Public Health Expertise Network of Mentors (PHENOM)

A Good Idea


The Public Health Expertise Network of Mentors (PHENOM) is an online public health mentoring program that is now in its 20th year. Formally an offering of Southern Connecticut State University’s Public Health Alumni Chapter, providing mentoring services to students on campus, it is now completely online, and hosted by its founder’s Web site:

Any public health professional with at least with one degree in public health can volunteer to be included on an online directory that includes brief biosketches of volunteer mentors serving one-year voluntary terms. Any individual interested in being mentored can contact any mentor on the directory, either by E-mail or phone, or by submitting a question to the director.

Additional online career resources are available, from job searches to listings of public health continuing educational opportunities to descriptions of public health positions across a total of 33 Web pages.

Goal / Mission

To provide a freely-available source of public health expertise in which seasoned professionals can share their wealth of professional expertise with those interested in learning about Public Health and potential career options.

Results / Accomplishments

To date, 114 public health professionals have served as a mentor for PHENOM. For the 2012-2013 academic year, the annual PHENOM Directory included 53 mentors from 11 different states, and 4 countries. Seventy percent hold a master’s degree, 19% hold a doctoral degree and 11% hold a bachelor’s degree. Professional preparation of mentors include 43% are certified health education specialist (CHES) or master certified health education specialist (MCHES), 32% have a medical, nursing or health-related degree, and 9% are registered sanitarians.

Program evaluation is continuously conducted online. Visitors to Web pages housing
PHENOM information can submit anonymous evaluations, and mentors are asked to
submit an annual evaluation of their experiences with the program. To date. 985 visitor evaluations have been submitted online with 99.9% reporting that the information provided on the Web page accessed was enough. To date, 209 mentor evaluations have been submitted, with an overall rating of 4.27/5.00 (1=disagree, 5=agree) that this service program is beneficial.

Years of expertise and mentor retention are the primary measures of program success. For the 2012-2013 academic year, the overall percentage of all mentors who have ever served as a mentor with 5 or more years of public health experience (serving as a proxy measure for public health experience) was 54%. Of those who served during the 2012- 2013 academic year, 83% had 5 or more years of public health experience. PHENOM retention has been very good. Almost all mentors continue year after year.

The costs for the online presence of the program are borne by the program director. Total annual technical cost is $951, which includes the internet service provider, Web hosting and tracking. The total equipment and software cost is estimated at $1,000 annually.

The most current annual program logic model and evaluation report is available at:

Starting in 2012, PHENOM can offer to those certified as CHES or MCHES the opportunity to earn one Category 2 CECH for each year of service to meeting the recertification requirements of the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. (NCHEC) for Competency 7.6.10, "Serve as a mentor to others".

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Betty C. Jung, Program Director
Education / Higher Education
Education / School Resources
Southern Connecticut State University
Corporation for National & Community Service
Date of publication
For more details