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Health Science | HealthCenter21 | Diversified Health Occupations

How to Use AES and DHO in CTE Health Science Courses

November 30th, 2021 | 10 min. read

Brad Hummel

Brad Hummel

Coming from a family of educators, Brad knows both the joys and challenges of teaching well. Through his own teaching background, he’s experienced both firsthand. As a writer for iCEV, Brad’s goal is to help teachers empower their students by listening to educators’ concerns and creating content that answers their most pressing questions about career and technical education.

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As a health science teacher, you may have heard from colleagues who use both HealthCenter21 from AES and the DHO Health Science textbook in their classroom. AES and DHO are both popular, comprehensive curriculum solutions educators turn to for CTE health science classes, but you might be unsure how to successfully use these two resources together.

In this post, we’ll answer common questions teachers have about using AES and DHO together.  

Specifically, you’ll learn more about:

  • Why teachers use AES and DHO together
  • What courses teachers use both AES and DHO for
  • How health science teachers like you use AES and DHO in their classes.

After reading, you should better understand why some teachers use AES and DHO and how you can successfully implement these resources in your classes.

Why Teachers Use AES and DHO Together


You may have heard good things about teachers using AES and DHO together, but you’re probably wondering why teachers use two curriculum resources instead of one. In this section, you’ll learn more about each curriculum material and why some teachers use both for their health science courses.

DHO Health Science is the leading textbook for teachers introducing their students to health science careers. Now in its eighth edition, DHO is written by Louise Simmers with Karen Simmers-Nartker and Sharon Simmers-Kobelak and published by Cengage.

Teachers have embraced DHO because it includes a treasure trove of information pertinent to work in healthcare occupations. Covering subjects from Human Growth and Development to Geriatric Care, DHO is a comprehensive text for any student learning the fundamentals of health science disciplines.

The true strength of DHO lies in its comprehensive handling of medical procedures. For each procedure, learners receive meticulous step-by-step instructions, clearly delineated from other content in the book by a section header and procedure reference number. With this level of detail, instructors can be confident that their learners are receiving accurate information that will prepare them for certification tests and their future careers.

HealthCenter21 from AES is a comprehensive curriculum system for teaching CTE health science courses. Featuring customizable learning modules that cover the breadth of topics in the healthcare careers pathway, HealthCenter21 presents information in ways that engage students and help them retain the knowledge and skills they learn.

AES promotes learning through our four-phase approach, which integrates hands-on activities with digital learning components. This unique methodology allows teachers to seamlessly implement blended learning in their classrooms. Teachers can use the digital curriculum to teach essential concepts while using valuable classroom time for discussions, demonstrations, and activities that further students’ understanding.

Because AES is a blended learning resource, teachers find that using HealthCenter21 with a textbook like DHO is very natural.

Using AES and DHO together gives teachers the flexibility to differentiate their instruction, choose the best resource to suit their specific curriculum needs, and vary their material whenever appropriate.

Video: Using AES with DHO in Health Science Courses

What Courses Do You Recommend Teachers Use Both AES and DHO?


Because DHO and AES are complementary curriculum resources, they cover much of the same material. This means it’s easy to use both in your courses. Most often, we see teachers use AES and DHO together in introductory health science courses. This allows students to learn the same essential material through different instructional methods.

Common courses teachers use AES and DHO for include:

  • Introduction to Health Science
  • Health Science I
  • Health Science Foundations
  • Principles of Health Science
  • Health Careers I
  • Orientation to Health Science Professions

When used together in a foundational health science course, AES and DHO create a solid framework for students to build the competencies they need for success in later courses and their future careers.

How Do Teachers Use Both AES and DHO In Their Courses?



Teachers across the country are turning to AES and DHO to differentiate their instruction. To learn more about how teachers like you use AES and DHO successfully, we talked with two experienced instructors who shared how they use both resources in their classes. 

While each teacher uses AES and DHO differently, both have seen positive results among their students when incorporating both resources in their curriculum.

Dawn Shaffer, Lycoming Career and Technology Center

Dawn Shaffer is a veteran nurse with twenty years of healthcare experience. Eight years ago, she decided to help train future healthcare professionals by becoming a teacher.

At Lycoming Career and Technology Center in Pennsylvania, Dawn teaches every student in the Health Careers program. Dawn’s students span from 10th through 12th grade and receive instruction in critical health science content such as medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, medical assisting, and nursing skills.

Dawn teaches a series of introductory health science courses simultaneously. She uses DHO and AES in her Health Careers I, II, and III courses, preparing students for certification as direct healthcare workers in Pennsylvania.

