I4: Incorporating Advocacy in Health Education

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This session will explore a range of approaches illuminating the CHES® area of responsibility: Communicate, Promote and Advocate for Health and the Profession of Health Education/Promotion.

Learning objective(s):
•Identify at least three reasons every health education professional should engage in advocacy.
•Describe three ways health education specialists changed their advocacy strategies to meet the demands imposed by a global pandemic.
•Describe at least three challenges faced by healthcare professionals engaging in COVID-19 era communication advocacy for behavioral, procedural and systems changes.
•Describe three considerations in developing advocacy curricula in undergraduate medical education.

Moderator: Rhonda Rahn
Featured presentations:
•Advocacy 101: Finding Your Voice and Role in Advocacy - Alexis (Lexi) A. Blavos, PhD, MCHES® and Jodi Brookins-Fisher, PhD, MCHES®
•Changing Advocacy Strategies with the ARCH of the Era - Heidi Hancher-Rauch, PhD, CHES® and Samantha Elly Mundt
•Healthcare Professionals’ Advocacy for Protections During COVID-19 - Valerie Smith, PhD, MPH, CHES®
•Developing Physician Advocates through a Pathways Approach - Vanessa Maier, MD, MPH, Christina Wang, and Kristie Sun, MD

Dr. Rhonda Rahn, PhD, MS, CHES® (Moderator)

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.

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.

Alexis Blavos, PhD, MCHES®

Associate Professor

SUNY Cortland

Dr. Blavos is currently an Associate Professor in the Health Department at SUNY Cortland, and also serves as the National Director of Advocacy for Eta Sigma Gamma, the Deputy Coordinator and Webmaster for the Coalition of National Health Education Organizations, and the co-chair of the Society for Public Health’s advocacy committee. Dr. Blavos’ academic and work experiences include 10 years of service in the public health field as a practitioner and researcher. Among her many research interests are advocacy and health policy. 

Jodi Brookins-Fisher, PhD, FESG, MCHES®

Central Michigan University

School of Health Sciences

Dr. Jodi Brookins-Fisher is the Division Director and Professor in the Division of Public Health, School of Health Sciences at Central Michigan University. She is currently the SOPHE Advocacy Committee co-chair and has served as the President of Eta Sigma Gamma. She is currently the Chapter Sponsor of Eta Chapter at CMU. She is a passionate human rights activist and believes strongly in equity for all groups when it comes to access and affordable health care. Additionally, she feels that advocacy within the Health Education profession should be at the forefront of our current and future endeavors.

Samantha Elly Mundt, BS, CHES

University of Indianapolis

Samantha Mundt is a 4+1 Public Health student at the University of Indianapolis. She will complete her undergraduate degree in August of 2021 and her Master's in Public Health the following year. In her time at UIndy, Samantha has served as president of the Epsilon Psi Chapter of Eta Sigma Gamma, held internships with the Indiana Minority Health Coalition & the Hoosier Environmental Council, and served as the University of Indianapolis’ Collegiate Champion for SOPHE. Most recently, she has become the Student Representative for InSOPHE. Samantha’s interests are in health education, health administration, health policy & advocacy, and non-profit writing & editing.

Valerie Smith, PhD, MPH, CHES®

Dr. Valerie Smith, PhD, MPH, CHES is a specialist in health communication and public health. She has been a university faculty member at Cal State East Bay for more than 20 years. Dr Smith conducts research in emergency preparedness and response, including projects such as health care workers during the coronavirus pandemic; Afghan refugees during migration, resettlement, and adjustment; wildfire survivors, first responders, and providers. She has served as a program director for a variety of campus and community programs; program and policy planner; and a mixed-methods researcher in community-based participatory research.

Vanessa Maier, MD, MPH

Case Western Reserve University

Vanessa Maier, MD, MPH Vanessa Maier, MD, MPH is a Family Physician and Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. She serves as Medical Director of MetroHealth’s School Health Program, a collaboration between MetroHealth and local school districts to improve both health and educational outcomes by increasing access to school-based primary care. Dr. Maier also serves as the Director of Health for the City of Shaker Heights and COVID Medical Director for Breakthrough Schools and The Intergenerational Schools, assisting leadership in developing evidence-based policies to mitigate in-school transmission of SARS-CoV-2. She is the Primary Investigator on a National Institute of Health randomized clinical trial in partnership with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Environmental Health Watch and The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland and serves as Regional Lead of the ABC Science Collaborative, a National Institute of Health initiative coordinated through Duke School of Medicine to assist school and community leaders in understanding the most current and relevant data regarding COVID-19. Dr. Maier teaches population health in the Family Medicine Residency program at MetroHealth and is the Block Leader for Block 1, the first 5 weeks of the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine curriculum, providing first year medical students an introduction to epidemiology, biostatistics, bioethics, health systems science, population heath and health determinants. She also serves as faculty advisor for the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine’s Health Advocacy Organization and faculty lead for the Advocacy and Public Health Pathway.

Kristie Sun, MD Student

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Kristie is a second year medical student at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, with a Bachelors in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. She is part of the student team that assisted in developing the Advocacy and Public Health Pathway at CWRU SOM, and has held leadership roles in multiple CWRU organizations including the Health Advocacy Organization, Case Western Human Rights Initiative, and CWRU chapters of the AMA and APAMSA. Prior to entering medical school she spent a year working in high value care at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, and she has continued to foster an interest in quality improvement and health policy through research projects and extracurricular interests.

Christina Wang

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Christina Wang is a second year medical school student at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and co-leader of the Health Advocacy Organization at her medical school. Her main interests include social determinants of health and health policy, with an overall goal of becoming a public health-focused physician advocate in the future.


I4: Incorporating Advocacy in Health Education
03/25/2022 at 2:00 PM (EDT)  |  Recorded On: 03/30/2022
03/25/2022 at 2:00 PM (EDT)  |  Recorded On: 03/30/2022
33 Questions
1.00 Entry CECH credit  |  No certificate available
1.00 Entry CECH credit  |  No certificate available