Dr. Cassie Lopez-Jeng, assistant professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Health Programs at Western Michigan University, achieved the high score on the fall 2020 Master Certified Health Education Specialist exam. This accredited exam from the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing is one of the most highly regarded certification in the health education profession.
The MCHES exam assesses the extent to which a candidate can possess, apply and interpret knowledge relative to NCHEC's Seven Areas of Responsibility of Health Education Specialists, which outline the skills and expertise required for a position in the field of health education and promotion.
Once Dr. Lopez-Jeng had the experience required to take the exam, she thought she would do so when life was "less demanding" and she could find time to study. "The COVID-19 pandemic did not remove any of those reasons," she says. "But when I received an email about the opportunity to sit for the exam at home, it felt like the right motivation to prioritize this step in my professional development. And I am so grateful for the chance to demonstrate my continued commitment to the field."
Cassie Lopez-Jeng earned her Ph.D. in global community health and behavioral sciences, her Master of Public Health in health education and communication from Tulane University and her Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Michigan. She has taught a variety of classes at both the graduate and undergraduate level, including health behavior theory, program planning, research methods, health literacy and lifespan development.
"Achieving the highest score is a tremendous accomplishment," says Dr. Robert Bensley, coordinator of the undergraduate public health program at WMU. "This is a great success for WMU, the college, the school and our health services and public health programs."
Dr. Lopez-Jeng's research agenda focuses on the intersection of public health and aging, and exploring chronic and aging-specific issues through the lens of health education, such as falls prevention and patient safety.