The following interview is part of a new leadership blog series that highlights individuals that have furthered their careers in the health education field and are also currently working in an advanced or leadership role.
Who is Kristin Behler, MCHES®?
Name: Kristin Behler, MCHES®
Job Title(s): Director of Health Promotion and Wellness at Populytics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN)
Career Sector: Public Health
Leadership Blog Series Interview with Kristin Behler, MCHES®
1. What is your current job title and what sort of duties do you complete during the course of your work? Do they relate to the revised Eight Areas of Responsibility?
My title is Director of Health Promotion and Wellness at Populytics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN). I have been at LVHN for 10 years and started as a CHES-credentialed Health Educator. Every day I am using six of the eight areas of responsibility (Assessment of Needs and Capacity, Implementation, Evaluation, Communication, and Leadership and Management). Today, I oversee a team of dedicated well-being professionals who are focused on improving the health of the populations with which we work. Much of my work is collaborating with my team, employers, and key stakeholders to build new service lines, ensure current service lines deliver positive outcomes, and ensure team members have what they need to do their job. My team delivers and evaluates a wide variety of services including Chronic Condition Support, Weight Management, Tobacco Cessation, Health and Wellness Coaching, educational presentations, wellness challenges, online portals, and consultation that encompasses culture and environmental assessments for employers.
2. What is the most challenging part of your current job?
My primary challenge is to continually innovate and refine services to meet and exceed the goals of the populations we serve. There is always more to do, better ways to do it, and ways to make it more affordable. This strikes a chord with my entrepreneurial core, which pushes me forward while always leaving me somewhat unsatisfied. My passion (and my challenge) is the constant drive for improvement and finding ways to better serve the health of individuals and populations.
3. What is something you wish a leader or mentor had told you during your career journey?
Don’t let perfection get in the way of progress. In this profession we are all planners and evaluators. While you may plan for perfection it is OK to be satisfied with progress. This is advice I did get early on and at the time I struggled with it. Looking back, I can see where I was able to make significant advances in program development and delivery because I made the choice to be OK with progress rather than perfection. While we all strive for perfection, it’s human and healthy to realize that any progress you do make, even if it’s a small step, is success.
4. How do you continue to grow and develop as a leader?
I grow by stepping outside of my comfort zone. If a project makes me nervous or downright scared, I try to persevere and know I will grow from it. I also have a team that I trust will give me candid feedback. Having support from people who will tell you when you were not at your best or how you can improve is an important part of personal and professional growth.
5. What do you feel are the most important attributes for leaders today, especially in the health education field?
Leading with compassion and providing autonomy are both essential. Team members deserve to know they are cared for and trusted. I work with an extremely talented group of people and I know that they are capable of achieving so very much if they have the support and autonomy to do so.
6. How has receiving the MCHES® certification impacted your current job? How has this certification impacted your career as a whole?
My MCHES® certification has given me an extra dimension of knowledge that has served me well in my collaboration with clients and team members. This knowledge lets me dig deeper into problems and develop solutions that I may not have known about otherwise. It has impacted my career significantly as it compels me to pursue CEUs and acts to keep me updated and knowledgeable about education and policies in my field. Because of my MCHES®, I have attended conferences I may not have attended otherwise, affording me the advantage of different points of view, diverse solutions to challenges, and invaluable contact with others in the industry.
7. Do you have any advice to share with any individual who is thinking about obtaining the advanced-level MCHES® certification?
This certification sets you apart from others in the Health Education field. The MCHES credential shows that you are an advanced level Health Education practitioner who is well rounded and able to take on complex tasks and are a strategic thinker.
Looking to Advance Your Health Education Career?
The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing Inc., or NCHEC, is known for promoting, improving, and protecting the health of people through upholding the highest quality standards in health education certifications. This organization promotes professional development and helps individuals strengthen their skills in professional preparation and practice. Additionally, NCHEC offers two certification programs, the CHES® (Certified Health Education Specialist) & MCHES® (Master Certified Health Education Specialist).
Interested in learning more about how to advance your health education career? Contact us today!