The mission of Western Washington University’s Community Health Program is to provide students with a rigorous and dynamic hands-on educational experience that prepares them to effectively and compassionately improve the public’s health and advocate for social justice through community involvement and collaboration.
The Community Health major's courses and assignments are based on the responsibilities and competencies required of entry-level health educators as identified by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. The goals of the Community Health major reflect these responsibilities.
Goal 1: Students will demonstrate competence in assessing individual and community needs for health education. The student will be able to:
- Access existing health-related data;
- Collect health-related data;
- Distinguish between behaviors that foster and hinder well-being;
- Identify factors that foster or hinder the process of health education;
- Infer needs for health education from obtained data.
Goal 2: Students will demonstrate competence in planning health education strategies, interventions, and programs. The student will be able to:
- Involve people and organizations in program planning;
- Incorporate data analysis and principles of community organization;
- Formulate appropriate and measurable program objectives;
- Develop a logical scope and sequence plan for health education practice;
- Design strategies, interventions, and programs consistent with specified objectives;
- Select appropriate strategies to meet objectives;
- Assess factors that affect implementation.
Goal 3: Students will demonstrate competence in implementing health education strategies, interventions, and programs. The student will be able to:
- Initiate a plan of action;
- Demonstrate a variety of skills in delivering strategies, interventions, and programs;
- Use a variety of methods to implement strategies, interventions, and programs.
Goal 4: Students will demonstrate competence in conducting evaluation and research related to health education. The student will be able to:
- Develop plans for evaluation and research;
- Review research and evaluation procedures;
- Design data collection instruments;
- Carry out evaluation and research plans;
- Interpret results from evaluation and research.
Goal 5: Students will demonstrate competence in administering health education strategies, interventions, and programs. The student will be able to:
- Exercise organizational leadership;
- Manage human resources.
Goal 6: Students will demonstrate competence in acting as a health education resource person. The student will be able to:
- Use health-related information resources;
- Respond to requests for health information;
- Select resource materials for dissemination;
- Establish consultative relationships.
Goal 7: Students will demonstrate competence in communicating and advocating for health and health education. The student will be able to:
- Analyze and respond to current and future needs in health education;
- Apply a variety of communciation methods and techniques;
- Promote the health education profession individually and collectively;
- Influence health policy to promote health.
Philosophically, the faculty of the Health Education Program have planned and implemented a curriculum that focuses on students:
- Receiving a broad and interdisciplinary understanding of the social and behavioral sciences, the natural sciences, and educational pedagogy.
- Acquiring professionally recognized responsibilities and competencies for the entry-level health educator.
- Understanding that health education competencies emanate from three broad areas: a) the methods and processes of health education practice; b) the content that embodies major health issues confronting society; and c) the obligations one assumes on becoming a professional health educator.
- Learning that Health Educators seek to promote integrity in the delivery of health education and respect the fundamental rights, dignity, and worth of all people by adapting strategies and methodologies to the needs of diverse populations.
- Learning that Health Educators recognize decisions about health are made at individual, family, community, and political levels.
- Forming professional networks with university campus units (e.g., Primary Prevention and Wellness Center and Lifestyle Advisors) to assist and support the promotion of student health.
- Providing assistance and leadership to community-wide institutions through service-learning activities that support their academic goals and promote the profession of Health Education.