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Explore the role that health education and promotion plays in the development and implementation of health policies and programs that improve health across all populations. The Health Policy and Advocacy specialization is designed to prepare you to advocate, influence, and implement public policies, programs, and systems that facilitate healthy behaviors and are conducive to people’s health. Study critical issues in health policy and advocacy including diversity and human rights, ethics and social justice, American policies and politics, health legislation, and leadership development.
This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. Time to completion will vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.
Note on Certification
The MS in Health Education and Promotion has been designed to reflect the Seven Areas of Responsibility for Health Educators outlined by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC) and to prepare students to sit for the national Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) and Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) exams. Walden enrollment advisors can provide information relating to national certification exams; however, it remains the individual’s responsibility to understand, evaluate, and comply with all requirements relating to national certification exams for the state in which he or she intends to practice. Walden makes no representations or guarantee that completion of Walden coursework or programs will permit an individual to obtain national certification. For more information about the CHES and MCHES exams, students should visit http://www.nchec.org.
In this course, students cover the origins and evolution of the concept of health, including some of the important health problems that face the world today and emerging concerns for the future. Learners in this foundational course are introduced to key events in history as well as some of the health systems and issues that a modern health practitioner may encounter. Strategies for success as a graduate-level scholar and a health practitioner are integrated in a way that provides meaningful context to learners. Students discuss key concepts with peers, and the course culminates with a reflection paper designed to help learners evaluate where they fit in and how to progress as a scholar and a practitioner. Students explore careers in various public health and health education settings and experience a virtual health department to learn about various functions and personnel.
What does it mean to be a health educator in the 21st century? Students in this foundation course explore the field of health education: historical milestones, current issues, and future opportunities and challenges. They examine settings for practice, professional competencies, interprofessional collaborations, credentialing, professional organizations, use of technology, and ethical issues pertaining to health education. Students will also analyze current issues in the field by reviewing scholarly publications and research pertaining to health education practice. Course assignments also include an introduction to commonly used health education theories and models, and students will have the opportunity to develop a philosophy statement for health education practice in the new millennium.(Prerequisite/Corequisite: HLTH 6XXX - The Evolution of Health—foundations course.)
It is important for health educators and other health professionals to understand the unique characteristics and health needs of a community in order to provide effective and relevant health education and services. This course will introduce the student to the principles and processes of needs assessment and community capacity-building as a first step in the program planning process. Students will learn about individual, small-group, and community-based assessments as well as quantitative and qualitative approaches. Students will directly apply what they are reading and discussing in class to their own communities by conducting an assessment unique to their community. Other topics covered include: use of primary and secondary data; exploration of instruments to collect community data; interpretation and analysis of data, and prioritization of health education needs. Community mapping tools and other technology used in the assessment process will also be explored.
In this course, students will identify and discuss social and ecological perspectives of public health including individual, interpersonal, organizational, community, societal, and public policy factors. Students will explore the socioecological model (SEM) and other theoretical frameworks to prevent morbidity and reduce mortality from major causes of disease. The range of topics are primarily centered on the U.S.; however, recognizing the growing need to understand how disease impacts the global community, international settings will also be explored to deepen the understanding of public health perspectives. Students will apply these frameworks and other theories presented in the course to address current public health problems and reduce health disparities. Students will demonstrate their understanding of the SEM through researching and describing a specific health issue in their community, discussing contributing factors, and proposing an appropriate intervention. They will also share ideas and perspectives and provide feedback to peers through discussion forums.
The focus of this course is on the competencies required of the public health professional in planning for the design, development, implementation, and evaluation of community health promotion and disease prevention initiatives. Attention is given to needs assessment, logic models, and collaboration with stakeholders. Strategic approaches to planning, implementation, and evaluation with particular attention to study design and sampling are addressed. Health behavior theories are considered in the development of health promotion programs, the application of evaluation findings, and prioritization of community concerns and resources.
Effective communication plays a vital role in the diffusion of a health behavior or innovation. This course is designed to introduce the health educator to a wide range of health communication strategies. Assignments will allow students to apply and evaluate the use of health education delivery methods for various populations and practice settings (i.e., community, clinical, work site, global, schools, etc.). Principles and theories of health communication and behavior change will be applied to a variety of health education case studies. Students will also demonstrate how to design and communicate culturally tailored health information to an audience of their choice. They will also explore the use of emerging technologies and social media in delivering and promoting health education. (Prerequisites: HLTH 6XXX - The Evolution of Health (foundations course), HLTH 6XXX - Exploring Health Education in the 21st Century, HLTH 6XXX - Assessing Community Needs for Health Education.)
