NCHEC is pleased to announce the results of the 2020 Outstanding Service and Leadership Award in recognition of two professionals and one organization displaying exemplary commitment to the advancement of our profession and the CHES® and MCHES® credentials. This award was first instituted in 2016 by NCHEC's Marketing Committee to highlight career achievements in the implementation of programs and policies that promote the role of Certified Health Education Specialists within communities, populations, and/or organizational structure. Recipients were selected by the committee in early March of this year.
Recipient: Established Professional Category. Mary Kramer, PhD, MPH, MCHES®, CHWC
Dr. Kramer is an Associate Professor of Health Education at Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minnesota. She has shown exemplary leadership through the development of numerous health education programs and campaigns to promote the health of her community, her students, and her colleagues. She played an instrumental role in reinstituting the MN SOPHE chapter and now holds the position of as President Elect in 2021. She has served as a leader of the Mavs for Clean Air Task Force, which resulted in the implementation of a 100% tobacco-free policy at MSU, all during the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic. As an Associate Professor, she has demonstrated the value of CHES® and MCHES® certification to all of her students, upholding the credential as a crucial stepping-stone in becoming a true health leader. Dr. Kramer supports all her students through mentoring and leading CHES® examination prep courses.
"Mary has gone above and beyond her role of educating her students," said Elizabeth Heimer of the American Lung Association in her letter of nomination. "She is an exemplary MCHES® professional that has truly improved the health of her community due to hard-hitting media campaigns, advocacy of health, and policy implementation. She is a true health leader."
Recipient: Emerging Professional Category. Louise Valentine, MPH, CHES®, ACSM-EP, CSCS, BCTMB
Ms. Valentine is currently the Director of Client Services at Vheda Health in Columbia, Maryland. She utilizes her MPH background and CHES® certification in the design of new health education implementation strategies for chronic disease management. Ms. Valentine has volunteered her time as a grant coordinator, community mental health advocate, and school wellness program planner. She recently published a best-selling book, The Art of Breaking Through: Five Simple Steps to Take on Any Challenge & Tackle Self-Doubt, available on Amazon.
As an active duty military spouse who has worked across the spectrum of public health practice, Ms. Valentine shares what she learns throughout her career via her free health education platform, TeamValentineProject.com. "I often speak to the value of learning effective health communication and health education skills, advocate for the CHES® credential and public health profession," said Valentine. "I always remain true to my personal mission to help empower others to live a vibrant, healthy life through all that I do."
Recipient: Organizational Category. Health Ed Pros, LLC
Health Ed Pros, LLC, was established with a mission of providing engaging health education programs for students, teachers, and staff that empowers participants to develop healthy behaviors for a lifetime. Located in Indianapolis, IN, the organization’s name was selected to promote and emphasize that all employees were CHES® or MCHES® certified. Health Ed Pros has made a commitment to support its personnel in initial certification as well as the continuing education necessary to enhance professional growth and the maintenance of their credential. As Health Ed Pros continues to grow, the company will carry on the tradition of seeking out professional, educated, and dynamic, and CHES® or MCHES®-certified applicants with a focus on expanding knowledge and staying current in the field of health education and promotion.
Health Ed Pros, LLC, was founded in 2013 by partners Brian Lucas, MCHES®, and Diana Ruschaupt, MCHES®. "As an organization, we were encouraged to provide exemplary Health Education programming because of recognized skills of CHES® and MCHES® in curriculum development and ability to engage and connect with young people," said Lucas. "The start of Health Ed Pros ensured that schools, non-profits, and other organizations were securing trained professionals for their audience when choosing to work with us."
The 2020 Outstanding Service and Leadership Award has once again provided an opportunity to highlight the career and industry achievements made by these individuals and organizations to others in the profession of Health Education and Promotion.