DHO has long been the cornerstone of Lycoming CTC’s health science program, and Dawn structured her lessons around the textbook. Within the last couple of years, she has seen the value of using DHO together with HealthCenter21 from AES:

dawn-shaffer-cte-health-science-teacher“I had all my lessons pretty well put together, based on the DHO text,” Dawn shares. “But then, I’m always searching for supplementation to add to it, and when I found AES, I was thrilled because it mirrors the textbook so much.”

The similarities between the content in AES and DHO allow Dawn to transition between the two resources in her classroom seamlessly.

Rather than using just one resource for a unit, Dawn incorporates elements from AES and DHO throughout her lesson plans for her entire curriculum, so students are constantly experiencing the benefits of both resources.

Dawn incorporates content from the lesson plans in HealthCenter21 in her lectures and assigns her students work from DHO and HealthCenter21 for class and homework. Using the AES system helps her make sure every student stays on track with course content.

“I really like the fact that the online lessons are interactive, so the kids can check themselves going through,” says Dawn.

An example of how Dawn uses DHO with AES is in covering the personal and professional qualities of a health care worker. She first instructs students to read the relevant chapter in DHO before completing lessons, worksheets, and quizzes in the Personal Qualities module of HealthCenter21. Then, Dawn’s students complete summative assignments in Google Classroom to round out the unit.

Using components of both curriculum resources allows Dawn to spend more time with her students and provide specialized instruction while keeping everyone in her courses engaged and learning. While some students are working through AES learning modules in class, others can receive individual instruction from Dawn. This way, none of her students are left waiting.

Dawn’s students at Lycoming CTC have experienced excellent outcomes from using AES with DHO and have given her positive feedback on her class.

“I’ve had many students say they really like it. It’s very helpful,” Dawn notes. “It helps reinforce the content and helps them learn.”

Melanie Leonard, Grapeland Independent School District

Melanie Leonard is a health science teacher for the Grapeland Independent School District in Texas. She teaches several classes using HealthCenter21 but uses AES and DHO together exclusively in her Principles of Health Science course.

Principles of Health Science is the foundational class for Texas students pursuing health careers. Because students take Principles of Health Science as a first course in their career pathway, it’s one of the most important health science courses in Texas.

Melanie has worked with the DHO text for a few years, so she understands the book’s strengths as an educational tool along with the parts of the text where students could benefit from an additional resource. “The kids get tired of the textbook,” she reports.

She’s found that using videos and presentation slides within AES learning modules helps students better comprehend course concepts. Instead of using the DHO workbook, she instructs her students to work through the relevant content in AES.

“I have the kids open their online worksheet for that section,” Melanie shares. When students listen to lectures with AES open, "they actually pay more attention.”

Melanie is experiencing great results when alternating between AES and DHO for her class lectures. Whenever students tire of learning in a traditional, text-based format, she knows that she can regain their attention by assigning modules and activities in HealthCenter21.

melanie-leonard-texas-health-science-teacher“I can fluctuate between us doing it overhead together and then letting them do it on their own,” says Melanie. “I can do more different things with AES than I can with DHO.”

Using both AES and DHO gives Melanie more flexibility to give her students the type of instruction exactly where and when it makes sense within the context of her daily instruction. It’s given her the freedom to jump to different sections in each resource and modify her lesson plans whenever she needs to.

To keep her students focused on subjects such as the history of healthcare, Melanie has come up with engaging classroom activities which help her students recall course material. She discovered many of these exercises through interacting with fellow teachers at the Texas Health Occupations Association (THOA) conference.

For the history of healthcare, Melanie has her classes create a timeline of grave markers of famous figures who have influenced medical disciplines. Students research a chosen figure listed in the DHO text and create a gravestone to reflect that figure. They then assemble their “graveyard” timeline in the hallway where passersby can find out more information about each figure by scanning a QR code.


Melanie also values the ability to assess her students electronically within HealthCenter21 learning modules. She keeps her AES quizzes locked until students have learned the relevant content and skills and then uses them to determine what students have learned using DHO and AES. These quizzes help her check to make sure that students understand important information.

By using AES and DHO together, students at Grapeland ISD are able to better comprehend and engage with course material than by using a single resource by itself.

Help Your Health Science Students Succeed with DHO and AES

Using two comprehensive curriculum solutions together may seem difficult at first. But using DHO and AES together is a great way to ensure students retain fundamental material in introductory health science courses.

Many teachers like you are already seeing incredible results when they use DHO and AES together in a blended learning environment.

Because a blended learning approach is our recommendation for using HealthCenter21 effectively, pairing AES with DHO is one way to help better engage your students while saving time with planning, grading, and remediation.

If you’re curious about using a digital curriculum in your health science classes, sign up for a free trial. You'll be able to use the entire curriculum alongside the DHO textbook to decide if it's right for your students.

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