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Health Education
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Health Education
In the Department of Health and Behavior Studies

Program Philosophy

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Program Philosophy


  • The mission of the Program in Health Education is to address the health of the public through the preparation of specialists in health education who focus on the community as the setting for analysis, assessment, program planning, intervention, evaluation, and research.
  • This mission includes promoting health, preventing disease, and advancing health equity, while training exceptional leaders for the delivery of outstanding contributions to diverse regional, national, and international communities through teaching, research and service.
  • Varied structures, institutions, organizations, and agencies in the community setting-'"including schools, hospitals, clinics, work-sties, and non-profits-'"are engaged in collaborative relationships for purposes of fulfilling the mission.


  • The vision of the Program in Health Education is to create a world-class learning environment that attracts, retains, and graduates leaders who share with faculty a deep commitment to health promotion, disease prevention, and health equity for diverse regional, national and international communities; and, work collaboratively with both faculty and community members through educational, service, and research endeavors, in order to advance and disseminate the behavioral and social science serving as the foundation for effective community health education.

Guiding Values

  • Excellence. In order to magnify excellence as a program, we value the importance of attracting and retaining graduate students who have demonstrated the capacity and/or potential for leadership, achieving at the highest levels academically, and successfully working collaboratively with program peers, faculty, other professionals, and community representatives.
  • Well-Rounded Preparation. In order to ensure that our graduate students have received well-rounded preparation for professional careers as health education specialists in varied community settings, we value the process of mentoring graduate students toward realization of their highest academic and professional potential through actively engaging students in instructional, colloquia, internship, practicum, service, and research endeavors.
  • Establishing the Evidence Base. We see great merit in training the next generation of professionals so they are capable of advancing and disseminating the behavioral and social science that establishes health education as evidence-based, doing so by ensuring involvement in relevant programs of research. At the same time, faculty embrace broad definitions of what constitutes evidence and supports adapting evidence-based approaches so they are linguistically and culturally appropriate, being tailored for specific populations and individual clients.
  • Diversity, Health Equity and Multicultural Competence. We value training that prepares professionals to function in diverse regional, national, and international communities, while advancing health equity, necessitating grounding in multicultural competency principles and practices that guide professional conduct as a health education specialist (i.e., working collaboratively with communities so they actively determine their own health, advancing the right to equity in health, ensuring empowerment, advocating for equal access to opportunities that support health, delivering education and interventions so they reflect cultural appropriateness, and co-producing knowledge with community members' input to ensure research designs are culturally appropriate and produce findings of cultural relevance).


  • Educational Goal Statement - To deliver education that provides a firm foundation rooted in knowledge of the behavioral and social science principles that guide effective community- based health education-'"including methods of analysis, assessment, program planning, evaluation and research. To provide classroom instruction, advanced seminars, colloquia, and statistical laboratory instruction that ensure training in core competencies essential for addressing the public health through community health education that effectively promotes health, prevents disease, and advances health equity.
  • Service Goal Statement -- To provide opportunities for engagement in internship, practice, and service activities that reflect collaboration with varied institutions, organizations, and agencies in the community setting-'"including schools, hospitals, clinics, work-sties, and non- profits-'"thereby providing a firm grounding in the practical application of knowledge in the real- world, as well as reinforcing and extending the knowledge base gained through education. To promote the sharing of expertise, learning, and working collaboratively with program peers, faculty, other professionals, community stakeholders, and community members-'"whether via service on advisory boards, institutional committees, advocacy groups, trans-disciplinary groups, or other organizational groups.
  • Research Goal Statement -- To advance and disseminate the evidence-base for the behavioral and social science serving as the foundation for the community health education that effectively addresses the health of the public in diverse regional, national, and international communities. To foster exposure to rich and varied programs of research that emphasize establishing the evidence base for community health education practices, using multiple types of evidence and varied research designs (e.g. efficacy, effectiveness, epidemiological, public health, ethnographic, naturalistic, case-studies, process-outcome studies, meta-analyses).
  • Creating a Vibrant Learning Community and Service to the Community -- We also seek to create a vibrant learning community and seek to serve the public by offering the following:
The Fall 8 Session Colloquia Series offered by Professor Barbara Wallace -- Sessions are open to all and cover the following topics as vital orientation for all incoming students, while appealing to a broader community: 1) Professional Identity Development: What to Expect in Graduate School and What is Expected of You; 2) Coping with Stress: Adaptive Versus Maladaptive Coping Strategies for Use in Graduate School/Life; 3) Learning to Write with Clarity and Power: APA Guidelines, the Keyhole Paper Writing Method, Avoiding Plagiarism, and Getting Credit for Your Ideas; 4) Making a Research Project Manageable and Enjoyable: Obtaining Institutional Review Board Approval and Implications for Selecting Research Projects; 5) Conducting Internet and E-Health Research Using E-mail Messages/Text Messages/Twitter/Facebook: Examples; 6) Advocacy, Vulnerable Populations, Health Disparities and the Goal of Equity in Health for All: Understanding Behavioral, Cultural, and Social Factors; 7) Diversity Training for All: Acquiring Multicultural Competence Part I; 8) Diversity Training for All: Acquiring Multicultural Competence Part II.
The Annual Health Disparities Conference at Teachers College, Columbia University -'" both in-person and live webcast, while offering 10 Category I Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) and Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) continuing education course hours-'"as an approved (conference event) provider by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC). Videos for various conference years may be accessed via YouTube and iTunes (just google!). Some videos have been viewed thousands of times, making an ongoing community contribution.

Degrees Offered: A Brief Overview

  • The Program in Health Education offers several degree programs.
    • 32 point M.A. in Health Education
    • 42 point M.S. in Community Health Education
    • 90 point Ed.D. in Health Education