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National Public Health Week CHES® Spotlight: Elizabeth Havens, B.S., CHES®, Violence Prevention Coordinator

CHES® Career Profile: Violence Prevention Program Coordinator

CHES® and MCHES® work in a variety of fields to educate citizens, healthcare workers, and lawmakers of the importance of a thriving, healthy community. In addition to working to promote physical health and wellness in their communities, certified health education specialists may also work in specialized programs like violence prevention. We sat down with Elizabeth Havens, Violence Prevention Program Manager for the Arkansas Department of Health.


What does a health education specialist working as a violence prevention program coordinator do? 

As the violence prevention program manager for the Arkansas health department, I work under the Substance Misuse and Injury Prevention Branch. In this role, I collaborate with multiple disciplines in the public health field. My top tasks include the management of the CDC’s Rape Prevention and Education (RPE) grant. Those tasks include:

  • Budget monitoring
  • Education/curriculum selection
  • Coordination of prevention educators

In what ways are being a CHES® beneficial for your career,  your employer, and individuals you work with?

I strive to adopt an evidence-based curriculum that is taken into schools and community-based settings which will help to prevent sexual violence before it begins. The RPE program works collaboratively with diverse stakeholders, including state sexual violence coalitions, educational institutions, rape crisis centers, and community organizations to implement and evaluate prevention efforts.  

READ MORE: How to Become a Health Education Specialist

What drew you to a career as a violence prevention program manager?

I began my work with the State Health Department as the Injury and Violence Prevention Sections Health Educator where I worked on health topics such as substance misuse, suicide prevention, fall prevention, and motor vehicle crashes. During this time, I gained knowledgeable insight that led me to my current position as a program manager with the state of Arkansas. 

Violence Prevention Resources

If you find yourself looking for violence prevention resources, I would recommend visiting where you will find vast information on preventing violence, including dating violence and intimate partner violence.

How is the program and the Arkansas Department of Health adapting to COVID-19?

At the current time, I have been pulled away from RPE activities and am working to help my state combat COVID-19. I have been placed in a call center to help answer and appropriately answer questions from fellow Arkansans. I have realized the incredible value of knowledgeable Health Education Specialists during this time of extreme uncertainty. 

READ MORE: The Value of Health Education Credentialing

CHES® Certification for Prevention Program Coordinators

Becoming a CHES® offers so much more than a certification title. Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES®) are passionate about their communities and helping to create a healthy and thriving world. 

Through certification, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about how to evaluate the need for public health programs, how to plan and implement these programs, and how to interact with the public, with media, and with patients to connect those in need with resources that can change their lives through violence prevention programs, smoking cessation help, and more. 

READ MORE: The 7 Areas of Responsibility for CHES®

NCHEC offers resources for public health professionals looking for public health education certification as well as study guides, resources to help you market your degree and certifications, and more. 

How to Become a Health Education Specialist  → 

Posted by Jessica Wessner at 06:00

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