Since 2012, the League for Innovation in the Community College has led its Community Colleges and Public Health Project with an overarching goal of involving community colleges in education for public health. Throughout the project, the League has worked closely with the Association of Schools and Programs in Public Health, initially convening a panel of experts to examine the needs, opportunities, and barriers that exist to the development of public health courses and programs in community colleges. 

Following the panel’s recommendations, the project’s second phase focused on developing prototype curricula for community college programs that could fulfill workforce needs and provide career ladders for graduates. The models were produced in consultation with Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, National Association of County and City Health Officials, Society for Public Health Education, Association of University Programs in Health Administration, and Association of Environmental Health Academic Programs, and were vetted by the community college and public health communities.

In the third phase, the League recognized 14 innovative community colleges for developing or enhancing courses, certificate programs, and associate degree programs in public health with Riegelman Awards, sponsored by Richard and Linda Riegelman and Jones & Bartlett Learning and presented at the Innovations Conferences from 2016 to 2019.

The fourth and current phase of the project focuses on Creating a Community College Culture of Health, with an emphasis on increasing community college student awareness of career opportunities in public health. Colleges are encouraged to make connections between public health careers and existing certificate and degree programs, such as nursing, allied health, first responder, environmental studies, engineering, and HVAC. To support public health career awareness activities, the League awarded 21 small grants for events held in April 2019 during National Public Health Week (USA) or on the World Health Organization’s World Health Day. Thirty-seven additional grants were awarded to the following community colleges to support public health career awareness activities this spring.

2020 Public Health Grant Recipients

For more information about the League’s Community Colleges and Public Health Project and Creating a Community College Culture of Health, including resources, please visit


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