About the PHE Program

Who is this blog for?

  • Current or future undergraduate Public Health Education students and parents.
  • Anyone interested in public health education in general.


What is Public Health Education?

Within the discipline of public health, there are several specializations. There are public health professionals who focus on epidemiology, sanitation, biostatisticians, nursing, or health policy.  Another specialization is health education.  Health educators take the science from what is known about health risks and health-related Mikebehaviors and design programs and interventions that maintain or improve health and prevent illness and injury.  We work in conjunction, and alongside traditional medicine in hospitals and other healthcare settings, city, county or state health departments, nonprofit organizations, for-profit businesses (corporate wellness), and or health-related foundations.

While graduate degrees in Public Health, such as the MPH and DrPH have been available for several decades, the undergraduate degree is a fairly new development that reflects advancements made in primary prevention strategies in the last quarter of the 20th century. We are one of a handful of universities in Ohio that currently offer an undergraduate degree in the public health education discipline and prepare students to pass the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credential, from the National Commission on Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC).

The Public Health Education program will prepare competent entry-level Public Health Education Specialists to directly enter the workforce or graduate school.

What Does A Trained Public Health Educator Do?

1) Design and implement and evaluate evidence-based programs that assist personal, family, and community health.The Bachelor of Science – Education (BS Ed), with specialization in Public Health Education at Wright State University is an interdisciplinary, community-focused program which trains graduates to:

KRoberts HelmetFittinga) Advocate for and implement changes in health policies, procedures, and services.

b) Exhibit technical competency in the assessment of need and the impact on the individual, family and community.

c) Deliver and evaluate health education programs and projects for a wide variety of the population using best practices.

Assess individual and community needs
Develop health education programs
Coordinate health education programs
Implement health education programs
Manage health education programs & personnelMary ODE job
Plan health education programs
Evaluate health education programs
Write grant applications
Build, facilitate and serve on coalitions
Serve as a resource for the public and the community
Make referrals
Develop social marketing and mass media campaigns
Organize/ mobilize communities for action
Handle controversial health issues/content
Advocate for health related issuesKateRobb minority health fair
Use a variety of education/training methods
Develop audio, visual, print and electronic materials
Conduct research, collect and analyze data
Write scholarly articles

 Future Job Opportunities:

Public Health Education graduates leave are prepared for careers as independent consultants or in nonprofit community organizations, private businesses, hospitals, schools (non-teaching), or city, county, state or other governmental health departments or agencies. They may specialize according to specific health concerns, illnesses, or work or setting. If desired, graduates may choose to continue their education with graduate studies in public health, medicine, law or public policy.   According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of health educators and community health workers is projected to grow 21 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations.

 For more in-depth information on where Health Educators are employed, salaries, and future projections, go to SOPHE’s (Society of Public Health Educators) webpage, http://sophe.org/healthedspecialist.cfm

Students learn to develop, implement and coordinate health-improvement campaigns and organize communities around health and disease issues. Curricula include a unique combination of instruction from the behavioral/social, epidemiological, environmental, and human services, as well as health administration and education.

Upon completion of the degree, students are prepared and qualified to sit for the national CHES (Certified Health Education specialist) certification exam.  (see the National Commission on Health Education Credentialing. http://www.nchec.org/).  The CHES designation signifies that an individual has met eligibility requirements for and has successfully passed a competency exam.

This handout from the Society Of Public Health Education says it all! WhatisaHealthEdSpecialist_10.20.10

Health Educator Checkpoint – is this you?

  • Do your passions focus on helping others learn about healthy behaviors, in terms of prevention of health risks??
  • Are you an “idea person” who would like to design, facilitate and implement educational programs and projects?
  • Do you have a talent for understanding the ethnic and cultural issues and needs of different communities?
  • If so, read about Dr Rima Rudd,  who exemplifies “Health Educator”.

Here are the specific requirements for entry into the Public Health Education program at Wright State University.

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Check out this recent article, dated 1-13-2015 below…

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What it is: Previously outsourced, many companies are now hiring in-house specialists to offer health-and-wellness advice and services, says Brie Reynolds, director of online content at FlexJobs.com, which saw a spike in job postings for this position. The educator works with employees individually to assess personal health issues and create strategies tailored to each person’s needs.

Why it’s growing. Health improvements made by employees not only curb insurance costs but also boost job satisfaction, a key ingredient to retaining talent. Some employers are tying financial incentives to health-and-wellness achievements—discounting health insurance premiums for employees who lose weight, quit smoking, or lower blood pressure, among other behavioral changes.

How your skills translate: Pure and simple, you’re a “people person.” Your ability to connect with individuals and motivate them to make behavioral changes will come in handy when promoting healthy living strategies to workers.

Education requirements: 4-year degree and health education specialist certification. The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing has information on requirements and eligibility.

Average salary: $62,280

Projected job growth through 2022: 21%

Original source:  http://time.com/money/3661833/new-job-titles-2015/

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Program Director Bio:

Dr. Mary Chace is the program director of the public health education program at WSU.  She completed her Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction, Exercise and Wellness Education from Arizona State University in 1996, and received an MPH in Health Education from Univ. of Hawaii in 1992. Before that, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Pacific Island Nation of Micronesia after graduating with a double major B.A. in Health-Fitness and Biology from Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota.

Work Experience: 
Mary has worked as a health educator in two different Medical Centers in MN and HI, the Hawaii Department of Health, the Ohio Department of Education, and several nonprofits including the American Red Cross and the American Cancer Society. After taking a few years off to be a stay-at-home mom in the early 2000’s, she eased back into work as a consultant for the nonprofit organization Ohio Action for Healthy Kids, where she managed school wellness grants and programs. Currently Mary is Asst. Professor and Program Director of the new undergraduate public health education degree at Wright State University.

PHE Program Director, Mary Chace

PHE Program Director, Mary Chace

Here are some of Dr. Chace’s recent articles:

Chace, M. & Elston, A.(Winter, 2015) Kids For Cooking!  Community Partners Join Forces To Create An Afterschool Cooking Club For Middle-Schoolers: One Piece of the Puzzle To Solving The Childhood Obesity Epidemic. Electronic Journal of the Ohio Middle Level Association.  Available here.

Chace, M. & Vilvens, H. (2015). Opening the Doors for Health: School Administrators’ Perceived Benefits, Barriers and Needs Related to Shared Use of School Recreational Facilities for Physical Activity, Journal of Physical Activity and Health, slated for Volume 12, Issue 7, July 2015. 

Chace, M., Elston, A. & Moening, K. (2014)  Insights on Active Transportation Rates and Perceived Barriers for Walking/Biking to School: An Ohio Suburban Middle School Case Study, Future Focus: Ohio Journal of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. Fall/Winter, 2014.

Stover, S., Bower, R., Chace, M. (2013) The importance of attending (online) class. National Teacher Education Journal, 6(3), 110-118.

Chace, M. (Fall/Winter 2012) “Monthly wellness challenge: School wellness policies in action”, Future Focus. 33(2), pages 10-21.

Op-Ed piece: Ohio needs to fight dangers of tobacco use with higher taxes: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/editorials/2014/01/25/ohio-needs-to-fight-dangers-of-tobacco-use-with-higher-taxes.html
Huffington Post Interview about 2015 Shared Use research article here:

For more information about the undergraduate public health education program at Wright State University, contact Mary Chace, Ph.D., MPH, MCHES at mary.chace@wright.edu or (937) 775-4080.