Western Washington University · Bellingham, Washington
Community Health, BS
What is the study of Community Health?
The Community Health degree consists of two to three years of course work in Health Education and supporting areas. This includes required course work in both content and process-oriented Health Education courses, Social Sciences (Anthropology, Psychology, and Sociology), Biological and Physical Sciences (Anatomy and Physiology, Exercise Physiology, and Chemistry), Nutrition, and electives that complement a student’s interests and professional needs.
Why Should I Consider this Major?
Community Health Educators assess individual and community needs for health education; plan, implement and administer health education strategies, interventions and programs; conduct evaluation and research; serve as a health education resource; and communicate and advocate for health and health education. Effective Health Education is ecological in its approach. When planning the focus of interventions, trained Health Educators consider all factors that contribute to health and disease: individual behavior; group dynamics; environmental conditions; economics; politics, laws and policies; culture, ethnicity, and gender; and the availability, accessibility, and quality of health services.
Students who are accepted into the Community Health major explore the biological, social, environmental and individual determinants of health. The curriculum is based on the skills and competencies to become a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) through the National Commission on Health Education Credentialing, Inc. The program is rigorous and faculty members emphasize diverse classroom projects and community outreach. At the end of the program, a full-time internship (40 hours per week for 10 weeks) in a health education setting is required.
The Community Health major is appropriate for students who want to work in community, public, and global health; health communication; governmental and non-profit agencies and organizations; medical care settings; worksite wellness programs; and college and university student service health education programs. It can also serve as a preparatory program for graduate or post-baccalaureate study in Health Education, Public Health, and related areas.
What makes the Community Health Program at Western special? 1) selective and competitive admission to a nationally-recognized major; 2) a rich and challenging curriculum based on the skills and competencies of The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. which can lead to national certification; 3) a passionate and community-engaged cohort of students who become lifelong friends; 4) a multitude of experiential class projects and a full-time 10 week internship, at the end of the program, with a local, state, national, or international community health agency; 5) faculty with high expectations who are dedicated to advising and mentoring students, creating meaningful and engaging courses, and contributing to the profession through research and service.
- J. Lindsey, Faculty
“Applying to the Community Health program was the best decision of my life. Being accepted and experiencing a nationally-recognized program has been an exceptionally powerful experience, personally and professionally. Dr. Lindsey, Dr. Freeman, and Dr. Li are role models of compassion, commitment, and professional ethics. They are some of the most caring and supportive people I have ever encountered. Due to the number and variety of projects, as well as the hands-on nature of the curriculum, I am confident that the skills I have gained in this program will help me succeed in my profession. I am a better person because of this program and the people with whom I have had the privilege to work and study.”
- Amelia Cave, Student
- Community Health Educator
- Tobacco Control Specialist
- Sexuality Education Coordinator
- HIV/AIDS Educator
- Hospital-based Wellness Program Director
- Public Health Educator
- Substance Abuse Educator
- College Health Educator
- Injury Prevention Specialist
- Curriculum Development Specialist
- Health Consultant
- Health Information Specialist
- Nutrition and Physical Activity Coordinator