The mission of Western Washington University’s Public 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 Public 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 Public 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:

  1. Plan assessment;
  2. Obtain primary data, secondary data, and other evidence-informed sources;
  3. Analyze the data to determine the health of the priority population(s) and the factors that influence health;
  4. Synthesize assessment findings to inform the planning process.


Goal 2: Students will demonstrate competence in planning health education strategies, interventions, and programs. The student will be able to:

  1. Engage people and organizations in program planning;
  2. Define desired outcomes;
  3. Determine health education and promotion interventions;
  4. Develop plans and materials for implementation and evaluations.


Goal 3: Students will demonstrate competence in implementing health education strategies, interventions, and programs. The student will be able to:

  1. Coordinate the delivery of intervention(s) consistent with the implementation plan;
  2. Deliver health education and promotion interventions;
  3. Monitor implementation.


Goal 4: Students will demonstrate competence in conducting evaluation and research related to health education. The student will be able to:

  1. Design process, impact, and outcome evaluation of the intervention;
  2. Design research studies;
  3. Manage the collection and analysis of evaluation and/or research data using appropriate technology;
  4. Interpret data;
  5. Use findings.


Goal 5: Students will demonstrate competence in advocacy. The student will be able to:

  1. Identify a current or emerging health issue requiring policy, systems, or environmental change;
  2. Engage coalitions and stakeholders in addressing the health issue and planning advocacy efforts;
  3. Engage in advocacy;
  4. Evaluate advocacy.


Goal 6: Students will demonstrate competence in communications. The student will be able to:

  1. Determine factors that affect communication with the identified audience(s);
  2. Determine communication objective(s) for audience(s);
  3. Develop message(s) using communication theories and/or models;
  4. Select methods and technologies used to deliver message(s);
  5. Deliver the message(s) effectively using the identified media and strategies;
  6. Evaluate communication.


Goal 7: Students will demonstrate competence in taking roles in leadership and management.  The student will be able to:

  1. Coordinate relationships with partners and stakeholders;
  2. Prepare others to provide health education and promotion;
  3. Manage human resources;
  4. Manage fiduciary and material resources;
  5. Conduct strategic planning with appropriate stakeholders.


Goal 8:  Students will demonstrate competence in ethics and professionalism.  The student will be able to:

  1. Practice in accordance with established ethical principles;
  2. Serve as an authoritative resource on health education and promotion;
  3. Engage in professional development to maintain and/or enhance proficiency;
  4. Promote the health education profession to stakeholders, the public, and others.


Program Philosophy

Philosophically, the faculty of the Public Health 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 entry-level public health professionals.
  • Understanding that public health competencies emanate from three broad areas: a) the methods and processes of public health practice; b) the content that embodies major health issues confronting society; and c) the obligations one assumes on becoming a public health professional.
  • Learning that public health professionals seek to promote integrity in the delivery of public health tasks and respect the fundamental rights, dignity, and worth of all people by adapting strategies and methodologies to the needs of diverse populations.
  • Learning that public health professionals recognize that health outcomes are influenced at the individual, interpersonal, organizational, community, and societal 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 Public Health.