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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU students excel in public health examination

Four New Mexico State University graduate students in public health took the challenging CHES, or Certified Health Education Specialist, exam this past semester. All four students not only passed the test, but exceeded the national average.


The CHES exam allows students in health science to attain credentials and certification that help to indicate professional competency in their field. Students are tested in seven different, complementing areas of health science and must pass all sections in order to pass the test. Passing this exam and achieving certification confirms the student is knowledgeable and prepared in the health science arena.

The NMSU graduate students scored above-average marks in all seven areas, with a 100 percent passing average, while the national passing average was only 73 percent.

"It confirms that we are doing our jobs, the students are being exceptionally well trained and leaving this institution with well above-average skills and knowledge. It's always nice to get a 'pat on the back,'" said Mark Kittleson, head of NMSU's health science department.

Kittleson said the different areas are all unique, but complement each other and are the steppingstone of good health education specialists.

"Health educators may not have the deep medical knowledge of a nurse or doctor, but these people are able to assess a community's need and plan accordingly. To meliorate the health of those involved, they have the ability to implement programs that will incite action and render the necessary results within a community," he said.

"Whether it be cancer awareness, smoke or obesity prevention, health educators need to be capable of finding a way to raise awareness, but also cause change among their target audience," Kittleson said.

New Mexico State University is only one of two universities in the country that have both undergraduate and graduate approved and accredited public health education programs.