Public health professionals use the results of research in many ways, including in the development of programs and interventions designed to enhance the health of communities as well as to demonstrate the efficacy of programs to stakeholders who provide funding. In this course, students will engage in an examination of the research that informs public health programs, policy, and practice. Specific topics to be covered include study designs, sampling, identification of variables, methods of data collection and analysis, key concepts in measurement (including reliability and validity), program evaluation, and research ethics. As a major assignment in this course, students will engage in an integrative literature review and begin to develop what may become their capstone project.
Students gain a foundational understanding of the administrative, managerial, and organizational practices of public health and healthcare delivery systems. Students examine theories of leadership as well as the professional attributes, skills, styles, and strategies required to advance public health goals. They engage in a variety of contextual and practical assignments focused on management theories, policy processes, systems thinking, strategic planning and partnerships, quality and performance improvement, leadership, and organizational behavior. Students also consider the impact of global trends on public health practice, policy, and systems.
The Capstone course is intended to be taken last in the M.S. in Health Education and Promotion program. It provides students with an opportunity to synthesize knowledge and skills acquired throughout the program by completing a Capstone project focused on social change. The M.S. in Health Education and Promotion Capstone project is designed to empower students with the skills necessary to secure external grant funding through grant proposal writing. Students will integrate theoretical and practical knowledge as well as scientific research to prepare a grant proposal for funding a health education program which addresses a pressing health need in their community. Emphasis is placed on grant sources and resources, the grant proposal process, grant management, and sustainability. (Prerequisites: All courses in the M.S. in Health Education and Promotion Core.)
This foundation course broadly addresses race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status and class, culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ability and disability, and environment in an effort to better understand social identity. Throughout this course, students will benefit from course assignments, discussions, and course materials that address the role of power and privilege and oppression and marginalization on the development of clients. Students will specifically focus on activities that help them recognize systems that support or foster power inequities, oppression, and underutilization of human talent and skills. In addition, students will engage in self-awareness activities that foster their understanding of their role in the hierarchy of power and privilege. At the completion of this course, students will understand the importance of social workers developing competence in providing evidence-based contextually and culturally relevant assessments and interventions for individuals, families, groups, and communities.
Ethics is a foundational element of leadership. Leaders face increasingly complex social and political challenges as they seek to meet the needs of diverse constituents. This course explores ethics and social justice related to economic disparity, power, and privilege. Students use demographic data, current social trends, and themes to understand, analyze, and address ethical and social justice issues that impact service delivery in a global community.
Successful public sector organizations require high-caliber leaders who are accountable to multiple constituencies. A rapidly accelerating rate of change and blurring of organizational boundaries contribute to the need for leaders who are equipped to meet the challenge. This course explores the theoretical underpinnings of leadership and the important role of the leader in organizational change. By exploring leadership theory, current research, and practice within an area of public administration or nonprofit/nongovernmental organizations, students will demonstrate their understanding leadership in organizations that are increasingly complex in nature. Ethical dimensions, boundary spanning functions, and how leaders influence positive social change are a key factors of this course. The course draws on historical and current events, and the personal experiences of students, to examine the demands of leadership.
Democratic principles are the foundation of modern life. The course provides an overview of democratic governance in public administration, public policy, or nonprofit/nongovernmental organizations in modern society. Students will examine the theoretical underpinnings of democratic governance and public policy in their chosen area of specialization necessary for doctoral-level research. Students will review fundamental theories of governance, research current literature on a specialized topic, and apply best practices within the area of specialization. The emphasis is on the context in which public and nonprofit leaders function and the social institutions that influence public policy and guide administrative decision-making.
Students in this course are introduced to the crafts of policymaking and policy analysis in the U.S. democratic system. Students examine the tasks involved in the policy process, including setting agendas, using policy analysis tools, managing the political process, implementing policy, and providing evaluations and feedback. Though this analysis, students work toward developing skills to conduct policy and economic analyses as well as to determine the political feasibility of proposed policies. They learn about regulation as a policy choice. They also work toward enhancing their ability to develop alternatives and to assess strategies proposed to achieve certain policy objectives. Students engage in scholarly-writing assignments and discussions on policy areas of interest, such as communications, immigration, transportation, housing, labor, arts, and environmental policies.
This course examines the factors that influence and improve health outcomes of individuals and populations, with attention to the goals of Healthy People 2010 and the main components and issues of organization, financing, and delivery of health services and public health systems in the United States. Topics include management theories and processes, systems thinking, strategic planning and partnerships, quality and performance improvement, leadership, and organizational behavior. The policy process is addressed, as well as the advocacy role of the public health professional in influencing local, state, and federal policy. The impact of global trends on public health practice, policy, and systems is also considered.
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