Doctor of Health Education Degree Online

Doctor of Health Education Degree Online

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Health Education Degree Online

The only degree program of its kind, the prestigious Doctor of Health Education degree online offered by A.T. Still University (ATSU) positions students for superior career success. Through ATSU’s College of Graduate Health Studies, students examine the current state of health education and their individual roles and responsibilities within it. The online health education degree curriculum is meticulously aligned with Certified Health Education Specialist competencies to provide the nationally recognized credentialing needed for advancement.

ATSU’s Doctor of Health Education degree is a 78- to 84-credit-hour program that is 100 percent online. It is closely aligned with the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) and Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) competencies delineated by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC), the nationally recognized agency for health education credentialing.

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No residency is required to earn the Doctor of Health Education degree, saving travel time and expense. The first two years of the online health education degree program are spent taking core courses and the third year is spent completing the dissertation. In addition to completing all core courses and a dissertation, students in this health education degree program must also present their dissertation study online to their dissertation committee and any ATSU faculty, staff and students who wish to attend. Choose between an applied or theoretical dissertation based on your individual interests and priorities.

Additionally, online health education degree students must take the CHES or MCHES exam and submit their dissertation study to two peer-reviewed journals, providing the opportunity for industry-wide exposure as a published scholar. They select a dissertation mentor from a panel of dedicated and highly accomplished faculty for the most relevant and enriching collaboration. These requirements offer several opportunities to prepare themselves professionally.

This advanced online health education degree provides invaluable flexibility and faculty support and guidance to advance your careers without interruption and maintain a balance with work and family – support that includes direct access to the program chair. This asynchronous anytime/anywhere model for this unique health education degree program frees students to work at the ideal pace for them, from one or two courses per term.

Graduates with this highly respected health education degree excel as leaders, improving community health and wellness in the rapidly expanding field of health education that’s projected to grow at a rate of 37 percent nationally.


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  • Career Advancement+

    • There are many potential advanced career outcomes for graduates who hold the DHEd degree, including:

      • Administrator/professor at a college or university
      • Director of corporate worksite wellness
      • Director of community education in a hospital or health system

      • Director of community health services
      • Director of local, state or federal government health agency
      • Program manager in a community-based service organization

Doctor of Health Education Degree Faculty

The Doctor of Health Education degree program offers a challenging educational experience that enables intellectual and professional advancement. The ATSU College of Graduate Health Studies faculty and staff are dedicated to the success of the health education degree student. Comprehensive student services are available, including advising, tutoring, technical support, and career services.

CGHS instructors have diverse academic and professional backgrounds in public health and health education, and all hold doctorate degrees. Their academic areas of interest include community health, health literacy, child and adolescent health, college health, environmental health, rural health, microbiology, epidemiology, parasitology, emerging pathogens and infectious disease, program evaluation, factors affecting health behavior, allied health and health sciences education, professional education of health educators, online learning and innovative teaching methodologies.

  • Dean +

      • Don Altman, DDS, DHSc, MPH, MBA, MA

        Dr. Don Altman, is the Dean for CGHS as well as Professor and Chair, Department of Public Health (CGHS) and Director, Public Health & Research at the Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health. He has been with the University since October 2006.

        Dr. Altman graduated from The University of Texas Dental Branch (DDS) in 1983. He completed his Master of Public Health degree at The University of Texas School of Public Health in 1989 and became Board Certified in Dental Public Health in 1999. Dr. Altman completed his MBA at The University of Phoenix (2002) and a MA in Bioethics from Midwestern University (2004). He graduated with a Doctor in Health Science (DHSc) degree in March 2012 from the Arizona School of Health Sciences at A.T. Still University.

        Dr. Altman has worked for The City of Houston, the State of Texas, the State of Arizona, as well as The Principal Financial Group. Dr. Altman’s public health experience includes: serving as President of the Arizona State Board Dental Examiners; serving as President of the Arizona Public Health Association; volunteering with Health Volunteers Overseas (Cambodia and Vietnam); Director of the National Oral Health Leadership Institute; and serving as the Consumer Representative to the Dental Products Panel for the Food and Drug Administration. On May 1, 2012 he was appointed as a Director to The American Board of Dental Public Health.

        Dr. Altman’s research interests are currently centered on public health and higher education. He has published articles in the Journal of Dental Education, Journal of the American Dental Association, Public Health Reports, Special Care in Dentistry, and Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology.

