The National Commision for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC) has eight areas of responsibility for health education specialists who are CHES or MCHES. Each area has competencies and those competencies have sub-competencies. Competencies outline the details of the area of responsibility and what should be done. Sub-competencies dive deeper into the areas of responsibilities and talk about the steps to take to reach the competencies (NCHEC, 2020).
The main focus of Area I is engaging with the primary population to determine what behavioral changes are needed. Area I has four competencies, which help the program planner determine who the population is and why they are going to assess them.
- The first competency is identifying the priory population, along with recruiting stakeholders.
- The program planner then looks at the data they have collected
- The third and fourth competencies are assessing how the data they collected can help the target population, and compare their data to existing data. This allows them to meet the needs of the target population (SOPHE, 2021).
Area II is planning what the population wants to see as an outcome and how that outcome is going to be achieved.
- In the first competency, the program planner needs to engage the priority population and the stakeholders in the planning process.
- The second competency is defining the desired outcomes and discussing what the population wants to see happen. Once the outcomes are established, the priority population and stakeholders develop SMART objectives to ensure the behavioral change occurs (NCHEC, 2020).
- The third competency is creating a logic model, allowing the program planners to determine what inputs are needed to achieve the outcomes they want.
- The fourth competency is developing an implementation plan for the priority population, which will later be evaluated (SOPHE, 2021). This can be the largest and most time consuming responsibility.
Area III covers the Implementation process.
- This process starts by determining the delivery of the intervention being used.
- Once this is assigned, the members helping in the intervention will be trained on the materials being shared.
- It is important to assess the progress of the objectives. If an objective is not being met, the planning committee and stakeholders can change how the information is being delivered (SOPHE, 2021).
Area IV is known for Evaluation and Research.
- After implementation is complete, the program planners need to evaluate the intervention’s success in changing the community’s behavior. One method is to look at the logic model created in Area II. The logic model contains the objectives the community was hoping to meet.
- The next competency is to design a research study and collect the data (NCHEC, 2020). This can be done by creating a survey, using a focus group, open-ended interview, or looking at the data (CDC, 2012).
- Once the data has been collected, it needs to be analyzed and interpreted to determine if the implementation was successful in the community (NCHEC, 2020).
Area V covers Advocacy.
- The first step for advocacy is to look at what determinants of health are related to the health issue.
- Once the health issue has been identified, it is important to find stakeholders and coalitions that support policy and environmental changes.
- Once stakeholders have been found, the media can be used to spread awareness and support for these changes to improve the communities’ health.
- Finally, evaluate the effectiveness of the advocacy efforts to determine if you reached the intended population (NCHEC, 2020).
Area VI talks about Communication. Communication is a powerful tool in grabbing your audience’s attention. There are six competencies to have effective communication.
- The first is determining factors that affect the population; cultural differences, literacy level, and what communication channels are most effective.
- The second is determining the outcome of the communication. Are you trying to raise awareness or cause a behavior change? It is also important to look at what could hinder the outcome of the communication.
- The third competency is looking at what would be a persuasive method of communication (SOPHE, 2021). Is the audience more persuaded by story telling or facts?
- The fourth competency is selecting the method to deliver the message. It is important to look at the strengths and weaknesses of several communication channels. This will allow you to determine how your audience best receives information. During this stage, it is important to pilot test the materials.
- The fifth competency is delivering the message. Use oral and written skills to accurately communicate the topic to the audience.
- The last competency is evaluating the communication methods. This will help to determine how effective the communication was (NCHEC, 2020).
Area VII talks about Leadership and Management. There are five competencies that make up area seven.
- The first competency is coordinating relationships with stakeholders and partners. It is important to involve the stakeholder throughout the health education process.
- The second competency is preparing others to provide health education. Train individuals in assessing needs who can help during the implementation stage (SOPHE, 2021).
- The third competency is managing human resources. It is important to have understanding and sensitivity for various cultures, developing jobs for needed staff, and providing training for staff.
- The fourth competency is evaluating the internal and external financial needs for the program. Including making a budget and plan for how the money is going to be used.
- The fifth competency is to engage stakeholders in planning. This allows the stakeholders to be part of promoting the mission, vision, and goal statements for health education (NCHEC, 2020).
Area VIII is the final area of responsibility, Ethics and Professionalism.
- The first competency is applying professional codes of ethics throughout the whole process.
- The second competency is being an authoritative resource on health education. This can be done by providing guidance to individuals and organizations (SOPHE, 2021).
- The third competency is to engage in professional development. This can be done by participating in continuing education opportunities, meeting with other professionals, and serving as a mentor.
- The fourth competency is promoting the health profession to the public. Talk about the responsibilities, the history, and the benefits of working in the health field (NCHEC, 2020).
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012). Program evaluation guide – introduction – CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/evaluation/guide/introduction/index.htm
NCHEC (2020). Responsibilities & Competencies. NCHEC. https://www.nchec.org/responsibilities-and-competencies
SOPHE (2021). Areas of responsibilities, competencies of Health Education Specialists – Society for Public Health Education. SOPHE. https://www.sophe.org/careerhub/health-education-profession/seven-areas-responsibility-health-education-specialists/