Health Education and Promotion
Health education is a social science that draws from the biological, environmental, psychological, physical and medical sciences to promote health and prevent disease, disability and premature death through education-driven voluntary behavior change activities. Health education is the development of individual, group, institutional, community and systemic strategies to improve health knowledge, attitudes, skills and behavior. The purpose of health education is to positively influence the health behavior of individuals and communities as well as the living and working conditions that influence their health.
- To contribute to the knowledge and understanding of health behavior through scholarly research;
- To maintain the highest standards of academic excellence in teaching and the professional preparation of future health promotion specialists at both the undergraduate and graduate levels;
- To develop leaders who will contribute to the growth of the profession and the accomplishment of societal health goals;
- To serve as a health promotion resource to the community, both regionally and nationally.
Who are the health education specialists? The Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) has releases a video showcasing the various roles, work settings, specialized training, and valuable contributions of health education specialists to enhancing the quality of life for all. The video can be viewed below:
WHERE ARE HEALTH EDUCATORS EMPLOYED?
- In schools health educators teach health as a subject and promote and implement Coordinated School Health Programs, including health services, student, staff and parent health education, and promote healthy school environments and school-community partnerships. At the school district level they develop education methods and materials; coordinate, promote, and evaluate programs; and write funding proposals.
- Working on a college/university campus, health educators are part of a team working to create an environment in which students feel empowered to make healthy choices and create a caring community. They identify needs; advocate and do community organizing; teach whole courses or individual classes; develop mass media campaigns; and train peer educators, counselors, and/or advocates. They address issues related to disease prevention; consumer, environmental, emotional, sexual health; first aid, safety and disaster preparedness; substance abuse prevention; human growth and development; and nutrition and eating issues. They may manage grants and conduct research.
- In companies, health educators perform or coordinate employee counseling as well as education services, employee health risk appraisals, and health screenings. They design, promote, lead and/or evaluate programs about weight control, hypertension, nutrition, substance abuse prevention, physical fitness, stress management and smoking cessation; develop educational materials; and write grants for money to support these projects. They help companies meet occupational health and safety regulations, work with the media, and identify community health resources for employees.
- In health care settings health educators educate patients about medical procedures, operations, services and therapeutic regimens; create activities and incentives to encourage use of services by high risk patients; conduct staff training and consult with other health care providers about behavioral, cultural or social barriers to health; promote self-care; develop activities to improve patient participation on clinical processes; educate individuals to protect, promote or maintain their health and reduce risky behaviors; make appropriate community-based referrals; and write grants.
- In community organizations and government agencies health educators help a community identify its needs, draw upon its problem-solving abilities and mobilize its resources to develop, promote, implement and evaluate strategies to improve its own health status. Health educators do community organizing and outreach, grant writing, coalition building, advocacy, and develop, produce, and evaluate mass media health campaigns.
WHAT ARE THE CHES AND MCHES?
CHES is Certified Health Education Specialists and MCHES is the Master Certified Health Education Specialists. The following video illustrates the various roles CHES and MCHES have within various sectors, such as business and industry and healthcare settings.