Congratuations to Chelsea Moxlow, our 2nd Annual Essay Contest Winner for 2016!
Ms. Moxlow submitted an essay that incorporated the topic of “CHES/MCHES Certification: Where has it taken me? Her winning essay earned her a $100 Amazon gift card as well as print/online publication. Read her full essay below!
Honorable Mention awarded to: Debbie Barr
Eleven CHES and MCHES submitted excellent quality essays in this competition. NCHEC highly values each submission and sends a warm thank you to all contest participants. All entries will be receiving a special Starbucks thank-you item from NCHEC in the mail!
Certification = Confidence
How has my CHES/MCHES certification influenced my career path? In a word: confidence.
I was certified as a CHES in 2009 and, as a new graduate, I felt I had a leg up when applying for jobs. When a position description listed out the responsibilities, I knew I could handle the bulk, if not all, of them. Plan a health education program? No problem. Serve as a health education resource person? Piece of cake. Moreover, I walked into those interviews radiating confidence from within because I had those four little letters to back up my resume: CHES, which attested for my knowledge and skills before I even answered the first interview question.
When I landed my dream health education/promotion job in 2013, I was able to immediately capitalize on the seven areas of responsibility by expanding the health education program that I was running for a local health department. I took what was a very bare-bones approach and turned it into a gold standard program, from assessing needs and assets for data-driven decision making to conducting comprehensive evaluations in an effort to show positive change to stakeholders to promoting and advocating for the health education/promotion profession. We don’t just make decisions as a means to an end anymore; we make deliberate decisions based on best practices to ensure high quality services to our clients.
I upped the ante in 2015 when I passed the MCHES exam. My confidence in what I can do and where I can take my department grew even more. It’s not only a benefit to me professionally (getting accepted to present at conferences and participate in research is definitely a boost to my résumé), but it also has value for my employer – a confident employee is key in health education/promotion work. Local public health can be a fast-paced environment that demands that high-quality decisions be made every day to ensure excellence in service. Additionally, health educators must be able to keep up with the future of health education/promotion. For example, the similarities between the health education competencies and the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) domains made my additional duties as my department’s Accreditation Coordinator seamless (and so far successful!). Like I said in a presentation at a professional conference, “While many professionals can do some of the things required by PHAB, health educators can do all of these things.”
My certification has taught me the importance of being a people-person grounded in evidence-based practices, which is exactly how the seven areas of responsibility are defined. The confidence that came with that certification was the (very delicious) icing on the cake.