Happiness Course

The Center for Health Leadership sponsored an exciting new course in 2010:

The New Science of Leadership, Sustainability, Health, and Happiness

PH 290-005 (2 units)
CCN: 76316
Time/Date: Fall 2010, Mondays 2-5pm for 10 weeks beginning August 30th
Instructors: Rick Foster, Greg Hicks, and Catherine O’Brien, Ph.D.

This 10-week course examined how leadership, health, and personal happiness in our organizations and communities are all important components of global sustainability. Students learned a scientifically-validated roadmap of nine behaviors that will allow them to be more in control of their lives, have an impact on the world, and be successful leaders who create high performance teams and organizations. Based on the Foster/Hicks Model, which is widely used in major medical centers and some of today’s most innovative global companies, along with the groundbreaking work on sustainable happiness created by Dr. Catherine O’Brien of Cape Breton University, this course was highly interactive, fast-moving, and practical.

About the Instructors


Rick Foster & Greg Hicks
As internationally recognized pioneers in the fields of health and happiness, Rick Foster and Greg Hicks have dedicated the last 15 years to studying people and organizational cultures that thrive. Their acclaimed research has led to the development of the Foster/Hicks model of nine principles, a proven system for higher quality of life, effective leadership, and the creation of a high-trust community.  Working with executive leaders at such companies as GE, Wells Fargo, Mercedes-Benz, and Walgreens, they also have trained thousands of healthcare professionals at major medical centers, including the Mayo Clinic and NYU Medical Center.  Rick is on the faculty of The American Hospital Association’s National Patient Safety Fellowship.

Foster and Hicks are authors of the national bestselling book How We Choose to Be Happy (Putnam, 1999), and Happiness & Health (Penguin, 2008).  Hicks is also the author of LeaderShock – And How to Triumph Over It.  They are founders and co-owners of international consulting firm Foster, Hicks & Associates.

Catherine O’Brien, Ph.D.
Catherine’s research and teaching have focused on sustainability and sustainable communities for the past twenty years. Some highlights of this work include a research project at the Barefoot College in Rajasthan, India to explore its education process for sustainable community development. She spearheaded research and policy development for child and youth friendly planning in Canada to create healthier communities for young people. Her most recent innovation is the development of a groundbreaking concept called “sustainable happiness” which merges work from sustainability principles with research from happiness studies. She developed the world’s first university course in sustainable happiness. Preliminary research evidence suggests that the sustainable happiness course has fostered healthy lifestyles that students have maintained for a year following the completion of the course.

Syllabus Overview

Session 1: Overview – An overview of the interplay between leadership, happiness, health and sustainability

Session 2: Intention – The degree of control we, as leaders, have over our reactions and behavior, and how to exert this control

Session 3: Accountability – Getting yourself and your “clients” out of victimhood

Session 4: Identification and Centrality – Using your passions about Public Health and the diversity of “styles” around you to maximize your effectiveness

Session 5: Recasting – A process/tool that can be used by the Public Health professional and his/her clients for moving through personal and community-wide trauma, problems, and failures

Session 6: Options – The creation of hope, and importance of flexible, divergent thinking in creativity, innovation, and change

Session 7: Appreciation – The role of appreciation in professional lives, its application to clients and communities in Public Health, and changing biochemistry with appreciation

Session 8: Giving – The creation of a “marketplace of giving” when we give without the expectation of a return

Session 9: Truth – The importance of staying in integrity with yourself, and the importance of truth in Public Health

Session 10: Wrap-up and Final Projects

More information

Learn more about Foster and Hicks.

Learn more about Catherine O’Brien.