Health Education is a challenging profession that deals with not only biological issues, but also sociological, psychological, and spiritual components. The trick is to blend these together to develop strategies to help people become healthier. It has long been known that facts alone will not improve the person’s health; health education is one of the few professions that truly tries to incorporate both attitudinal and skills into strategies to help people help themselves.
In addition, health education is true prevention. Whereas one looks at the top ten causes of death, almost all deal with etiology that is associated with lifestyles/behavior. For example, heart disease has numerous behavioral based activities associated with it–lack of exercise, smoking, poor diet, and stress are some perfect examples of how poor healthy behavior can lead to serious consequences.
Health education takes place in many settings, however, oftentimes it is not referred to as ‘health education’. It has many names, but generally speaking those jobs that assess needs, develop/plan programs, implements such programs, and evaluate programs are the core of what a health educator does. There are other skills such as serving as a resource person and advancing the profession, but the planning, implementing, and evaluating aspects are oftentimes the signatory elements of a health educator.
Numerous professional organizations serve not only the health education profession, but advance the principles of health education. Some of my favorites include:
Organizations of key interest in health education