Community and Public Health
Department website: https://www.isu.edu/publichealth/
There is little doubt in today’s world that health promotion and disease prevention strategies are increasingly on every health system's agenda. As a society, we have learned that a fuller measure of health and a better quality of life can be obtained by individuals and communities with proper design and investment. The lifestyle choices a person makes today as well as their environment may influence that individual’s health for the rest of their life.
The undergraduate program in Community and Public Health is designed to prepare students to plan, implement, and evaluate health promotion programs, interventions, and strategies, serve as an advocate to support healthy behaviors and healthy environments, and lead in empowering individuals, groups, and communities to achieve optimal health, well-being, and quality of life. More specifically, they learn to facilitate the adoption of actions that are conducive to the health of individuals, groups, or communities.
Graduates with a baccalaureate degree in Community and Public Health are eligible to take the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) national certification offered through the National Commission on Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC). The undergraduate school health emphasis is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
Students in the Community and Public Health Program may choose from three concentrations:
- Community health
- Addiction studies
- School health
Teaching and non-teaching minors are available as are undergraduate certificates for Addiction Studies, and Community Health Workers. Accelerated programming is offered into our Master of Health Education (MHE) and a Master of Public Health (MPH) graduate degrees.
Community and Public Health Program Goals and Objectives
Coursework in the Idaho State University undergraduate Community and Public Health program prepares students to work with individuals, groups, and organizations and is based on the following Eight Areas of Responsibilities for Health Education Specialists that have been identified by NCHEC:
- Assessment of Needs and Capacity
- Evaluation and Research
- Leadership and Management
- Ethics and Professionalism
Addiction Studies Concentration
Students with an addiction studies concentration are trained with a broad understanding of substance abuse issues as well as specific strategies to prevent/intervene with individuals in a variety of settings. Upon completion of this academic concentration, and coupled with 300 internship hours, students are eligible to become Substance Use Disorders Associate (SUDA) certified by The Idaho Board of Alcohol/Drug Counselor Certification (IBADCC). Upon completion of the Addiction Studies Certificate, paired with a 300-hour internship and a Bachelor's degree, students are eligible for the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) certification through IBADCC.
Community Health Concentration
Students with a community health concentration are training to plan, implement, and evaluate health education and promotion activities in various settings such as health departments, hospitals, volunteer community health agencies, health maintenance organizations, corporations, fitness facilities, wellness centers, or university settings.
School Health Concentration
Students with a school health concentration are training to teach health in public or private junior high or senior high schools. Students choosing the school health concentration must also be admitted to the teacher education program and complete all requirements for teaching certifications through the College of Education.
Addiction Studies Academic Certificate (25 credits)
The Addiction Studies Certificate is a 25-credit academic certificate for those in health professions and beyond to understand addiction and how to help individuals and communities who are impacted by addiction. Coursework includes Harmful and Illicit Substances, Ethics, Chemical Dependency and the Family, Basic Counseling Skills, Case Management, Assessments for Substance Abuse Counselors, Group Skills, and more. Upon completion of this academic certificate, and coupled with 300 internship hours, students are eligible to become Substance Use Disorders Associate (SUDA) certified by The Idaho Board of Alcohol/Drug Counselor Certification (IBADCC). Upon completion of the Addiction Studies Certificate, paired with a 300-hour internship and a Bachelor's degree, students are eligible for the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) certification through IBADCC. Additionally, the knowledge and skills learned through taking the Certificate will provide competency in addressing addiction-related issues for anybody working in the helping professions.
Career Development and Professional Growth
Idaho is currently struggling with a severe workforce shortage for counselors, and in particular, substance use disorders counselors. This comes at a time when one in four deaths are a result of a substance use disorder. There are also enormous economic and social consequences as a result of addictions. It is estimated that our country is paying eleven billion dollars annually just in health care costs related to substance use and misuse. Through the certificate program, students can help communities and states on a macro level by providing education and training on substance use disorders to several professions. The certificate will ensure employers that students graduating from this program are "specialists" in the area of addictions, and can provide that added skill in the work they do. The Bureau of Labor projects that "Employment of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors is projected to grow 25 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations".
Community Health Worker Academic Certificate (9 credits)
The Community Health Worker Academic Certificate is offered by the Department of Community and Public Health under the College of Health Professions. This academic certificate meets the needs of community health workers who wish to pursue a certification that will prepare them to work in the growing community health worker occupations. Community health workers are increasingly recognized as valuable members of the health system that has increased in Idaho and across the nation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, health care reform, and a national shift to value-based care. Community health workers who successfully complete this certificate will be prepared to assume a position as a community health worker in clinic and community settings and assist in the development and implementation of community health programs within their community.
Career Development and Professional Growth Objective:
Community health workers partner with local public health agencies and primary care and specialty care providers to address social determinants of health among community members. They also assess and evaluate community services and systems in order to identify gaps in, and serve as a resource, for healthcare services in both urban and rural, medically under-served communities. Community health workers are a part of a multidisciplinary team that includes physicians, nurses, social workers, discharge planners, pharmacists, and other members of the healthcare team. Community health workers help individuals and communities overcome barriers that prevent them from accessing and benefiting from healthcare services. They serve as advocates, health educators, counselors, system navigators, case managers, facilitators, liaisons, community brokers, and resource coordinators. They also provide prevention and outreach education on a variety of health issues, including oral and mental health, at the individual and community level. The overall goal of community health workers is mentoring and empowering citizens, communities, and healthcare systems to achieve positive outcomes and to reach optimal levels of wellness for everyone.
Accelerated Program Admission and Criteria
B.A./B.S. in Community and Public Health (Community Health Concentration or Addiction Studies Concentration) and Master of Health Education (MHE) Accelerated Program: Qualified undergraduate students (GPA ≥ 3.3) can apply for the accelerated BS and MHE program prior to their last two semesters in the BS program. Approved students can count up to 12 credits of 5000-level or 6000-level required MHE courses toward their BS/BA in Community and Public Health graduation plan. These 12 credits of graduate-level coursework will count towards their MHE degree. An additional 18 credits of graduate coursework is required for the accelerated MHE program including 6 credits of HE 6650 Thesis or 6651 Project in Health Education.
B.A./B.S. in Community and Public Health (Community Health Concentration or Addiction Studies Concentration) and Master of Public Health (MPH) Accelerated Program: Qualified undergraduate students (GPA ≥ 3.3) can apply for the accelerated BS and MPH program prior to their last two semesters in the BS program. Approved students can count up to 12 credits of 5000-level or 6000-level required MPH courses toward their BS/BA in Community and Public Health graduation plan. These 12 credits of graduate-level coursework will count towards their MPH degree. An additional 30 credits of graduate coursework is required for the accelerated MPH program, including 6 credits of electives and 6 credits of MPH 6650 Thesis or MPH 6651 Public Health Project.