Public Health/Community Health Education, M.P.H.

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College of Health Sciences

Department of Health Studies / DeNike 250



M.P.H. Graduate Coordinator:

Steven Godin, Ph.D., M.P.H., PH Informatics Certificate, CHES,


Alberto Cardelle, Ph.D., M.P.H., Chair,

Steven Godin, Ph.D., M.P.H., PH Informatics Certificate, CHES,

Kathy Hillman, Ph.D., M.P.H., CHES,

Associate Professors:

Adenike Bitto, Dr. P.H., M.P.H., CHES,

Kimberley Razzano, Ph.D., M.P.H.,

Steven Shive, Ph.D, M.P.H.,

Assistant Professors:

Kelly Boyd, Ph.D., M.S.,


Christina Brecht, M.P.H., R.D.,

Mary Jane O'Merle, M.S.,

Master in Public Health/Community Health Education

  • 45 semester hours

    Purpose of Degree

    The purpose of the degree is to prepare students in the core public health competencies (Epidemiology, Health Administration, Environmental Health, Social and Behavioral Sciences and Biostatistics), and to meet the graduate health education "competency framework" developed by the health education profession.

    With the concentration in Community Health Education, graduates are eligible to sit for the Certified Health Education Specialist exam. This indicates that they have the requisite skills in developing, planning, implementing and evaluating public health education programs to gain this credential.

    National Accreditation

    The M.P.H. program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

    CEPH is the independent agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit schools of public health and certain public health programs. CEPH accreditation attests to the quality of an educational program that prepares for entry into the public health profession.

    Accreditation provides assurance to students that the school or program has been evaluated and has met accepted standards established by and with the profession. Accreditation provides potential employers, with assurance that the curriculum covers essential skills and knowledge needed for today's jobs.

    Mission Statement

    The mission for the M.P.H. program is to develop a future in which there is a demand for public health excellence in eastern Pennsylvania, and in which the ESU public health program becomes the recognized regional center for public health excellence by preparing public health workforce professionals who partner with communities and use applied research and public health practice to empower communities and foster organizational collaboration.

    As an accredited M.P.H. program, the faculty are heavily involved in scholarly service to the field of public health as well as conducting research to facilitate solving public health problems. Faculty members conduct this work at the national, state and local level.

    Examples of faculty research include: social marketing strategies and tobacco control, evaluating sun safety interventions for children, improving cancer health literacy, health disparities in cancer prevention, research on effective health care delivery and dental care delivery, a community health services capacity needs assessment, community-based substance abuse prevention initiatives, Internet/technology applications in public health and, prevention, to name a few.

    Faculty members engaged in conducting and publishing research collaborate with graduate assistants and other students. A number of these students, some supported by research assistantships, are integrally involved in these projects.

    Program of Study

    The Master of Public Health degree in Community Health Education is a 45-credit program that includes a six-credit (300 hours) internship requirement, a requirement to pass an oral exam and a requirement to write a publishable quality paper.

    Because the program combines traditional public health course work with professional training in community health education, graduates are prepared to work in very diverse settings.

    Graduates work in program management, health education and behavioral sciences or health administration to prevent epidemics and the spread of disease, to protect citizens against environmental hazards, to prevent injuries, to promote and encourage healthy behavior in communities, to respond to disasters and recovery efforts and to assure the quality and accessibility of health services.

    Students who enter the program typically have backgrounds in a variety of social service occupations with undergraduate and/or graduate degrees in the social behavioral sciences (such as health education, psychology, anthropology or sociology), as well as nursing, medicine, biology, and various other fields. No specific undergraduate degree is required.

    Illustrative plan of study

    Required courses:

    HLTH 509

    Skills for Applied Community Health Practice

    HLTH 537

    Community Health Practice for Health Educators

    HLTH 538

    Public Health Administration

    HLTH 553

    Health Policy for Ethics and Law

    HLTH 555

    Health Education Evaluation

    HLTH 557

    Computer Application for Health Education

    HLTH 560

    Scientific Foundations of Health Behavior

    HLTH 561


    HLTH 562

    The Physical Environment and Community Health

    HLTH 563

    Public Health Measurement Science

    HLTH 570

    Introduction to Research

    HLTH 571

    Health Education Research Problem

    HLTH 581

    Public Health Seminar

    HLTH 586

    Field Experience and Internship

    Final graduation requirement

    All M.P.H. graduate candidates will be required to complete an oral comprehensive exam at the end of their coursework.

    Graduate Assistantships

    Graduate assistantships are available through the department. These are awarded based upon merit and achievement to full-time students in the graduate program.

    Graduate assistants do not teach classes, but complete projects and tasks assigned by professors.

    The graduate assistantship is awarded for the first year of full-time study, with the possibility of extension through the first summer. Prospective students should apply for a graduate assistantship at the time of original application to the program, using the application form provided by the Graduate School or apply online.

Course Descriptions

  • HLTH 505 Non-Medical Healing Arts (1)

    • This course examines the role of Osteopathy, Acupuncture, Faith Healing, and other health services which deviate from or compete with "Medicine" in relation to health education. The social and legal issues concerning these services, reliability of sources of information about the services, and the role of the health education in utilization of these services are studied. Focus of the course will be on the development of guidelines for utilization of these services.