  • Associate Dean +

      • Katherine M. Adler, DHA, FACHE
        Associate Dean of Academic Success and Assessment

        Dr. Adler is the Associate Dean for Assessment and Student Success at the College of Graduate Health Studies (CGHS). She began teaching for the College of Graduate Health Studies in 2006, became the Program Chair for Health Administration in 2009, and became the Associate Dean in 2012.

        Dr. Adler holds a Doctorate in Healthcare Administration and Leadership from the Medical University of South Carolina. She has more than 25 years of varied experience in the not-for-profit health care industry, spending the bulk of her career working at safety-net hospitals in urban Detroit.

        During her tenure in administrative roles, Dr. Adler worked closely with physicians in medicine and surgery, having direct oversight of those departments and subspecialties, and gained extensive knowledge in public health, epidemiology, social and behavioral sciences, and environmental health sciences. Through her formal training and work, Dr. Adler has a strong background in health services administration as well as public health. She is a patient advocate, understands the plight of the underserved and underinsured, and has worked to incorporate patient-centered care into the curriculum with the understanding that prevention and whole person healthcare are the keys to a healthy community and society.

  • Chair +

      • Erin Breitenbach, PhD

        Dr. Erin Breitenbach is Program Chair of the Health Education program at ATSU’s College of Graduate Health Studies. She holds a BA in kinesiology (1991), a MA in health education (1996), and a PhD (1998) in health education from The University of Texas at Austin. After several years conducting health education research, Dr. Breitenbach spent time managing oncology clinical research before returning to health education as a public health instructor for ATSU.

        Dr. Breitenbach’s research interests include cancer screening in Hispanic women, school nutrition behaviors, and developing collaborative partnerships among institutions of higher learning, state-level organizations, and local school districts to improve comprehensive school health education.

  • Faculty +

      • Larry K. Olsen, DrPH, MCHES
        Read Bio
      • Colleen Halupa, EdD
        Associate Professor
        Read Bio
      • Donna Allen, PhD, CHES, FAWHP
        Assistant Professor
        Read Bio
      • Joshua Bernstein PhD, CHES
        Assistant Professor
        Read Bio
      • Candace Ayars, PhD
        Assistant Professor
        Read Bio
      • Lori Dewald, EdD, CGHS
        Associate Professor
        Read Bio
      • Lynda Konecny, DHEd, MS, CHES, CGHS
        Associate Professor
        Read Bio
      • Warren G. McDonald, PhD
        Assistant Professor
        Read Bio
      • Meg Sheppard, PhD, CHES
        Assistant Professor
        Read Bio

Doctor of Health Education Degree Admissions

Admission to the Doctor of Health Education degree program requires a master’s degree in health education or a related field, or a master’s degree in a non-related field and at least 3 years of work experience in the health education field.

Health education degree students are selected by an admission committee that considers the overall qualities of the applicant through application content, academic record, prior experience, letters of evaluation and personal motivation.

  • Requirements +

    • The highly-respected health education doctorate degree program prepares individuals to be leaders in the field of public health. Candidates applying for admission must have the following:

      1. Master’s degree or higher from an accredited university recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation in health education or a related field, or master’s degree or higher from an accredited university recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation in an unrelated field plus three years of work experience in health education or a related field. Applicants who graduated from a university outside the United States must provide a degree equivalency evaluation.
      2. Completed admissions application.
      3. Official transcript from a qualifying degree-granting institution. For students using VA benefits transcripts for all institutions attended are required.
      4. Non-refundable application fee submitted with application.
      5. Minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 3.0 (4.0 scale) at the qualifying degree institution. Candidates with a GPA below 3.0 may apply by completing an additional essay during the application process to explain factors that precipitated a student’s low GPA and how and why a student will be successful in a program. Students who did not attend an institution where a GPA system was used are required to petition the program chair.
      6. A current resume.
      7. Completion of essay and attainment of two professional references.
      8. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) for applicants when English is not their first language. The Computer Based Test (CBT), Internet Based Test (iBT), or the Paper Based Test (PBT) are accepted. The following are the minimum required score based on test type:
        • CBT - minimum total score of 213 (min. 22/Reading Skills section; min. 26/Writing Skills section)
        • iBT - minimum total score of 80 (min 22/Reading Skills section; min. 24/Writing Skills section)
        • PBT - minimum total score of 550 (min. 57/Reading Skills section; min. 61/Writing Skills section)

      9. Applicants are selected by an admission committee.
      10. Completion of background check, using a vendor selected by ATSU. CGHS requires criminal background checks on matriculants to ensure the safety of patients and employees. The checks are conducted by an ATSU selected vendor. The student will pay the cost of the criminal background check directly to the vendor. Failure to comply with this mandate will result in denial to matriculate. Applicants who fail to disclose anything on their application that is returned on their background check report will have that finding reviewed by an University Official.
      11. Technology requirements: All ATSU students are required to own a computer system. Minimum system requirements vary depending on program.

