Health Education Leadership in the Time of COVID-19
This session will discuss the range of roles health educators served in during the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Describe the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the professional and personal lives of health educators.
2. Describe factors contributing to college students’ mental health during COVID-19.
3. Discuss how workforce preparation helps health educators move quickly and effectively among professional responsibilities.
Dr. Erin Carlson, DrPH, MPH
Associate Professor; Director Graduate Public Health Programs
University of Texas at Arlington
Dr. Erin Carlson is Associate Clinical Professor at University of Texas at Arlington?s College of Nursing and Health Innovation where she is Director of Graduate Public Health Programs. Prior to joining the University of Texas System in 2016, Dr. Carlson previously worked as a principle and co-investigator on community-based infectious disease research, and in projects concerning access to health care for vulnerable immigrant populations. Her work has been funded by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Resources and Services Administration, National Science Foundation, and state organizations. She has received several research awards including the Robert Wood Johnson Emerging Scholar Award in Disparities Research. Dr. Carlson has consulted for the CDC and Veterinarians Without Borders on a variety of international infectious disease projects. Currently, Dr. Carlson devotes much of her research and volunteer efforts to her passion-- access to health care for uninsured immigrant populations. In addition to serving on the board of directors for a local health care organization devoted to serving vulnerable uninsured populations, she is grateful that her passion can be supported with state-funded evaluation work of several community-based cancer and infectious disease interventions for underserved, uninsured minority populations.
Melissa Opp, MPH, MCHES®
Deputy Executive Director
National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc.
Melissa Opp, MPH, MCHES®, is the Deputy Executive Director for the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. Melissa oversees projects related to communicating messages about health education and promotion certification to various audiences. She serves as staff liaison to NCHEC’s Marketing Committee, the publication editor of NCHEC NEWS Bulletin, and the production editor for other marketing materials. She oversees the strategic planning and leadership on special NCHEC Board projects. She received a Master’s degree in Public Health from East Stroudsburg University. Melissa is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist, MCHES®, and has presented at numerous local and national health conferences.
Dr. Heidi Hancher-Rauch, PhD, CHES®
University Faculty and Researcher
University of Indianapolis
Heidi Hancher-Rauch, PhD, CHES® has been a university faculty member and researcher for approximately 15 years, the last 13 of those at the University of Indianapolis where she is a professor and director of the Public Health Program. She has practiced in the field for more than 20 years, including work in the areas of community disease prevention and worksite health. Her areas of expertise include health policy and advocacy, program evaluation, and evidence-based health promotion. Health advocacy has always been her main passion, with the majority of her publications and professional presentations on the topic. She teaches courses including Health Policy and Advocacy; Program Planning, Implementation & Evaluation; and Leadership in Public Health. Heidi provides professional service as the Board Trustee for Advocacy & Resolutions for SOPHE, serves on the SOPHE Advocacy Committee, is a member of the Top 10 Steering Committee, and previously served as the director of Indiana SOPHE Advocacy for two terms. Heidi started a chapter of Eta Sigma Gamma at the University of Indianapolis in 2019 and continues to serve as co-sponsor of the organization. She engages with community organizations such as the Indiana Minority Health Coalition as an outside evaluator and uses her advocacy skills to promote health equity and social justice every chance provided.
Dr. Lisa Yazel-Smith, EdD, MCHES®
Indiana University School of Medicine
Lisa Yazel, Ed.D., MCHES? is an assistant research professor in the Center for Pediatric Obesity and Diabetes Prevention Research and the Youth Diabetes Prevention Clinic at the Indiana University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics. Lisa is also an adjunct professor in the Social Behavioral Sciences department in the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health. Lisa?s research interests focus on obesity and diabetes prevention and treatment in youth and families, the obesity and diabetes prevention workforce, advocacy for public health/community health efforts, and implementation science methods focused on diabetes prevention and treatment programs and diabetes patient-centered care. Additionally, she is engaged in building sustainable partnerships at the grassroots level to increase access to healthy food for those in need. Lisa's educational background is in community health with a focus on evaluation and clinical research. She is an investigator on multiple research studies and author of publications related to the prevention of type 2 diabetes in adolescents, weight management, health education, nutrition/physical activity, building empathy in health education specialists, and breast cancer detection and survivor quality of life. Her academic service focuses on professional development of health education specialists, as well as promoting collaboration and collective impact for improvement in community health.
Dr. Rhonda Rahn, PhD, MS, CHES®
Clinical Associate Professor
Texas A&M University
Dr. Rhonda Rahn is currently a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Health and Kinesiology at Texas A&M University. She earned her PhD in Health Education, M.S. in Health Education, and a B.S. in Health from Texas A&M University. She currently teaches allied and community health students in the Division of Health Education. Prior to teaching, Dr. Rahn spent 10 years as the Health Education Coordinator and 3 years as a Health Educator in the Department of Student Health Services at Texas A&M University. Her research interests investigate college students' health behaviors including sexuality and peer health education. She has publications in peer-reviewed journals and have presented at national and state conferences. She is a professional member of SOPHE, ACHA, and TAHPERD and a Certified Health Education Specialist. Dr. Rahn has mentored undergraduate students and new professionals in a variety of different roles as a member of SOPHE, a professional health educator, and a faculty member. Her students have gone on to be health educators or have continued their education in graduate or professional school programs.
Ledric Sherman, PhD
Texas A&M University
Dr. Ledric Sherman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health & Kinesiology at Texas A&M University. Dr. Sherman's research interests are centered on Type 2 diabetes self-management among men, men's health equity, and quality and quantity of life among persons living with type 2 diabetes. Dr. Sherman?s two-pronged research aims to reduce racial, gender and geographic disparities in chronic conditions, particularly type 2 diabetes and often using a community-based participatory research approach. His first line of research focuses on how minority men manage type 2 diabetes, and his second line of research focuses on reducing disparities in chronic disease among men. Dr. Sherman's research seeks to inform the knowledge base regarding health disparities, particularly in type 2 diabetes prevention and management, among populations and communities adversely impacted by health disparities.
Dr. Aimee Johnson, PhD
James Madison University
Aimee Johnson, PhD: Dr. Aimee Johnson is an Assistant Professor of Health Sciences at James Madison University. She earned her PhD in Psychology from Baylor University where she developed the Psychological Distress Profile. Her areas of expertise include health research methods, psychometrics and mental health.