Housed in the Department of Health and Human Development, Western's Community Health Program is nationally, regionally, and locally recognized, and lives up to its mission:
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.
Because the Community Health curriculum comprehensively covers how health promotion and education consider the reciprocal relationship between individuals and their environment, students learn to approach public health using a social ecological perspective. Specifically, the Community Health Program considers the health outcomes in populations as they result from a complex interaction between, and interdependence with, factors of individual, social, and environmental influence. Students explore the biological, social, environmental, and individual determinants of health by taking community health-focused coursework and classes from interdisciplinary fields including social sciences (e.g., anthropology, psychology, political science, and sociology), and biological and physical sciences (e.g., anatomy and physiology, exercise physiology, and chemistry).
Students graduate from the program thoroughly versed and practiced as health education specialists, and are prepared to succeed on the Certified Health Education Specialist qualifying exam. In fact, Western’s community health students have a CHES examination pass rate higher than that of the national average. Students’ preparation for success on the exam includes knowledge acquisition of public health theory and practice, and extensive participation in individual and team projects that require community engagement and collaboration.
Faculty have experience in a wide array of public health topics including but not limited to nutrition, global health, reproductive health, college health, and environmental health.
Western’s Health and Human Development Department is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.