      For additional information contact an Enrollment Counselor at 877.469.2878 or

      Foreign Credential Evaluation

      Applicants who have graduated from a foreign college or university must submit acceptable evidence of U.S. degree/course equivalency. All course work taken at the foreign institution must be evaluated for American institution equivalence by one of the following services:

      • World Education Services P.O. Box 5087 Bowling Green Station New York, NY 10274-5087 phone: 212. 966.6311 fax: 212.739.6139
      • Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. P.O. Box 514070 Milwaukee, WI 53203-3470 414.289.3400
      • American Assn. of Collegiate Registrars & Admissions Officers One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 520 Washington, DC 20036-1135 202.293-9161
      • FCCPT - Foreign Credentialing Commission on Physical Therapy (PT Applicants only) p: 703.684.8406
      • Josef Silny & Associates, Inc. International Education Consultants 7101 SW 102 Avenue Miami FL 33173 p: 305.273.1616 f: 305.273.1338
      • ICD - International Consultants of Delaware (General) p: 215.222.8454
  • Tuition+

    • Application Fee: $70
      Tuition: $488 per credit hour (2015-2016 school year)
      Technology Fee: $150 per quarter
      Note: All fees and tuition are subject to change.

      CGHS tuition rates are competitive. Tuition is to be paid in full (or all financial aid award-letter steps completed for the appropriate term) 14 calendar days prior to the first day of class. Students are responsible for the purchase of their Internet service fees and computer hardware and software fees. Contact your admissions representative at 877.626.5577 or for more information.

      All courses are four credit hours, except the dissertation (five credit hours).

  • Request Information+

    • Have a question for ATSU?

      Click to connect with ATSU and ask any question regarding our schools or curriculum. A representative will respond to you promptly.


      800 W. Jefferson Street
      Kirksville, MO 63501
      Phone: 660-626-2121


      5850 E. Still Circle
      Mesa, AZ 85206
      Phone: 480-219-6000

The Family and Culture

Doctor of Health Education imagery


  • Blackboard Demo Course +

    • ATSU has set up a demo course of our Blackboard
      Learning Management System for interested students.

      Please go to our guest demo site, and login with:

      Username: DHEdemo
      Password: cghsguest

      Connect Now

Doctor of Health Education Curriculum Overview

ATSU’s Doctor of Health Education degree program empowers students with the most updated curriculum designed for relevance and immediate impact in the industry. The curriculum complements ATSU’s mission of encouraging its constituencies to become leaders in improving community health and wellness with a comprehensive appreciation of the whole individual while helping to create the best health educators in the world.

Health education degree courses are conducted through virtual teaching methods, such as web-based instruction, video demonstrations, directed readings, and e-mail and online discussions with faculty. Curriculum design is mission-driven and context-based, and student learning is monitored through authentic embedded assessments.

The online Doctor of Health Education degree program of study is typically three years (although the length of time to complete the program may vary, depending on how many dissertation courses are required to complete the dissertation). The dissertation process begins in the student’s third year. The maximum allowable time to complete the program is seven years.

Course Descriptions

Course descriptions, course durations, and related information are subject to change. All courses are four credit hours, unless otherwise specified.

  • Advanced Health Education+

    • Students examine health education and how to use social, environmental, behavioral, and epidemiological concepts to develop effective methods for needs assessments and strategies for planning, implementing, and evaluating theoretically and evidence-based health education programs.

  • Health Education Ethics and Leadership+

    • Students examine ethics and how character contributes to achieving integrity, compassion, and leadership, in the practice, promotion and advocacy for health education and the health education profession. Students develop a personal plan for establishing integrity and compassion in leadership and professional growth and service to advance the health education profession.

  • Theory in Health Education Research and Application+

    • Students are provided an overview of popularly-employed theories in health education. The socio-ecological perspective is used as an organizing framework and the interconnections among theories are emphasized. Besides identifying major constructs, hypothesized relationships, and assumptions of theories, students critically assess the strengths and limitations of theories as well as evaluate use of theory in health education and promotion research. Students apply theory to explain health behaviors and identify intervention strategies. Ethical issues in the practice of health promotion (i.e., health communication and social marketing) are examined.

