While many health professionals often take on health education roles in performance of their primary professional responsibilities, health education is an independent profession in its own right and health educators are an integral part of any community’s health promotion and health care team.
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. By focusing on prevention, health education reduces the costs that would overwise be spent on treatment services.
Health educators promote, maintain and improve individual and community health by teaching individuals and communities how to assume responsibility for addressing health care issues. They collect and analyze data to identify community needs prior to healthy behaviors. They often serve as a resource to assist the indivual or community administer fiscal resources for health education programs.
Whether the challenge is environmental health, bio-terrorism, substance abuse or other health issues, professional health educators have the core diagnostic, planning, evaluation, communication and coordination skills to educate for the prevention, early detection and treatment.