Julia Rae Varnes, Ph.D., MPH, MCHES

Senior Lecturer
Department of Health Education & Behavior

  • Ph.D. in Health Behavior, University of Florida (2013)
  • M.P.H. in Community Health Education, University of Maryland, College Park (2008)
  • M.S. in Health Science Education, University of Florida (2003)
  • B.S. in Health Science Education, University of Florida (2002)

Varnes CV

Contact Info

FLG 173
P.O. Box 118210
Gainesville, FL 32611-8210
(352) 294-1823 | jrvarnes@ufl.edu


Julia Rae Varnes received her Ph.D. from the University of Florida’s College of Health and Human Performance, also minoring in Research and Evaluation Methodology. A Master Certified Health Education Specialist, Dr. Varnes also holds two masters degrees, one in Health Science Education and one in Public Health. Dr. Varnes is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Health Education and Behavior, and an Affiliate Lecturer with the Center for Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies Research.

Prior to joining the Department, Dr. Varnes worked for several years as a health education/promotion specialist in the area of Alcohol, Other Drugs, Tobacco, and Violence Prevention. Dr. Varnes is a member of, and actively involved in, several professional organizations including the American College Health Association, Society for Public Health Education, and a Lifetime Member of Eta Sigma Gamma, to name a few. She is also a trainer for motivational interviewing and a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT).

Focusing on psychosocial health, Dr. Varnes’ academic interests are specific to interpersonal violence, objectification, and gender role expectations with special focus on athletes and college students. Teaching both graduate and undergraduate courses, Dr. Varnes’ teaching is focused on practice-based health education/promotion and psychosocial health. In her teaching, advising, and mentoring, she aims to instill concepts of empowerment, compassion, acceptance, and cultural competency in future professionals.

Research & Teaching Interests

  • Objectification
  • Interpersonal Violence Prevention
  • Health Education/Promotion Practice (Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating programs)
  • Psychosocial Health
  • Athletes and College Students


  • HSC 3537 Health & Medical Terminology
  • HSC4134 Emotional Health and Health Counseling
  • HSC4302 Methods & Materials in Health Education
  • HSC5135 Emotional Health and Health Counseling
  • HSC 5536 Health & Medical Terminology for Health Professions
  • HSC 6712 Evaluating Health Education Programs
  • HSC 6813 Planning for Health Education Programs