Article

Health Education

Elaine Auld and Stephen F. Gambescia

in Public Health

ISBN: 9780199756797
Published online February 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199756797-0044
Health Education

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Health education is defined as “any combination of learning experiences designed to facilitate voluntary actions conducive to health” (Green and Kreuter 2005). Although the history of health education dates back to the 19th century, it was not until the 1940s that the field began evolving as a distinct discipline. Over time, health education’s theory and practice base have broadened from focusing on one-to-one and mass media behavioral interventions to encompass responsibility for policies, systems, and environments that affect population health. In the early 21st century, the terms health education and health promotion (i.e., the latter including an ecological approach) are often used interchangeably in the United States, while internationally health promotion is used as an overarching concept that includes health education. Health education is considered a mature profession given that it has developed a discrete body of knowledge, defined competencies, a certification system for individuals, a code of ethics, a federal occupational classification, and recognized accreditation processes in higher education. Health education is generally aligned with the behavioral and social sciences as one of the core dimensions of public health study and practice. Additionally, the field draws from theories and models from education, health studies, communications, and other diverse areas. The unique combination of these knowledge areas forms the basis for health education competencies. Health educators employ a core set of competencies, regardless of the diverse practice settings in which they work (i.e., schools, universities, health departments, community-based organizations, health-care settings, worksites, and international organizations). This bibliography is organized around major areas of health education practice, such as assessing, planning, implementing, managing, and evaluating health education or health promotion programs, services, and interventions. It includes historical and philosophical foundations, and development of its professionalism and ethics. The discipline embraces both qualitative and quantitative methods, community-based participatory research, health communication and social marketing principles, and policy and media advocacy to accomplish program objectives. Health educators are stalwarts in the fight for social justice and believe that the health of a population should be a priority in any society.

Article.  7096 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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