Program Philosophy | Health Education | Health & Behavior Studies

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Teachers College, Columbia University
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Title

Health Education

In the Department of Health & Behavior Studies

Our Guiding Philosophy

Mission and Vision of Our Programs

  • Mission. The mission of the Programs in Health Education and Community 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 significant 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.
  • Vision. The vision of the Programs in Health Education and Community 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 for Our Programs

  • Guiding Values. The Programs in Health Education and Community Health Education value the following:
  • 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).

 

Goals for Our Programs

  • Goals. Specific goals guide the Programs in Health Education and Community Health Education, covering education, service and research, as described below.

  • Educational Goals
    One of the three fundamental purposes of the Program is to deliver education that provides a firm foundation rooted in knowledge of the behavioral and social science principles that guide effective community-based education—including methods of analysis, assessment, program planning, evaluation, and research. We provide classroom instruction, advanced seminar, colloquia and statistical laboratory instruction that ensure training in core competencies essential for addressing public health through community health education that effectively promotes health, prevents disease, and advances health equity.

    The Program’s educational goals are:

    1. Prepare competent community health practitioners equipped with foundational knowledge and practical skills in core public and community health areas.
    2. Provide students with an intellectually stimulating learning environment.
    3. Provide students with adequate support to complete their studies in a timely fashion.

  • Research Goals
    The second fundamental purpose of the Program is 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. We 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).

    The Program’s research goals are:

    4. Advance and disseminate evidence-based research that addresses public health in diverse regional, national, and international communities.
    5. Engage students in the advancement and dissemination of evidence-based research that addresses public health in diverse regional, national, and international communities.

  • Service Goals
    In addition, the Program provides 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-sites, 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.  We 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.

    The Program’s service goals are:
    6. Engage in collaborative work with varied institutions, organizations and agencies to promote public health.
    7. Provide continuing education and workforce development opportunities to a national and global audience of public and community health practitioners.
     
  • Diversity Goals
    Finally, our Program seeks to recruit and retain a diverse student body, faculty and staff as the multicultural setting for accomplishing educational goals—ensuring the representation of racial/ethnic minorities and other under-represented groups such as immigrants and people with disabilities. Students have the option of engaging in a confidential disclosure of their disability status to our Office of Access and Services for Students with Disabilities. We provide an education that prepares students for engagement with diverse populations in regional, national, and international communities. The education we provide also prepares students to engage in health equity research aimed at reducing and eliminating health disparities and addressing the most vulnerable populations.

    The Program’s diversity goals are:
    8. Recruit and retain a diverse student body, faculty and staff as a multicultural setting for accomplishing educational goals.
    9. Prepare students for engagement with diverse populations in regional, national, and international communities.
    10. Engage in health equity research aimed at reducing and eliminating health disparities and addressing the most vulnerable populations.
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