  • HLTH 506 Analysis of Health Information (1)

    • This course is an overview of the use and misuse of statistics, the manipulation of human needs and drives, and the provision of false and misleading information by providers and suppliers of health products and services. All major sources of information related to consumer health will be examined for inherent biases and common forms of misinformation.

  • HLTH 507 Trends in Dieting (1)

    • This course is a study of the issues surrounding popular health foods and diets. The desirable and undesirable qualities of "natural" and "organic" foods, "exotic" foods, and nutrient enriched foods are examined. The advantages and disadvantages of diets emphasizing specific nutrients or types of foods, crash diets, drug aided diets, and diets for specific purposes are also studied. Focus of the course is on development of guidelines for evaluating information and sources of information.

  • HLTH 508 Women's Health Concerns (3)

    • This course is designed to address unique health concerns of women in today's society. Specific topics such as alcoholism, anorexia nervosa, pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), domestic violence, child abuse, rape, menopause and many others will be included.

  • HLTH 509 Skills for Applied Community Health Practice (2)

    • The purpose of this course is to provide public health education professionals with a broad set of research and communication skills and techniques needed to practice culturally competent public health education, communicate effectively with communities and conduct community based participatory research.

  • HLTH 530 Nutrition Across the Life Span (3)

    • This course will emphasize the application of nutrition theory across the life-span, highlighting exercise and weight control, disease prevention, pregnancy and infancy, childhood, adulthood and the senior years. An opportunity to examine nutrition curricula for public school teaching will be provided.

  • HLTH 531 Instructor Training for classroom Emergency Care (3)

    • This course provides educators with the necessary basic skills and knowledge to appropriately respond to emergency situations that might arise within the classroom and other school environment. In addition to technical skill development, the focus of this course is on teacher training skill development. Information and materials are provided to enable educators to implement emergency care content into related health areas. There is also an opportunity to become certified in standard first aid and instructor authorization in CPR.

  • HLTH 532 Death and Dying Education (3)

    • This course is designed to increase awareness and develop appropriate values, attitudes, and behaviors concerning death. Special emphasis will be placed on providing educators with information and materials which will enable them to implement death and dying content into related health areas.

  • HLTH 533 Alcohol, Drugs and Narcotics Education (3)

    • This course is designed to provide an insight into the nature, extent and significance of the drug problem in society. In-depth consideration will be given to the pharmacological, psychological, and sociological and legal aspects of drugs. Special attention will be devoted to the topics of: alternatives to drug use, communication techniques, community organizations and resources for rehabilitation and treatment of drug users, curriculum in drug education for grades K-12, review of drug education media, and principles and procedures for developing community programs for effective drug education.

  • HLTH 534 Sex Education in Schools (3)

    • The development, present status, and trends of sex education in school programs and in the community with reference to social values and attitudes are presented. It includes attention to the development of organized programs, resources, and materials.

  • HLTH 536 Seminar: Health Education (3)

    • The course is an individual and group study of problems and materials in personal, school, and community health.

  • HLTH 537 Community Health Practice for Health Educators (3)

    • The course is a study of the theory and principles of community health practice and the application of those principles to contemporary health organization and problems. Approaches to successful community health practice are examined with the various factors that influence or are influenced by community health education programs.

  • HLTH 538 Public Health (3)

    • This course is designed to provide the student with a comprehensive background in public health legislation, organization, and programming. Emphasis is placed on the dynamic nature of public health within the total physical, social, economic and political context.

  • HLTH 539 Health Education Methods Workshop (3)

    • This course is a study of teaching strategies for health education and their application to various settings. Students will develop teaching modules for implementation.

  • HLTH 540 Behavior Modification in Health Education (3)

    • This course is an overview of the major principles of behavior modification as they relate to health education in both theory and practice. It examines theory in relation to current issues of education in general and health education in particular. Applications of principles are studied in the context of health programs specifically designed as behavior modification programs and in the context of health programs, which contain behavior modification principles but were not designed with these principles in mind.

  • HLTH 542 HIV and AIDS Prevention and Education (3)

    • This course is designed to provide a comprehensive overview of HIV and AIDS infection in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and the United States. The course will provide information on recent research on modes of HIV transmission and risk reduction strategies. Particular emphasis is placed on the design and evaluation of HIV prevention and education programs geared toward high risk populations including youth, women, and minorities.

  • HLTH 544 Health Promotion Programs and Aging (3)

    • This course will emphasize health promotion programming for elderly populations. Social and demographic factors will be addressed in regard to health education's role in the aging process. Healthful aging will be examined and discussed from a public health and social health perspective with a primary focus on developing and implementing programs that enhance the health of the elderly.

  • HLTH 550 School Health Administration and Curriculum (3)

    • The purpose of this course is to assist the student in more thoroughly understanding the administration of the school health program and the content, structure, and development of the health education curriculum. Emphasis is placed upon a comparison of the conceptual approach to other approaches for curriculum development.

