Posted October 16, 2016
National Health Education Week:
Partnerships to Build Community Health – October 17 - 21
Sponsored by the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE), National Health Education Week (NHEW) is celebrated during the third full week of October. This celebration brings national attention to public health issues and promotes consumers' understanding of the role of health education and health promotion in society.
What Is Health Education?
Health education draws from the biological, environmental, psychological, physical, and medical sciences. It aims to promote health and prevent disease, injury, disability, and premature death through theory-based interventions that: promote voluntary individual behavior change; or policy, system and environmental change activities, programs, campaigns, and research to help make the healthy choice the easy choice. Health education is an essential health service that involves the practice of four core activities: 1) assessment; 2) planning; 3) implementation; and 4) evaluation. By focusing on prevention, health education aims to reduce the financial and human costs that individuals, employers, health facilities, insurance companies, and the nation would spend on healthcare and medical treatment (College of Public Health, n.d.).
In practice, health education adopts a broad, ecological approach in an effort to create healthy communities. Health Education Specialists work at the individual, group, institutional, community, and system levels to improve health knowledge, attitudes, and skills for the purpose of changing or encouraging behaviors that result in optimal health status. The field provides a scientific backdrop that has established strong theories for disease prevention and health enhancing behaviors.
As we celebrate this year's NHEW, we honor the work of health education specialists and recognize their contributions to promoting and improving population health and providing health education.