Professor Heidi Hancher-Rauch Selected as the Next President of the Board of Trustees for the Society for Public Health Education

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Professor and Director of the Public Health Program at the University of Indianapolis Heidi Hancher-Rauch was recently elected to serve as the next president of the board of trustees for the Society for Public Health Education. According to their website, SOPHE is a nonprofit, professional association that represents a diverse membership of health education professionals and students in the United States and several international countries. According to their website, SOPHE’s website says it supports leaders in public health, health education and health promotion to advance healthy and equitable communities across the globe.

Hancher-Rauch said she previously served on the board of trustees and as a national co-chair of the Advocacy & Resolutions Committee. She said that president of the board of trustees of SOPHE is a three-year commitment. In March, Hancher-Rauch will take her role as president. 

“SOPHE, the Society for Public Health Education, has really been my professional home since I was a master[s] student,” Hancher-Rauch said. “So it’s been a really long time and it has kind of taken years of development and mentorship from other leaders in the organization that kind of brought me to this point where I would be ready for something like this. It’s an organization that has led to lifetime friendships and mentors for me, and I really want to make sure that we do what we can to foster those kinds of opportunities for the next generation of public health educators and health educators in general.”

Immediate Past President of SOPHE Amy Thompson said Hancher-Rauch is equipped for this role because she is an amazing health educator and professional. She said it seems natural for Hancher-Rauch to get elected to the national board and to become president-elect because of her passion for the health field and how much she has done in terms of contributions.


“This is very prestigious for Dr. Hancher-Rauch to hold this position,” Thompson said. “I think it’s wonderful that her students have the opportunity to study with such a teacher, scholar and somebody that’s so active at the national level. And I wish her the best of luck.”

Hancher-Rauch said this new position will have many responsibilities attached to it. She said some of these responsibilities include strategic planning, keeping track of finances for the organization, attracting new members, taking the message about the importance of the field and the professional organization to state and local chapters, and working with groups such as the student organization, Eta Sigma Gamma.

“There’s a lot of work to be done right now related to public health and advocacy, [we’re] really trying to be a voice for the people in our communities,” Hancher-Rauch said. “Public health is a very service-oriented field. We’re all about trying to create environments where everybody has a fair shot at living a healthy, productive life.”

Hancher-Rauch said she encourages all students to find an organization that fits their needs and interests and start getting involved. She said no matter a person’s major or profession, they can get involved in something. According to Hancher-Rauch, she first started with a local SOPHE membership and eventually met people at the national level. 

As the immediate past president of SOPHE, Thompson said one thing she learned in this role was to listen to others and their points of view. She said it’s important for the president to take in feedback, make a decision and execute to move the organization forward. 

“She has some really creative ideas,” Thompson said. “She’s a strong leader and she is also very passionate about advocacy. I know that she’ll do a lot to move our organization forward at a time when it really needs her kind of leadership.”

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