Howard Hoyman

Born January 21, 1902, Howard Hoyman was the son of Oscar and Catherine Hoyman. He had a brother and two sisters. They lived in Lancaster, Ohio and attended Lancaster High School. Upon graduating, Hoyman served in the Navy Medical Corps during WWI and attended  Pharmacist’s Mate School where he was an x-ray technician. This is where he was first introduced and became interested in promoting better health programs.

He received his bachelor’s degree in health and physical education from  Ohio State University in 1931, and his master’s (1932) and his doctorate (1945) degrees in health education from Columbia University. His post-graduate work included Stanford University, Ohio State, University of Chicago and University of Michigan where he studied science, education and public health.

While working as a professor at the University of Oregon, where he moved after he obtained his master’s, he developed the first comprehensive spiral health curriculum in the nation for high schools. A spiral curriculum teaches students topics at young ages and then covers them repeatedly throughout their schooling, each time with more information that is age appropriate. 

Hoyman working on driving simulator
Huffman, Florio, and Hoyman (right) work on a driving simulator

Hoyman came to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1949 to help establish and direct  health education as a division of the Department of Physical Education. After 10 years he moved on to serving as the head of the Department of Health and Safety Education from when it started until he retired (1959-1970). While at this University, Hoyman wrote or collaborated on around 200 articles and reports regarding public health and health education.

Hoyman wrote many books in his field that expanded on new ways of teaching health curriculum. His most famous book, “Your Health and Safety,”  was published in its fourth edition in 1957. This widely used teacher’s manual encouraged teachers to plan lessons for “active learning that gets them involved emotionally as well as intellectually” (Hoyman, 1957, p.19) rather than passive learning. The book gave advice on how to teach these subjects, outlines of important health units and included many suggestions for videos, readings and activities, as well as tips on how to adjust lessons for students with different learning speeds.

In 1955, Hoyman served as a voting delegate to the International Health Conference in Rome, Italy. In the 1960’s Howard Hoyman worked on field studies in the Soviet Union and Sweden regarding health education and sex education. He also wrote about the relationship between ecology and health in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

He was a member of the Illinois Joint Committee on School Health, the Illinois Sex Education Advisory Board and the National Academy of Religion and Mental Health. He was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi and a fellow of the American Public Health Association. This Association honored him with the Distinguished Service Award in 1964. Eta Sigma Gamma honored him with the National Honor Award in Health Education in 1975. And in 1976, he received the UI Alumni Award.

Huff Hall. The current home of the Community Health department formerly Health and Safety Education.


Driving Simulator. (1965). Photographic Subject File, 1868-. Record Series 39/2/20, Box PHE 6, Folder PHE 6. University of Illinois Archives.

Hoyman, H. (1957). Your Health and Safety: A teacher’s manual with answer key to teaching testsNew York: Harcourt, Brace & World.

Hoyman, Howard. (August 1957). Record Series 26/4/1 Folder, Howman, Howard S. University of Illinois Archives.

Informed Health Choices. (n.d.). Spiral Curriculum. Retrieved from

‘Mike’ Hoyman noted health educator dies (1993). Record Series 26/4/1 Folder, Howman, Howard S. University of Illinois Archives.

Osheroff, M. (June 1957).  Interest in Health Problem Grows, Says Health Education Professor. Record Series 26/4/1, Folder Howman, Howard S. University of Illinois Archives.

Contributors: Leah Pearlman