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Teachers College, Columbia University
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Health Education

In the Department of Health & Behavior Studies

Welcome to the Programs in Health Education & Community Health Education at Teachers College

The Programs in Health Education and Community Health Education prepare students for expanding professional career opportunities—given how national and global policy has emphasized health promotion, disease prevention, and addressing health disparities as well as the social determinants of health. Our training facilitates graduates fostering voluntary health-related behavioral and social change through the application of principles from the behavioral and social sciences.

Our graduate professionals obtain a wide range of skills—including for: conducting needs assessments, as well as research; engaging in program planning, implementation and evaluation; designing, launching and evaluating social marketing campaigns to impact population health; taking action to address environmental health issues; motivating individuals and groups to take action to change patterns of behavior, while also focusing on maintaining behavioral change of time and preventing relapse; addressing health disparities and social determinants of health; engaging in evidence-based approaches, while also applying a range of behavioral and social principles rooted in varied theories and models; advocating for diverse and vulnerable populations and pursuing changes in social policy, as well as legislative and organizational policy; and, interacting with diverse and vulnerable populations with cultural humility, while seeking to attain and evidence competence with multicultural populations, as well as to design and implement culturally appropriate interventions and research.

The program at Teachers College is grounded in the belief that community-level structures and organizations play a key role in determining the health of the people. It offers courses in which students learn to analyze and understand and thus become able to influence community structures that either enhance or undercut health-promoting individual behaviors.

In addition to the coursework in the Programs in Health Education & Community Health Education, students are encouraged to pursue interdisciplinary study and research throughout Teachers College, as well as other divisions of Columbia University— such as the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of Columbia University.

Students also may participate in the online Master’s Degree Program in Diabetes Education and Management within the Department of Health and Behavior Studies that has several courses of potential interest to those in the Programs in Health Education and Community Health Education. This program’s courses are of great value, as health educators are now among those acknowledged as being able to participate in Diabetes Self-Management and Treatment—as per new guidelines applicable to providers recognized by the American Diabetes Association. Health educators can sit for the Certified Diabetes Educator exam, administered by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators. Given the obesity and diabetes epidemics in the United States, this is additional training and coursework of great value to health educators, enhancing their preparation for practice. Sample course include: HBSD4110 Behavior Change Strategies for Diabetes Prevention and Management; HBSD4120 Pathophysiology of Diabetes and its Complications; HBSD4130 Assessment of the Person with Diabetes; HBSD4140 Preventive & Therapeutic Interventions in Diabetes Management; HBSD4150 Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME) Programs: Development, Implementation, & Evaluation. Since all of our degree programs include elective courses, students may enjoy access to the courses in the Program in Diabetes Education and Management.

Each of the three degree programs offer some flexibility in order to accommodate differences in previous professional preparation, interests, and professional career objectives of students. In general, the programs of study emphasize the development of competencies in assessing individual and community need for health education; planning effective health education programs; implementing health education programs; coordinating the provision of health education services; acting as a resource person in health education; communicating health and health educational needs, concerns, and resources; evaluating the effectiveness of health education programs; and conducting research in health education.

Students at the Master of Arts (32 points), Master of Science (42 points) and Doctor of Education (90 points) levels are encouraged to become actively involved in departmental, college, and university functions that facilitate interaction with faculty and other students and that have the potential to enrich the student’s intellectual and professional growth. They are expected to undertake the complex and challenging tasks associated with graduate study and other related learning experiences in such a manner as to demonstrate their intellectual discipline. Such discipline includes integrity, creativity, and innovation, as well as the student’s abilities to conceptualize at a high level, think critically, communicate effectively both orally and in writing, and provide leadership.

Students also are expected to demonstrate the ability to appreciate, relate to, and communicate with ethnically, racially, and linguistically diverse individuals and groups of people who possess different personal, social, and cultural histories than their own. They are also encouraged to develop a strong sense of professional identity and commitment to professional affairs in health education. This might take the form of active membership in appropriate national, regional, or local professional organizations, participation in professional meetings, presenting an abstract or a paper at a professional meeting, or serving on a professional committee.

Completion of the M.A., M.S., or EdD degrees makes graduates eligible to qualify for certification as a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. Other opportunities available, when combined with five years of field practice, include eligibility for the MCHES (Master Certified Health Education Specialist) certification. Interested applicants are encouraged to learn more by going to the website of the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. at: http://www.nchec.org/health-education- credentialing.

Specific information regarding each program and its degree requirements can be obtained by writing to the program coordinator, Professor Barbara C. Wallace (bcw3@tc.columbia.edu).

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