  • HLTH 551 Health resources and Service Planning and Management (3)

    • Students are introduced to the principles, logic, and history of health resource allocation and health services planning, and the fundamentals of health systems management. Each student learns how to use appropriate health data tracing systems, and to apply and evaluate these systems in practical settings.

  • HLTH 552 Health Budgeting and Fiscal Management (3)

    • Students will become acquainted with macro- and micro-economic factors influencing the health care industry, and how these factors influence health budgeting and fiscal management of health service organizations. Students learn budget making and the budgetary process in public and private health services; capital development and planning; and the procedures of fiscal management as administrative control.

  • HLTH 553 Health Ethics, Policy and Law (3)

    • The students learn how professional, ethical, constitutional, legal, and governmental aspects of health influence the administration of health service organizations, the formation of health policy, and the planning of health services.

  • HLTH 555 Health Education Evaluation (3)

    • This course is designed to familiarize students with the methods of evaluation used in health education and the implications for student evaluation and program planning. A strong emphasis is placed on the development of various types of instruments of evaluation used in health education. (Prerequisite: Statistics)

  • HLTH 556 Qualitative Methods in Research and Evaluation for Health Education (3)

    • This course is a review of the use of qualitative methodology in research and evaluation of Health Education. Emphasis of the course is on the use of these methodologies to enhance student understanding of the physical and social dynamics (ecology) which influence Health Education planning and implementation. The course will also include skill development for selected techniques.

  • HLTH 557 Computers in Health Education (3)

    • This course provides health education professionals with selected PC-compatible software packages that are being used in a variety of professional settings where community and school-based health education and promotion are being conducted. Particular emphasis will be placed on the application of various health promotion software packages to conduct health risk appraisals, stress assessment and reduction, nutrition assessment and life skills training. In addition, the course will provide an introduction to the application of spreadsheets and statistical software in assessing program effectiveness of community and school-based health education intervention.

  • HLTH 560 Scientific Foundations of Health Behavior (3)

    • This course is designed to familiarize students with the health sciences related to health education and promotion, and to provide experiences in the use of the literature related to the health sciences. The primary focus of the course is on human behavior as it influences health and is influenced by health education and promotion programs.

  • HLTH 561 Epidemiology (3)

    • This course is a study of the principles and methods of epidemiological investigations for human health problems. The incidence and prevalence of both infectious and non-infectious health problems are covered. Emphasis of this course is on student application of the principles of epidemiology.

  • HLTH 562 The Physical Environment and Community Health (3)

    • This course reviews traditional and evolving public health concerns related to the physical environment. Major areas of concern are: solid waste, housing, water, air, accidents, good sanitation, overpopulation, and global concerns.

  • HLTH 563 Public Health Measurement Sciences (3)

    • This purpose of this course is to develop applied statistical skills commonly used in public health measurement science. Students will develop statistical literacy, including the use of SPSS to solve research questions and hypotheses testing commonly found in public health practice and public health administration.

  • HLTH 565 Occupational Health Education and Promotion (3)

    • The course is an application of health education and promotion strategies to the work place. Emphasis is placed in developing student skills for design of programs in occupational settings. An overview of existing programs is included. Students will be expected to apply course material to a specific industrial situation.

  • HLTH 570 Introduction to Research (3)

    • This course is an orientation to research in health education. The emphasis is on developing and interpreting research projects with particular concern for the implications of design, methods and procedures. Students are expected to demonstrate research skills by developing a research proposal and presenting the proposal in a scholarly manner.

  • HLTH 571 Health Education Research Problem (Semester Hours Arranged)

    • This experience is designed to acquaint the student with recent methods of health research. Tasks will include the completion of an acceptable research report. Prerequisite: HLTH 570.

  • HLTH 572 Health Education Thesis (Semester Hours Arranged)

    • This experience consists of doing research for and writing of a thesis concerning a significant problem in health education. Prerequisite: HLTH 570.

  • HLTH 577 Independent Study in Health Education (Semester Hours Arranged)

    • With the guidance of a member of the graduate faculty of the Health Department, the student pursues a pattern of readings, study, and research related to professional knowledge and understanding in health science. Topics should be established prior to enrollment. Prerequisite: Health Department graduate faculty approval.

  • HLTH 580 State Level Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Instructor's Training (1)

    • This course is designed to train the student in proper techniques and procedures in emergency measures in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The course is recognized by the American Heart Association, Pennsylvania Affiliate.

  • HLTH 581 Public Health Seminar (1)

    • This required course is designed to reinforce student understanding of the ecological factors that contribute to public health. The course will examine public health issues by analyzing the biological, genetic, behavioral (individual), interpersonal/social community, organizational and environmental factors that affect the outcomes of public health cases. The course strengthens student's problem solving skills, the skills to participate in transdisciplinary research and the skills to use research to make good decisions about practice. Prerequisites: HLTH 538, 555, 560, 561, 562, 570.

  • HLTH 586 Field Experience and Internship (Semester Hours Arranged)

    • This course consists of the practical experiences obtained through supervised work in the school or community. The credits and hours of the experience shall be based on the students experience and programmatic needs; however, no more than 3 credits may be applied to health education degree programs.