  • Health Education Practices+

    • Students examine effective methods for collaboration and implementing community and public health efforts at the local, state, and national levels. Incorporated and imbedded within the course content and assignments are ethical issues, multicultural comparisons, and diversity exploration.

  • Advanced Community Public Health Assessment+

    • Students examine the advanced individual, group, and community health needs and capacity assessment strategies and how these strategies can be used to determine and develop goals and effective implementation and collaboration efforts in community health programs.

  • Health Education Program Planning+

    • Students develop skills in the use of theoretical frameworks; formative, outcome, and impact data; needs assessments; outlining of goals and objectives; best practices; steering committees; timelines; proposal preparation; strategic planning; budgeting; and advocacy for health education and the health education profession in the planning of health education programs.

  • Cultural Competence in Health Education and Health Promotion+

    • Students examine the importance of cultural competence, explore various dimensions of culture (e.g., race and ethnicity, spirituality, complementary and alternative medicine, sexual orientation, aging), understand how culture is associated with health and disparities, and explain what health education and promotion professionals and healthcare organizations might do to provide culturally sensitive and responsive programs and services. Students are prepared to ensure cultural competence when they interact or work with individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds.

  • Public Health Administration and Policy+

    • Students examine both the administrative aspects of public health as well as the development of public health policies. Public health administration recognizes and incorporates both financial resources and non-financial resources at the local, state, and national levels. Public health policies are designed to advocate for policy changes within the context of the political process around health policy making and the political roles of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government are explored. Practical mechanisms for framing issues to influence policy makers and guiding effective advocacy for public health and for the public health education profession are discussed.

  • Evaluation of Health Education Programs+

    • Students examine the evaluation of community health services, health education programs, health communication programs, health status, and health behavior. Effective strategies for developing and implementing health education process, impact, and outcome evaluation and measuring goals and objectives are examined.

  • Epidemiology+

    • Students examine the study of disease in populations from a public health perspective. Topics include research methods, study designs, sampling, data analysis, interpretation of data, and application of findings for public health policy.

  • Biostatistics+

    • Biostatistics is the study and development of statistical, mathematical, and computational methods applied to biological, health, and human sciences. Biostatisticians play a key role in the design, conduct, and analysis of research studies in areas of health and disease, and create and apply methods for quantitative research in health-related fields. Topics covered include data description, probability, distribution of random variables, applications of the binomial and normal distributions, estimation and confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, contingency tables, regression, and analysis of variance. Additional topics include an introduction to statistical computing and data management, non-parametric statistical methods, and demographic measures. Students need to use a statistical program (Microsoft Excel® or other program) to assist with computations.

  • Qualitative Research Methods+

    • This course provides students with a conceptual overview of qualitative research and hands-on opportunities to conduct qualitative research. Topics include defining qualitative research and conducting a qualitative study (e.g., designing the study, collecting and analyzing data, and reporting results).

  • Research Planning and Design I+

    • The ability to become a life-long learner depends on sustainable assessment skills. In this course, the focus is on developing and enhancing skills related to research strategies, problem and purpose statements, research questions, formulation of hypotheses, literature review, proposal preparation, and how they relate to the dissertation.

  • Advanced Biostatistics+

    • Students examine linear models that are popular in many areas of study. Specific topics that will be covered include correlation, simple linear regression, multiple regression, indicator variables, analysis of covariance, model selection procedures, one- and two-factor analysis of variance, and logistic regression. The focus is on general understanding and applications with limited theory. SPSS statistical software is required.

  • Research Planning and Design II+

    • Students focus on identifying, defining, and measuring variables. Topics include distinguishing among types of social research, identifying relevant variables from qualitative research, defining variables, developing questionnaires (including item development and measurement scale development), determination of psychometric qualities (e.g., assessing reliability and validity), using surveys in data collection, and evaluating research quality.

  • Dissertation+

    • The dissertation is the cumulative project for the DHEd program. The topics and projects introduced and implemented during this program of study will be used to complete this requirement (5 credit hours). A series of DHED9500 courses (DHED9500, DHED9510, DHED9520 and DHED9530) are taken until the dissertation is completed; a minimum of DHED9500 and DHED9510 are required, and typically four dissertation courses (DHED9500 - DHED9530) are taken to complete the dissertation. The dissertation must be completed within seven years of beginning the program.

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