Virginia Tech®home

Community Health Promotion and Equity Concentration

Upon completion of the MPH degree, graduates from the Community Health Promotion and Equity concentration will demonstrate proficiency in the following competencies:

  • Design health education messages for specific public health issues and target audiences using appropriate communication channels and technologies
  • Design a health education session for a specific target audience, using appropriate principles, theories and models of health education
  • Apply key models for community organizing and capacity-building to help communities address priority population health needs
  • Facilitate inclusive engagement and collaborative decision-making with diverse stakeholders to prioritize and address public health concerns
  • Apply the principles of social epidemiology to explain health inequities as they pertain to critical health outcomes
  • Devise community-engaged practice and policy solutions to advance health equity at individual, community and societal levels

Community Health Promotion and Equity Courses

Students are required to take the following concentration courses:

Instructor: Kathy Hosig

Course Description: Examination of the principles that ground community health education. Topics include history of health and health education, philosophical foundations, theoretical foundations, ethics and health education, health educator roles and responsibilities, settings for health education, agencies associated with health education, the literature of health education, and future trends in health education.

Instructor: Rose Wesche

Course Description: Social determinants of health through the life-course. Relationship of social injustice to public health. Interplay of major social factors such as poverty, race and gender to influence health domestically and globally. Application of social epidemiology to a range of health outcomes. Inform effective solutions to health inequities.

Instructor: Cornelia Deagle

Course Description: This course is designed to present core concepts, models, methods, strategies and challenges in the process of working with communities to improve community-identified population health needs. This course presents an overview of four of the key models for community organizing and community capacity building and provides students the opportunity to apply classroom concepts “in the field” through working with community partners and the development and presentation of a group project in collaboration with the community partner.


Community Health Promotion and Equity Careers

  • Health Educator
  • Health Promotion Specialist
  • Health Program Coordinator
  • Community Outreach Specialist

Students who graduate from the community health promotion and equity concentration help promote healthy lifestyles at the individual, community, societal and policy levels. Students are trained to engage community partners to work with them to address unique public health challenges, with an equity lens.

Example responsibilities:

  • Working with diverse teams to address a variety of health issues such as substance use, chronic diseases, infectious diseases, sexual and reproductive health, mental health and more
  • Designing programs and curricula that meet the health needs of specific populations
  • Collecting and interpreting data regarding the effectiveness of health programs
  • Creating marketing and health communications campaigns
  • Developing and submitting grant applications
  • Providing outreach
  • Advocating for health services and programs

Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) examination

Students that complete our  Community Health Promotion and Equity concentration are eligible to sit for the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exam. The CHES exam is a competency-based tool used to measure possession, application and interpretation of knowledge in the Eight Areas of Responsibility for Health Education Specialists delineated by the most current U.S.-based practice analysis study.

Looking for our Public Health Education concentration?

Starting with our fall 2022 new MPH students, the Public Health Education concentration is now Community Health Promotion and Equity!
Read more about the revision here.