New SOPHE Issue Brief Highlights Opportunities and Challenges for Health Education Specialists in the ACA

Contact: Jerrica Mathis | (202) 408-9804 | 

For Immediate Release: April 4, 2013

WASHINGTON— In celebration of National Public Health Week, the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) is pleased to release a new issue brief entitled “Affordable Care Act: Opportunities and Challenges for Health Education Specialists.” The Affordable Care Act (ACA) offers multiple policy levers for improving patient care and maximizing health outcomes, in part by expanding the opportunities for health education specialists to contribute to the goals of prevention, screening and treatment.

A “health education specialist” is someone who has met, at a minimum, baccalaureate-level required academic qualifications in health education, and uses appropriate educational methods that support the health of individuals, groups, schools, and/or communities.  Some health education specialists have passed a competency-based examination and are referred to as Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES) or Master Certified Health Education Specialists (MCHES).

“Implementation of the ACA provides an opportunity to showcase the many competencies of health education specialists,” says Kelli McCormack Brown, PhD, CHES, SOPHE President and Interim Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor, University of Florida.  “Health education specialists offer knowledge, skills and training that complement those of health care providers, educational experts, human resource personnel and many other professionals whose work impacts human health.”

This SOPHE issue brief highlights the opportunities and challenges for health education specialists within the new payer reform models and system reform models, specifically Accountable Care Organizations and Patient Centered Medical Homes.  The 17-page brief also lists comprehensive internal and external action steps for SOPHE to pursue in collaboration with other partners and stakeholders.  The brief serves as a platform for awareness and discussion on how health education specialists can best leverage the timely opportunities that are available.

“As the pre-eminent independent voice for the health education profession, SOPHE looks forward to being at the table in critical discussions to achieve the goals of ACA,” says Elaine Auld, MPH, MCHES, Chief Executive Officer of SOPHE. “We are committed to working both internally and externally with policymakers and various stakeholders to improve patient care opportunities, particularly for the goal of enhancing health equity.”

The “Affordable Care Act: Opportunities and Challenges for Health Education Specialists” is available for download here.

The Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) is a non-profit professional organization founded in 1950 to provide global leadership to the profession of health education and health promotion and to promote the health of society. SOPHE’s 4,000 national, international, and chapter members work in various public and private organizations to advance health education theory and research, develop disease prevention and health promotion programs, and promote public policies conducive to health. For more information, go to