evaluation of an oral health curriculum: Design feedback from three audiences. The International Journal of Health, Wellness, and Society, 8(4), 1-10. Accessed at 

Ubbes, V.A. (2018). Chapter 9: Conflict resolution skill development. In A manual for colleges and universities developing programs in peace & conflict studies: An updated and reorganized guide supporting the development of conflict studies in higher education (2nd Edition). Jennifer Batton, Julie Shedd, David J. Smith and Bill Warters (Eds). Conflict Studies Collaborative: Press Books. Accessed at

Tzoc, E. & Ubbes, V.A. (2017). The Digital Literacy Partnership Website: Promoting interdisciplinary scholarship between faculty, students, and librarians. New Review of Academic Librarianship

Ausherman, J.A., Ubbes, V.A., & Kowalski, J. (2014). Using school gardening as a vehicle for critical and creative thinking in health education. The Health Educator46(1), 41-48.

Matthews, D., Ubbes, V.A., & Freysinger, V.J. (2014). Perceptions of rhythm in elementary education: Implications for child health. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 1-15.

Zullig, K.J., Ubbes, V.A., & Mann, M. (2013). Early adolescent literacy influences, reading ability, and preventative health behaviors. American Journal of Health Studies, 28(3): 134-141.

Zullig, K. J. & Ubbes, V.A. (2010). Impact of literacy influences and perceived reading ability on self-rated health of public middle school students. Research in Middle Level Education, 33(8): 1-9.

Zullig, K.J., Koopman, T.M., Patton, J.M. & Ubbes, V.A. (2010). School climate: Historical review, instrument development, & school assessment. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 28(2): 139-152.

Ubbes, V.A. (2008). Educating for health: An inquiry-based approach to PreK-8 pedagogy. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Other Projects and Grants

Ubbes, V.A.  & The Center for Digital Scholarship at Miami University. (2014-2022). Digital Literacy Partnership (DLP): Three databases and one curriculum to promote the relationship between literacy, health, and technology. Designed, maintained, co-written, and edited by Valerie A. Ubbes:

The Children’s Picture Book Database at Miami University©

The Electronic Text for Health Literacy at Miami University©

The Health Advocacy Database at Miami University©

The Oral Health Literacy eBook Curriculum©

Ubbes, V.A. (2021). Advancing the "eBook for Oral Health Literacy" in local school-based health clinics. Okemos, MI: Delta Dental Foundation. (Funded, $3,000).

Ubbes, V.A. (2017). Evaluation of the Digital Literacy Partnership (DLP) and eBook for Health. EHS Committee for the Advancement of Faculty Research. Miami University, Oxford, OH. (Funded, $4,494).

Ubbes, V.A. (2015). Using narratives to promote habits of health. EHS Committee for the Advancement of Faculty Research. Miami University, Oxford, OH. (Funded, $4,050).

Boone, M., Blair, A.L, Cummings, H, Gorchov, D, Johnston, S., Moore, R., & Ubbes, V.A. (2013). Communicating science to society in the anthropocene. Office of Academic Research & Scholarship, Miami University, Oxford, OH. (Funded, $25,000).

Hershberger, S., Yezierski, E., Saine, P., & Ubbes, V.A. (2012). Scaffolding physical science inquiry through reflective writing. Columbus, OH:  Ohio Board of Regents. (Funded, $120,488).

Lee, J.D. & Ubbes, V.A. (2010). Scale development for students’ attitudes toward physical activity in accordance with standards-based physical education. Research grant from the Ohio Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. (Funded, $1,500).

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