Yoshi Iwasaki, PhD, Chair


Dr. Yoshitaka (Yoshi) Iwasaki is Professor and Chair of the Department of Public Health and Recreation (PHR) in the College of Health and Human Sciences (CHHS) at San Jose State University (SJSU) in California, USA with over 23 years of experience in community-engaged research and education, knowledge mobilization, and capacity-building.  His areas of specialization include: (a) culture, diversity, and community-university engagement; (b) active living and quality of life (e.g., meaning-making, mental health, and leisure/recreation/physical activity); and (c) participatory action research (PAR) to address social justice issues (e.g., human rights, poverty, empowerment, youth engagement, health equity, social change). 

He envisions that SJSU PHR Department has the potential to become a pioneer and a global leader in teaching and learning, research and scholarship, and professional practice and service concerning public health and recreation.  In particular, our leadership mobilizes our university-community partnerships as a catalyst for social change together to build a vibrant, prosperous world where opportunities for advancing social justice promote individual and community health and wellbeing.  

Importantly, our students are the reason why we are here.  Therefore, the purpose of our PHR department is to respectfully meet the needs of our talented students through student engagement and quality education to facilitate the success of each and every student in our programs academically, professionally, and personally.  Another related purpose of our department is to meet the evolving needs of our communities and workforce especially in the fields of public health and recreation.  In particular, we are accountable and responsible for building our communities and contributing to workforce development through engaging our students and alumni, our faculty and staff, and our community and industry partners together.  More about his vision for the sustainable, meaningful growth and transformation of the department authentically is described in our new maganize-like brochure/catalog of our SJSU PHR department with our new departmental slogan of "Achieving Health and Wellbeing for All"!

His Ph.D. in Applied Health Sciences was completed at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada in 1998.  His previous employment includes being Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, College of Public Health at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from 2006 to 2011; in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management at the University of Manitoba from 1998 to 2006; and most recently, in the Faculty of Extension at the University of Alberta from 2011 to 2018.  Those include past 10 years of his leadership positions as Director of a community-based interdisciplinary research center; Associate Dean, Research in an university lifelong learning extension unit; and currently as the Chair of SJSU PHR.  In 2008, he was elected as Fellow/Inductee into the Academy of Leisure Sciences, and in 2017, was awarded the inaugural McKinnon Walker Trust Global Fellowship on the theme of "Transforming Vulnerable Lives" at the University of Wollongong in Australia.  Below are samples of Dr. Iwasaki's works so far:

5 Ways to Bring Meaning to Your Free Time:

The Role of Leisure in Meaning-making and Engagement with Life:

Youth Engagement — Engaging for Change: Changing for Engagement

Meaningful Youth Engagement Through Media Usage:

Role of Leisure in Recovery From Mental Illness:

Youth-Guided Youth Engagement: Participatory Action Research (PAR) With High-Risk, Marginalized Youth:

The role of youth engagement in positive youth development and social justice youth development for high-risk, marginalised youth:

Leisure as a context for active living, recovery, health and life quality for persons with mental illness in a global context:

Voices from the margins: Stress, active living, and leisure as a contributor to coping with stress:

Leisure and quality of life in an international and multicultural context: What are major pathways linking leisure to quality of life?

Mapping nondominant voices into understanding stress‐coping mechanisms: