Dear DHPE Members, Partners and Supporters,


It is will great sadness to announce that the Directors of Health Promotion and Education (DHPE) have finally closed our doors after being in operation for 72 years. The Association of State and Territorial Directors of Health Promotion and Public Health Education (ASTDHPPHE) dba the Directors of Health Promotion and Education (DHPE) is dissolving. As with many non-profits in recent years, DHPE has been challenged to do more with less.  

On behalf of the Board of Directors of DHPE, I want to thank all of you who have contributed to the success of DHPE over its 72-year history.  We have accomplished so much toward our shared mission of strengthening public health capacity in policy and in systems change to improve the health of all and achieve health equity. 

Although DHPE is dissolving, the programs that we collectively have worked hard to establish and maintain will be continuing under new leadership. The assets of these programs have been given to the excellent caretakers, which are highlighted below.

Again, thank you for all your hard work and support of all our programs, and we hope you will utilize some of these resources as your agency pursues future policy, systems and environmental change approaches to improve the health of our communities and the Nation!

The Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE), a nonprofit organization with our shared goals and vision, will maintain the balance of DHPE programs, that are NOT designated below, on their website. We want all of our former members and partners to reach out to SOPHE as an organizational home and/or resource for future professional development. They will be offering special membership pricing for former members of DHPE. SOPHE can be reached at: https://www.sophe.org/

Should you have a need to contact DHPE, we will have email access for a few more months at: info@dhpe.org or dsammons-hackett@dhpe.org


DHPE Programs and New Homes:

Systems Change for Health

Starting January 1, 2018, Carolyn Crump, PhD and James Emery, MPH - the curriculum developers for Systems Change for Health (SCH) - will be administrating and operating the program. You may view the courses at the new website: 


You can learn more about the authors at: http://UNCHealthySolutions.web.unc.edu . Thank you for your continued support of and/or interest in the Systems Change for Health (SCH) training program!

Minority Internship and Fellowship Program

The Association of State Public Health Nutritionists (ASPHN) is operating the Health Equity Internship Program starting in January 2017. Please send your emails and inquiries to ASPHN Executive Director Karen Probert at internship@asphn.orgThank you for your interest in the Health Equity Internship Program!

Lupus Health Education Program

The purpose of the DHPE Lupus Health Education Program entitled LEAP is to reduce lupus related health disparities among racial and ethnic minority populations disproportionately affected by this disease by conducting a national lupus education initiative. The caretaker agreement is still under development.

National Implementation and Dissemination for Chronic Disease Prevention Initiative

The CDC-funded National Implementation and Dissemination for Chronic Disease Prevention Initiative, also referred to as Partnering4Health has come to an end. DHPE would like to thank each of you for your participation and support of the project over the past three years. Several resources have been created as a part of Partnering4Health and these resources are available to you and your affiliates to be utilized in the future. Learn more below:

  • The Partnering4Health white paper has been released.  The white paper includes both a summary documentas well as pull-outs for each focus area of physical activity, nutrition, smoke-free environments and community clinical linkages. 
  • The Partnering4Health microsite hosts the white paper as well as additional resources from the national project. The site is hosted by the Society of Public Health Education (SOPHE) at http://partnering4health.org
  • DHPE created an online sustainability course, featuring several community partners.  The course also has an accompanying toolkit created by SOPHE.
  • A  final video integrates interviews with national partners, including American Health Association, American Planning Association, and the National WIC Association, from the Denver meeting. 
Why Policy and Environmental Changes?
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Public health professionals frequently hear objections to work involving policy. "Government should just educate people” or "You've got to teach them while they are young.” The trouble with education-only efforts is they take place in a vacuum. Without the neighborhood, school, and family support, education goes no further than the exit to the classroom. Support could include sidewalks, designated walking or rolling routes to school, bike racks, and physical activity and play time during school hours. Such neighborhood and school efforts require policy (e.g, each child will have 20 minutes of recess each day), environmental (e.g., sidewalk markers designating routes to school), and systems (an emphasis on promoting physical activity for children from before school to after) to reinforce educational messages.

Meanwhile, children are taught to "eat healthily” while in some schools candy is used to illustrate math problems and junk food sales to teach commerce. Substituting non-food items (or dried beans) in math can be a policy change by the school principal as part of an overall systems change of encouraging healthy eating. It's a way of practicing "do as I say AND as I do.”

Adults are bombarded with health claims from the specious to the well-researched but two health ideas that are almost universally accepted are (1) Get physical activity, and (2) Eat fruits and vegetables. Again we know that various modes of education get the message out, but how well does the person's environment support these ideas? Does the workplace have vending machines that offer apples? Do the town's streets have bicycle lanes?

Policy, environmental, and systems changes are designed to make the healthy choice the easy choice. Our modern society wasn't engineered with health in mind, and our collective health is paying the price. No U.S. state has an obesity prevalence of less than 20 percent of the population (United Health Foundation, America's Health Rankings 2011).

Tobacco use prevention professionals have long worked in policy and environmental change. Smoke-free workplaces, parks, and public areas are more effective at reducing tobacco consumption than gathering 15 individuals in a room to teach them how to stop smoking. Importantly, these measures also reduce secondhand smoke exposure, whereas educating people who smoke that their smoke harms others produces limited results.

Health promotion programs have been moving toward policy, systems, and environmental change approaches for many years. These approaches do not replace the need for individually aimed health promotion but they do fill a critical gap. Public health agencies are positioned to see the community-based changes needed to support health and collaborate with private groups to make them happen.

As used in the Systems Change for Health courses offered by DHPE, the term "policy” refers to a range of approaches, actions or interventions that are part of the policy process. The policy process can occur at the local, state, or national levels. Policies include workplace rules, insurance provisions, limitations businesses accept, local ordinances, joint use agreements (such as allowing the use of school facilities for community physical activity programs), changes to built environments (such as traffic calming measures and safer walking routes to schools), school board decisions, agreed upon ways of doing business, and state guidance—in addition to state or federal regulations, and local, state, or federal laws. This series of courses take participants through a broad spectrum from defining and framing problems to evaluating the solutions.

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