Healthy Shopper Rewards Program

New collaboration creates incentives for healthy eating while providing data to doctors and researchers about the food choices people make. Read more

Community Health Priorities Reports

The results of five community health forums, sponsored by the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion, and conducted by students in the CNYMPH program, are now available. Read more

Healthy Monday

Healthy Monday makes healthy choices fun by leveraging the power of cyclical messaging to end chronic, preventable disease. Read more

Scholarship in Action

Improving individual and population health starts with listening. That's why community engagement is at the heart of what we do at the Lerner Center. Read more

Lerner Fellows

The Lerner Fellows program brings the University's best students to public health promotion. Read more

Student Leadership Institute

The Center is engaging student leaders to foster its mission through a new collaboration. Read more


The Lerner Center applies the best practices of social marketing and science to create motivating, sustainable public health programs. It is a laboratory for the development strategies that can be replicated in community and national prevention programs.

We work in partnership with citizens, students, researchers and public health professionals to identify needs, develop programming and deploy collaborative initiatives. The center is based at the Maxwell School and works in conjunction with the Central New York Master of Public Health Program.


In the News

St. Joseph's Primary Care Center West Opens.

Onondaga County Health Department releases its Community Health Assessment.

Partner Near West Side Initiative organizes Movement on Main prototype play day.

Center announces collaboration with Leadership Institute.

Sid Lerner to win Arents Award. Read all about it.

Healthy Monday Syracuse launches "Walktober. Read.

Center, grocer team up for health. From The Post-Standard.

Read about the Center's inagural class of fellows going on to great things.

County exec, mayor declare Sept. 10 Move it Monday! Day

More news on our Events and News Page.

For more information


Program Dir. Rebecca Bostwick


Phone: (315) 443-4526

Address: 426 Eggers Hall, Syracuse, NY 13244

Healthy Monday Syracuse

The Science and Art of Health Promotion

Tom Dennison

The Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion was established in 2011 to study and combat America’s deadliest killer: Our lifestyles.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have determined that smoking, lack of exercise, and diet are the three leading causes of death and disability in the United States (CDC 2012).

Since its founding, the Center has launched projects across campus and in the larger Syracuse community to combat these killers and to build models that communities around the globe can replicate.

To learn more about what the Center does and why, Newhouse doctoral student and journalist Greg Munno sat down with Center Director Dr. Tom Dennison for a question and answer session.

Munno’s first question: What is public health promotion?

Dennison: The World Health Organization defines Public Health as “all organized measures (whether public or private) to prevent disease, promote health, and prolong life among the population as a whole.” At the Lerner Center, we’re focused on the “promote” part of that equation. We conduct and encourage research and initiatives that focus on communicating best health practices to policy makers, organizations and, especially, individuals, whom we want to empower and encourage to make healthy choices.

Munno: Could you give me some examples?

Dennison: Absolutely. The first series of projects we launched stem from the Monday Campaigns developed by the Center’s namesake, Syracuse University grad Sid Lerner (’53). Sid is a marketing genius who directed the creative team that invented Mr. Whipple and the “Don’t Squeeze the Charmin Campaign.”

After a health scare, Sid decided to devote his talents to selling good health, rather than consumer products. But he used the same concepts and insights from his marketing years: keep it simple, structure messages for a broad audience, have clear calls to actions, and know that you are making a big difference if you can get lots of people to change their behavior even a little bit.

From this starting point, Sid developed Meatless Monday, which encourages people to cut meat out of their diet just one day a week. It’s simple, both as a message and an action. And if enough people do it, it could have a huge impact. Meatless Monday has been enormously successful. First launched just a decade ago, it is now in more than 23 countries; studies show that a majority of Americans have at least heard of Meatless Monday; and it is constantly cited by media as a driving factor in the growth of “flexitarian” diets, which are diets low in animal fat with lots of fruits and veggies, but without the rigidity of a fully vegan diet, which many people have a hard time contemplating, much less sticking to. 

The success of Meatless Monday has led to a host of spinoffs, including Move it Monday and the Monday Mile, which both focus on exercise, and Quit & Stay Quit Monday, which focuses on smoking cessation. There’s others, too, but right there you have public health promotion programs targeting the three big killers.

Read the full Q & A with Dennison here

Sid Lerner Wins Arents Award

Sid Lerner has won the George Arents Award, Syracuse University's highest alumni honor, presented annually to alumni who have made outstanding contributions to their chosen fields. Watch the video to find out why!

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