Community Health Education

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Learn more about the Community Health Education concentration.

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What is Community Health Education?

Community health educators use multidisciplinary theories along with behavioral and organizational change principles to plan, implement, and evaluate interventions that enable individuals, groups, and communities to achieve personal, environmental, and social health.

The community health education (CHE) program is enriched by a holistic perspective among faculty and community-based class projects where students gain practical experience.

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Pathways in Public Health: Community Health Education

A group of students wearing backpacks stop and look at red tulips on a sunny day

Is community health education your calling?

Our CHE concentration is a great path for:

  • Health educators or trainers
  • Service-oriented individuals
  • Skilled communicators

Community health education students have a variety of academic backgrounds, such as:

  • Biology
  • Communications
  • Human Services
  • Marketing
  • Nursing
  • Nutrition
  • Psychology

Graduates work in a range of settings, including:

  • Consulting firms
  • Environmental agencies
  • Governmental agencies
  • Health care organizations
  • Mental health agencies
  • Non-governmental organizations
  • Post-secondary educational institutions
  • Public health agencies
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Schools
  • Voluntary health agencies
A UTK student wearing a cap and gown shakes the hand of a faculty member at graduation

Community Health Education Competencies

As a CHE student in the online Master of Public Health program, you will cultivate a set of skills and capabilities necessary for outreach and advocacy. Our UT community health education students develop the following competencies:

  • Demonstrates how fundamental social causes of health and disease produce differences in health and health inequity in specific health outcomes.
  • Identifies strategies designed to reduce structural bias and social inequities that produce health disparities.
  • Formulates specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound (SMART) research questions for behavior change interventions.
  • Explains key ethical issues and challenges to conducting research in communities.
  • Prepares a high-quality program grant proposal.

Concentration Coursework

CHE students complete a combination of required community health coursework, foundational MPH courses, and a minimum of six credit hours of elective courses. Required Courses

Research design, basic quantitative and qualitative research techniques, and ethical considerations. Development of research skills, data collection instruments, and problem identification for research topics.

3 credits

This course provides students with an understanding of social and behavioral determinants that influence health status and care in America. The application of this knowledge to behavior in health-related organizations is emphasized. Topics include social and psychological aspects of disease, sociological aspects of health care delivery systems, the political economy of health and illness, the impact of social movements on health, and the social consequences of health legislation.

3 credits

This project-based course covers the complete process of grant proposal development: identification and assessment of viable funding sources, funder relations, proposal writing, budget development, preparation of a full proposal for submission, and proposal submission. Students gain an understanding of the nonprofit philanthropic, state, and federal funding environments and how they differ.

4 credits

Applied Practice Experience in an approved organization under supervision of a designated preceptor. Students must complete a total of 6 credit hours.

3-6 credits

Meet Sarah Schaffer, a former MPH and Community Health Education student

Sarah Shaffer

Community Health Education

Knoxville, TN

Agency Name:

Agency Type:
Healthcare Provider Contract Agency

Fall 2019

A professional headshot of UTK MPH student, Sarah Shaffer

As part of her Applied Practice Experience, Sarah worked as a Patient Safety Education and Quality Payment Analyst at Team Health.

Sarah’s major projects included:

  • Developing a CME (continuing medical education) accredited program on human trafficking
  • Creating a one-page reference guide on recognizing and responding to human trafficking for clinicians
  • Extracting and analyzing data from CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) between FVBP (facility value-based purchasing) and the MIPS (merit-based incentive payment system) program by TINs (tax id numbers) to determine the more advantageous score per TIN
  • Analyzing MIPS cost category for risk and impact

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By providing my information and clicking the “Request Information” button, I consent to be contacted via telephone (including a cell phone, if provided), email, and text message.