Community Health Education
David A. Hair, M.Ed., M.S., Chair
Debra L. Fetherman, Ph.D., Program Director
Aukje Kluge Lamonica, Ph.D.
See Exercise Science and Sport for faculty listing
The Community Health Education Profession is dedicated to excellence in the practice of promoting individual, family, organizational, and community health. The World Health Organization defines “health” as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or disability. The American Journal of Health Promotion defines “optimal health” as a balance of physical, emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual health.
Health educators use the “science and art” of health promotion to help individuals and communities change their lifestyle behaviors in an attempt to move toward “optimal” health regardless of individual disease or disability. Lifestyle change is facilitated through strategies to increase awareness, change behavior and develop supportive environments so individuals and communities can adopt and maintain healthy practices.
The Community Health Education (CHED) major is multidisciplinary in nature and rooted in the Jesuit liberal arts tradition. The CHED major enables students to develop key areas of responsibility and competencies that professionally prepare them to be community health educators without the restrictions of a traditional functional/disciplinary major. Students can utilize cognate, general and free electives in a concentrated area pertaining to general health topics or Nutrition or pursue a minor in various areas of interest (i.e., Counseling and Human Services, Human Development, Psychology, and Spanish). Electives can also be used in preparation for graduate health professional programs in Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant and Public Health.
Students will be educated to embody the spirit of “men and women for others,” and encouraged to address issues of social justice and sustainability. Students will develop creative and interpersonal skills to be adept writers, good listeners and speakers. Emphasis will be placed on building skills to work with diverse populations and understanding cultural sensitivity.
Students will be required to complete internship and service learning experiences in a variety of settings. Based upon the internship or service learning site, students may be required to submit a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance and a Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check to the CHED program. Students whose primary residence is out of state may also be required to submit an FBI background check. Copies of these clearances will be provided to sites upon request.
Students will earn a bachelor’s degree which is generally a minimum requirement for an entry-level health educator position. Some states require health educators to be certified health education specialists and others may prefer to hire those who are certified. The Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) designation is offered by the National Commission of Health Education Credentialing. Students may qualify to take the certification exam after earning a degree in health education.
A comprehensive list of courses that qualify for electives will be provided to students by the academic advisors. Consult individual departments for specific course descriptions.
Courses for Community Health Education are listed under the prefixes NURS, CHS, CHED, NUTR, HADM, EXSC. For more information on these and all courses offered, visit our Course Descriptions page.