I was extremely honored to have been involved with development of the National Commission on Health Education Credentialing and serve as Vice Chairperson during initial recruitment of “Charter Members”. I am also honored to have been CHES®, and now MCHES® # 3.
In the 1970s a significant number of professionals believed that it was very likely health educators functioning in every setting had similar roles and needed similar knowledge and skills to be effective in the delivery of education that resulted in improving and/or maintaining health. Thus began the first Role Delineation Study which confirmed this hypothesis.
It is important to share with you there were a significant number of outstanding professionals who were very opposed to the concept of certification, registration and other forms of what may have been perceived of as “regulating” the professional preparation and practice of health educators. Thus the process of moving the entire profession forward to be “somewhat on the same page” was a long and difficult process.
I believe there would be no Credentialing and no NCHEC if Helen Cleary had not devoted her knowledge, skill, time and money first and foremost to the cause. She lead by example and kept everyone moving forward toward the goal. She even personally paid the first incorporation fees for the Commission. Another major contributor was Alyson Taub, who kept us informed of every decision made over years and years of time. Each of these members could be cited for their unique contributions as well as financial and time sacrifices they made - suffice it to say their collective dedication over five years for some, and ten years for others, resulted in a wonderful outcome with lasting impact for thousands of professionals and millions of students, clients and community members. The work with my colleagues on the National Task Force in the development of certification standards and the National Commission on Health Education Credentialing is in my mind the most significant contribution to the profession that I was privileged to make during my 55 years of active practice as a health educator.