The mission of the Community Health Program at Murray State University is to educate and develop professional community health educators by providing competencies and skills needed to preserve, promote, and improve the health and well-being of diverse individuals and communities.
To achieve and maintain recognition in the development and application of innovative models of education, research, and service that promote collaboration between public health agencies; where individuals can develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to be exceptional community health educators.
Community Health Profession
The purpose of a Community Health educator is to assist individuals and communities in promoting health and preventing disease. Community Health educators work in a variety of settings including hospitals, non-profit organizations, government and private business, as well as medical clinics and health departments. The Community Health degree provides an opportunity for students who have an interest in health-related disciplines to pursue a viable career in the field.
The Bachelor of Science in Community Health is designed to prepare students to:
- promote the health of individuals and groups within a community;
- demonstrate the ability to think critically and behave ethically while fulfilling the seven areas of responsibility for a health educator;
- work with individuals, groups, and families in the worksite, health behavior organizations, university-based health services, wellness centers, and community health programs at the local, state, or federal level;
- display positive professional dispositions consistent with current standards of practice;
- communicate with clients, families, colleagues, and all stakeholders in implementing health promotion programs;
- limit instruction, communication, and counseling to the health educator's professional scope of practice;
- pass the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) examination; and
- gain employment as a community-based health educator.
Community Health professionals help to promote health and prevent disease by:
- studying the health needs of a targeted population;
- working with various groups to create and implement a quality health education program;
- evaluating how effective a program was in achieving its objectives through conducting surveys and analyzing statistical data; and by
- improving an implemented health program based upon sound formative and summative evaluation measures.
Community Health Environment
While Community Health professionals have the primary objective of health promotion and disease prevention, employment duties can be very different depending upon work setting. Community Health professionals regularly work in an office setting if employed within a local or state health department, nonprofit organization, college or university or a medical care organization. Alternatively, health educators may work outside the office setting if conducting health programs, organizing communities or educating the public.
Community Health Requirements
Typically, an undergraduate degree in health education is a prerequisite for an entry level Community Health position. Obtaining practical experience and becoming CHES (Certified Health Education Specialist) certified can increase marketability.
Community Health professionals must be able to interact with people -- from individuals to larger group settings. Community Health professionals regularly develop programs, teach classes and facilitate presentations. Therefore, it is essential that health educators have proficient oral and written communication skills; as well as public speaking skills. In order to build healthy communities, health educators frequently work with diverse cultures and a wide range of populations.