NCHEC is pleased to announce the results of the 2019 Outstanding Service and Leadership Award in recognition of two professionals displaying exemplary commitment to the advancement of our profession and the CHES® and MCHES® credentials. This award was first instituted in 2016 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.
Winner, Established Professional Category: Kasondra McCraken, MS, MCHES®
Kasondra McCracken, MS, MCHES®, was selected as the award winner in the established professional category. Her commitment as an advocate for the profession of Health Education and Promotion and her strong support of the CHES® and MCHES® certifications is commendable. Ms. McCracken has also provided a valuable resource to students entering the profession. Within her Department at Arizona State University, Ms. McCraken mentors graduate and undergraduate students and has created a complimentary online CHES® Exam Prep tutorial for students. She vigorously promotes inclusion and co-created a student organization that supports the engagement and participation of online students who juggle school with children and jobs.
Ms. McCracken has also participated in overseas health education work in West Africa, participated in school health education through Teach for America and the Red Cross, and this spring will lead a group of students to the Dominican Republic for a hands-on health education and advocacy experience abroad.
Ms. McCraken achieved her CHES® certification in 2014, and sat for the MCHES® examination in 2019. “My certification has shaped my work as a health educator and teacher. As a MCHES®, I can be confident in instructing students; whether it is guiding them in creating their own health promotion program plan, teaching them how to evaluate a canned program, or in developing their leadership skills as a new and emerging health education specialists.”
Winner, Emerging Professional Category: Morgan Grant, MS, MBA, CHES®
Morgan Grant is a PhD student at Texas Woman’s University (TWU) in the School of Health Promotion and Kinesiology. Grant, who also earned his MBA from TWU in 2017 and was recently been awarded the Dallas-Fort Worth Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, and is working to address HIV/STD prevention for minority and at-risk populations who identify as members of the LGBTQIA community.
“It is important for me to help my community – to help those who see themselves in me and myself in them,” Grant said. Grant also serves on the Board of Directors of Prism Health North Texas, an organization whose mission is to advance the health of North Texas through education, research, prevention, and personalized integrated HIV care.
Grant passed the CHES® examination in April 2019. “I have dedicated my entire academic career and professional livelihood to thwarting the advances of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and I hope to continue this work. Being a Certified Health Education Specialist has allowed me to establish a career grounded in the Areas of Responsibility and to advocate for health promotion and behavior.”
The 2019 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. NCHEC will be announcing the opening of nominations for the 2020 Outstanding Service and Leadership Award later this year. Please consider nominating yourself, or a colleague, for award recognition.