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3 Ways the UW Master’s Degree in Health and Wellness Management Helped Danielle Waldhart Find Career Success

UW Extended Campus February 23, 2018
UW Health and Wellness Management graduate, Danielle Waldhart wearing a business suit and sitting at a table with a laptop and water bottle.

Editor’s note: UW Health and Wellness Management graduate, Danielle Waldhart, was featured in the following student story published in February 2018. Since then, Danielle has become the wellness manager at CUNA Mutual Group based in Madison, WI.


As a 2018 master’s degree graduate of the UW Health and Wellness Management program, Danielle Waldhart is well on her way to achieving her career goals. She credits her newly acquired master’s degree for her promising new role and sees a bright future in management ahead.

1. A New Position

When Dean Health Plan, the insurance arm of one of the largest healthcare systems in the country, had a job opening for an employee wellness specialist, Danielle couldn’t wait to apply. With a bachelor’s degree in speech communications and some experience marketing health and wellness programs, Danielle knew she might not qualify for the role. The position didn’t require a master’s degree but having one would certainly put a candidate at the top of the list.

“My degree in health and wellness helped me tremendously,” says Danielle. “The fact that I had a graduation date in sight made a difference. My manager was already familiar with the curriculum and even knew Theresa Islo, UW program manager, so she was confident in my abilities and the value I could add.”

Danielle is passionate about her role at Dean. One day she’s writing a promotion for the national American Heart Association Wear Red Day. The next, she’s creating a program leading into Earth Day, to raise awareness of proper medication disposal. She attends monthly wellness team meetings, quarterly wellness advocacy team meetings and a number of operations meetings throughout the company. When she’s not marketing new programs, she’s addressing customer service issues for programs underway, helping Dean’s 730 employees remain healthy and active.

2. A Strong Foundation

Danielle says that because the UW Health and Wellness degree offers a broad curriculum, everything she’s learned applies to her workplace.

“Many of the degrees I researched were niche, with a narrow focus in population or community health. Working with employees, one needs a wide range of skills. In one week, I can meet with sales, marketing, human resources, IT, and the medical or clinical staff. So, I must be able to communicate effectively. Having a strong foundation in project management, research, policy, and management, helps my communication with the teams and makes the programs I develop more effective.”

Danielle saw the breadth of the program reflected not only in the curriculum, but also in the students with whom she interacted with online.

“For a class project in HWM 710, the research methods class, our team had six people working in three time zones across four states. Each student’s career path was different. As a result, everyone brought a unique perspective to the project: clinical, legal, advocacy, policy, governmental. It made the project so interesting.”

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3. Timely Leadership Topics

Staying on top of trends is a very visible way she supports the company’s leadership team. The health and wellness field is changing constantly. The insurance industry is complex. There’s a legal and policy debate that’s ongoing. Danielle looks forward to use her applied coursework as she continues to guide her organization.

“Our course discussions are relevant to the issues I’m facing in the health industry. Understanding the bigger picture—lawsuits, insurance funding and governmental legislation—helps me with the smaller picture: programs that support our employees’ well-being.”

Danielle further developed her leadership skills by serving as a student representative on the UW Health and Wellness Management Advisory Board. She added her perspective to industry discussions with business leaders from Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, M3 Insurance and more.

What’s ahead for Danielle now that she is a UW-Green Bay graduate?

“I feel I’m blessed. I like what I do. I’m planning to constantly improve, growing into a director level within health and wellness management.”

Do these things interest you: a new career, a strong health and wellness foundation, and timely leadership topics? Then contact an enrollment adviser for more information. Call 608-262-2011 or email learn@uwex.edu and learn how the UW Health and Wellness Management master’s degree can help you achieve your career goals.

Programs: Health and Wellness Management