Health education as a profession deals with enlightening people about health
The main aim of this profession and all the activities that surrounds it is to assist people and communities live a healthy and a productive life. One of the most crucial trends that led to the development of health education was the increase of harmful and deadly infectious diseases, especially in the 19th and the early 20th century. During this time, medical practitioners and the government realized that these diseases thrived due to poor hygiene. Failure of people to carry out simple practices such as use their latrines well, poor drainage and maintaining personal cleanliness were found to be the major causes of infectious diseases.
Later in the 20th century-1950s to 1970s-, these diseases had become very easy to control using the antibiotics, antibodies and other drugs that were used to kill their causative microorganisms. However, the trend of controlling this using medicine was seen to be very expensive. For this reason, health education focusing on prevention of these infectious diseases was seen as a better alternative and was utilized. Another trend that has impacted on health education today is the increase in lifestyle diseases. All governments as well as health professionals feel like it is safer to prevent and manage lifestyle diseases through education than medical treatment. This trend has caused great need for health education.
There are several historical events that helped to shape health education. The first and the most important of this event is the increase in the infectious diseases in the 19th century. This saw the birth of health education. The other one is the increase in the non-infectious incurable diseases in the 21th century that has seen emphasis on prevention of these diseases through education rise. This is given the fact that these diseases are preventable. Another major historical event that greatly shaped health education is the conversion of marine health service into public health service in the year 1902. This was due to recognition that more civilian needed health service and health information was later passed through this channel as health education.
The focus of today’s health education is to generally pass information to the public that will enable them live a healthier and more productive life. It also involves policy formulation that will see people lead a healthy lifestyle that is in itself a major preventive measure of lifestyle disease. This contrasts sharply with a focus of health education in the 19th century that was majorly to prevent spread of harmful infectious diseases among people.
A health educator is a professionally furnished person who does a variety of activities and is clearly trained to teach suitable educational schemes and methodologies to enable the formulation of strategies, actions, mediations, and structures favorable for the health of people and the society. Such a person is trained to pass information on healthy and hygienic lifestyle and make it useful to people.
The six areas of responsibility of health education are the following:
- The first involves evaluating the need for health education in people and in the whole community.
- The second one focuses on planning of schemes, intervention and programs of health education.
- The third one is the implementation of the above.
- The forth one is an inquiry and includes conducting evaluation and research in the area of health education.
- The fifth area of responsibility of these professionals is administration of strategies, programs and interventions relating to health education.
- The sixth responsibility of these professionals require them to serve in the capacity of health education resource while their final professional responsibility is to communicate and support health and health education in the society/community.
The Role of Health Education Specialist
The overall role of health education specialist is to educate people and community of the responsibilities they have to prevent diseases and the costs and disruptions caused by diseases through hygiene and adopting healthy lifestyles. These specialists are trained and have adequate skills on how people can achieve the above. They also keep on researching to get better ways in which this can be achieved. Their overall role is to pass this knowledge to the community.
The ultimate recipients of health education are people (individuals, families and society). A health educator works with a community with a view to enlighten them of their responsibility and ability of living healthy and productive lives through hygienic living and also adopting healthy lifestyles.
There are two professional resources for a health educator that makes him or her effective in his or her work. One of them is training and information. These professions are highly trained and have a lot of information that makes them effective in their work. Secondly, they receive assistance from the health department, which enables them to reach out to communities and conduct research so that they can always provide relevant and current information to the communities.
These professionals use these resources to provide current and updated information to the community so that the community can stay healthy. Their training enables them to pass this information effectively.
Certified Health Education Specialists
A Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) is a professional charged with the responsibility of designing, conducting and appraising activities that are meant to improve the health of people and the community. In other words, a CHES is a health educator who has been certified by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing Inc. (NCHEC). The certification is obtained when a health educator is tested by the NCHEC. A health education specialist is certified after he or she proves to the NCHEC his/her competence.
