Shelba Scheffner and Debra Youngfelt, executive director and health educator, respectively, of the East-central Pennsylvania Area Health Education Center (East-central PA AHEC) were recognized as members of the first group to earn certification as Master Certified Health Education Specialists (MCHES).

The newly created advanced-level certification, MCHES, is awarded by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. (NCHEC).

This certification signifies that Scheffner and Youngfelt have met the national standards for individual health education practitioners.

The MCHES certification attests to the individual's knowledge and understanding of the health education areas of responsibility at an advanced level and assists employers in identifying qualified health education practitioners.

"NCHEC developed the advanced-level certification in response to recommendations from the profession, supported by research, indicating the presence of distinct levels of practice in the health education work setting," said William Cohen, Chair of NCHEC's Board of Commissioners.

Scheffner and her staff strive to ensure a strong health care workforce in the AHEC five county region, particularly for the medically underserved.

"It has been our mission, along with our community partners, to address shortages of health professionals and to offer support to our dedicated health care providers," states Scheffner, who also serves as a member of the board of directors of Blue Mountain Health System.

As health educator for East-central PA AHEC since 2002, Youngfelt is responsible for health education programs which address needs related to the recruitment and retention of the health professions workforce.

For more information contact East-central PA AHEC at (610) 379-2001 or by email at [1].