Interview with LaTonya Bynum, MPH, CHES -Speaker & Author – November 8th, 2019
by Asiah Jackson, Student at The University of South Dakota
1. Where are you employed full-time, and how long have you been certified as a CHES?
LaTonya is employed as a full-time Technical Editor for DXC Technology. She is also the Founder/CEO of U.R.A. Resource Center, LLC which is a public health consulting firm in Conway, AR.
2. What specific degree do you possess, and how many years of experience do you have in the Health Education Field?
LaTonya has a Master’s in Public Health and has been certified as a CHES since 2011. However, she first took the exam in 2004 in which she failed the exam by just three points.
3. Where did you prepare academically before taking the CHES exam, and did you feel as though you were prepared adequately for the exam and to work in health education?
LaTonya earned her Bachelor of Science (BS) Degree in Health Science with an emphasis in Community Health and Spanish from the University of Central Arkansas. She has recently completed her Master’s in Public Health through the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
In order for LaTonya to prepare for the CHES exam, she was required to complete a 6-month internship from her BS program, join the Arkansas Society of Public Health Education, and enroll in the Mentorship program as a mentee. She then studied to materials given to her by her Mentor who was also the President of AR SOPHE, Marian S. (Marian Evans) Evans Lothery, DrPH, CHES. LaTonya stated “I felt more than prepared for the exam yet, I did not have enough work experience to be able to take the theories and models and then apply them to the real world”
She then landed her very first professional career in public health as a Secretary at the Arkansas Department of Health in December of 2004.
4. In your opinion, how do you feel the CHES credential separates you from others who have a Health Education related degree or minor?
LaTonya definitely inspired me with the answer she stated that she recently developed the 5 C’s of CHES benefits and values.
• Bump shoulders with the best of the best to get connections- Career Connections
• Use your personality to energize the room- Charisma
• Know your story and own it- Confidence
• Toot your own professional horn- Credibility
• Innovate the Field- Culture of Innovation
5. What is needed to maintain a CHES?
In order to maintain a CHES, one must complete 75 continuing education hours in a 5-year period. 45 of those hours must be pre-approved and the other 30 hours do not have to be pre-approved.
LaTonya then shared a link for those who are wanting to know more about the requirements in continuing their education with a CHES. https://www.nchec.org/continuing-education
The link seemed to have shared absolutely everything in full detail that one must need to know on continuing their education as a CHES.
6. What advice would you give to one who is thinking about taking the exam to become a CHES? Any additional information?
• Download the CHES Exam Study Tips app by URA Resource Center for Android and Apple users.
• Find a CHES certified mentor to guide you with real-world examples to assist with putting the book smarts to the test.
• Purchase the companion guide on the NCHEC.org website and be sure to align your internship, job duties, and service learning opportunities with the 7 areas of responsibility.
LaTonya’s added Bonus: “Share as you learn new health education techniques so that people and community members will challenge your experience and you can learn even more”
As I looked more into LaTonya’s profile, I quickly discovered her love for what she does, it seems as though she is constantly learning new things in her Health Education career. Her passion and time she put into this short interview inspired me to always give it my all-in whatever career field I choose. LaTonya has written her own book on her tips and tricks to career success called “Tools for Career Success: 101 Answers to FAQs about Public Health”. Copies are available for purchase via Amazon , Barnes and Noble , Books A Million , Indie Bound , Lulu , and Second Sale .
Thank you so much for your time this morning LaTonya I truly enjoyed it and look forward to keeping in touch with you in the near future!
“Social Media content is offered to share my personal life and career struggles turned successes in rising above shame, poor-self-confidence and finding my “unapologetic” voice while overcoming bouts of depression.” –LaTonya Bynum