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Spotlight: An Interview with Michael Ahmadi, Certified Health Education Specialist

NCHEC is extremely proud of the many health CHES® and MCHES® who serve as essential personnel in many different sectors across the US. Health Education Specialists have assumed critical roles in the identification, control, and assurance of the needs of individuals and communities. They advocate fiercely for public protection measures, and support many other critical health education and health behavior measures. As our nation continues to move forward in addressing and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of a competent certified health education workforce is as significant and essential as ever before.

The following interview is part of a new series to highlight the remarkable work efforts of our credential-holders.

Photo: CAPT Michael Ahmadi (current rank) is ready to serve during NIH's COVID-19 employee vaccination clinic.

Name: Michael Ahmadi, MPH, PMP, CHES®
Job Title: Health Services Officer 
Years’ Experience: 25
Career Sector: Government

NCHEC: What is your current job title and where do you work?

Michael: Currently, I work as a Health Services Officer with the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.  

NCHEC: What are your job duties as a Health Services Officer?

Michael:  As Team Lead for Digital Communications at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), I manage a strategic digital communications program and direct a team responsible for disseminating scientific research results and life-supporting disease prevention and treatment information through six (6) digital communication channels (i.e. web, social media, email newsletters, etc.) reaching over 12 million people.

NCHEC: How has your role changed as a result of COVID-19?

Michael:  Given the cardiovascular, respiratory, and vascular effects of the virus, NHLBI supports much of the clinical trial research around COVID-19. In my role, I led development and dissemination of health education messages on digital communication channels. I supported the Institute’s strategic priorities for the pandemic and developed a COVID-19 inquiry response strategy, including 2 new websites: one for researchers, clinicians and the public to learn about NHLBI’s COVID-19 initiatives and research to help prevent, detect, treat, and improve patient outcomes, including a video animation series of how COVID-19 affects the lungs, heart, and blood; the second for the NIH Community Engagement Alliance Against COVID-19 Disparities, an NIH-funded coalition of 21 states and territories focused on outreach and engagement efforts in ethnic and racial minority communities disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The effort helps dispel misinformation and encourages racially and ethnically diverse communities to participate in clinical trials, thus reducing the impact of COVID-19. Finally, I initiated the first-ever email newsletter highlighting the latest NHLBI COVID research updates, other science and health-related news, information, and events.

NCHEC: How is your organization is providing health education & public health support to citizens?

Michael: I am a Health Services Officer (Captain) in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. We are one of eight uniformed services – and the only one dedicated solely to protecting and advancing America’s public health. There are over 6,000 officers in 800 locations in all 50 states and numerous foreign assignments. The Commissioned Corps had a large role in the COVID-19 pandemic response, deploying over half of our officers to assist in response efforts across the country. I was fortunate to deploy in late December 2020 / early January 2021 to help stand up NIH's COVID-19 vaccination clinic, where I led administrative clinic and data management functions for over 1,900 priority healthcare workers who received the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Learn more about opportunities with the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.  

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