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CHES® Spotlight: Penelope Friday, MPH: Childhood Obesity Prevention Coordinator

CHES® Career Profile: Childhood Obesity Prevention Program Coordinator

Health education specialists across the country are using their talents and resources to create programs which make their communities healthier, happier, and safer. From violence prevention and asthma education to childhood obesity prevention, a number of private and public healthcare organizations are utilizing certified health education specialists to create programs, implement effective health campaigns, and more.


womanWe spoke with Penelope Friday, MPH, CHES®, and Childhood Obesity Prevention Coordinator with the Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity at the Indiana State Department of Health

What does the role of a childhood obesity prevention program coordinator entail?

Penelope works alongside school corporations and early childcare education settings across Indiana to assess and improve physical education, physical activity and nutrition environments, with the ultimate goal of reducing childhood obesity rates. 

Penelope’s position allows her to interact with other state agencies and school administrations to provide evidence–based practices in regards to wellness policies to worksite wellness for educators.

My role is unique, as no day looks the same. I have the opportunity to connect with a vast array of people to promote child wellness as a priority.

Advantages of CHES Certification for Health Education Professionals

Penelope became CHES® certified in April of 2019 due to the nature of her work as a Prevention Coordinator. It has allowed her to better understand how to serve school leaders in the assessment of health education and promote/allocate the correct resources for them. She is able to collaborate with a diverse range of people, and learn something new every day while spending maybe 1-2 days per week in a traditional office setting.

Penelope received her MPH from Indiana University Bloomington, and her BS from Michigan State. She recommends CHES® certification to any student looking to make themselves stand out in an applicant pool. 

CHES® certification allowed me to be selected for my role. It not only made me stand out, but also helped me leverage for a pay increase!

Her words of wisdom for those considering certification are as follows: “If you want to do anything with school health, please get CHES® certified! Select a job that will challenge you. You never know where you will go once you allow yourself to grow.”

Posted by Jessica Wessner at 06:30

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