There are three professional settings where one might find a health education specialist at work. One of such settings is in community based organization, teaching people why and how they can adapt healthy lifestyle. The second setting is in a health facility, especially the modern ones that offer advice to individuals and families to adopt healthy living through hygiene and healthy lifestyles. One can also find a health education specialist in various government offices such as offices of the health department advising health officers and other government officials on the best policies to formulate in order to keep the community healthy in both the short and the long run.
One thing that all these settings have in common is that a health education specialist is always dealing with the issue of public health. He or she is seen talking or working to improve public health. The difference in these instances is that sometimes he/she is seen talking to recipients of his/her services while in the last case, he/she is talking to policy makers or providers of public health as a service.
Although all settings require that a health education specialist have good advising skills, the last instance requires a health education specialist to have a management point of view so that he/she can be able to advice the policy makers’ appropriately. On the other hand, he or she needs to show empathy while talking to members of the public.
Idaho State Department of Education
The main purpose of this program is providing information on statuses of youth and HIV/AIDS, STDS, teenage pregnancies and drugs information so they can make informed choices. The information is crucial and as meant for teenagers so they can make informed choices. This information concerns HIV/AIDS, other STD, teenage pregnancies and drugs abuse. It was designed to avail information that will enable people such as teenagers and schools to make informed choices. It achieves this purpose by providing information in a well laid out manner for all the concerned parties to have a look.
The target audience for this website is teenagers (Idaho students), their parents, teachers, school heads and players in the health sector. The collaborators for this website are the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, and TB Prevention and The Division of Adolescent and School Health (National Commission on Allied Health Education, 1980).
There are several components of information provided on this website. These include information concerning the sexual activities of teenagers, the information relating to drug abuse among teenagers, and correlation between drug abuse and sexual behaviors of teenagers. Additionally, there is component of information regarding to sexual activities and HIV information availed to teenagers, health information, the educational backgrounds of school instructors and their correlation to all of the above factors as well as the family involvement.
The information in this article is reliable. Since it has been written and produced in collaboration with agencies that are formed to cater for this issue. Consequently, this helps to make the source that can be easily verified. The organizations that have been involved in producing this piece of work are The National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, and TB Prevention and The Division of Adolescent and School Health. Additionally, this information is found in the website for Idaho State Department of Education.
Teenagers are brief and attractive. This document is made to be very brief, to the point and attractive. Moreover, it makes it very suitable for them. Additionally, school heads, health officials and parents are not likely to be discouraged from reading it due to its size. This document is very brief and the information is presented in a crafty way such that it does not appear heavily worded or clattered. The language used is also very simple and straight to the point. Therefore, this document is presented in a way that the target audience will find it attractive, enjoy reading and understand.
In conclusion, the whole world recognizes that treatment of diseases is an expensive venture and takes a huge portion of countries’ budget. Additionally, illnesses make people weak and unproductive, which is a great loss to any country’s economy. Some diseases are not curable and people spend a huge proportion of their incomes surviving while languishing in pain. To make the matter worse, some sick people do not recover; they die and leave their dependents vulnerable.
On the other hand, people know that the cost of preventing diseases, especially through adopting hygienic lifestyles and healthy lifestyles, is way cheaper than treating the same illnesses. Additionally, these two moves make people live a more dignified life. A hygienic environment and a healthy lifestyle help uphold human dignity. There are no easier and better ways of achieving the above than through the public health education. The public becomes enlightened and is able to adopt a hygienic and healthy lifestyle. Health education will also enlighten people to adopt a healthy sex life and make informed choices concerning HIV/AIDS and STDs.
For all the above reasons, health education is very crucial for a healthy society.
Health Education Project General Advisory Committee. (1976). Making health education work: Health education in health program development, with primary attention on programming for low-income and minority groups. Washington: American Public Health Association.
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Joint Committee on National Health Education Terminology. (1991). Report of the 1990 Joint Committee on Health Education Terminology. Association for the Advancement of Health Education. Reston, VA.
National Learning Corporation. (1991). Health education. Syosset, N.Y: National Learning Corp.
National Commission on Allied Health Education. (1980). The future of allied health education : New Alliances for the 1980s.. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
The American School Health Association, Association for the Advancement of Health Education, & the American Cancer Society. (n.d.). National health education standards: Achieving healthlLiteracy.