Health education is one strategy for implementing health promotion and disease prevention programs. Health education provides learning experiences on health topics. Health education strategies are tailored for their target population. Health education presents information to target populations on particular health topics, including the health benefits/threats they face, and provides tools to build capacity and support behavior change in an appropriate setting.
Examples of health education activities include:
Characteristics of health education strategies include:
- Participation of the target population.
- Completion of a community needs assessment to identify community capacity, resources, priorities, and needs.
- Planned learning activities that increase participants’ knowledge and skills.
- Implementation of programs with integrated, well-planned curricula and materials that take place in a setting convenient for participants.
- Presentation of information with audiovisual and computer based supports such as slides and projectors, videos, books, CDs, posters, pictures, websites, or software programs.
- Ensuring proficiency of program staff, through training, to maintain fidelity to the program model.
Examples of Health Education Interventions
- The Oral Health Outreach Program, implemented by the Eastern Shore Area Health Education Center (AHEC), provides dental education and outreach to children.
- SLV N.E.E.D. (Naloxone Education Empowerment Distribution Program), implemented by the San Luis Valley Area Health Education Center (SLVAHEC) provided educational sessions to providers and community stakeholders on addressing opioid abuse.
- Community health workers (CHWs) may deliver health education to the target population. Examples of how CHWs support health education interventions are available in the Community Health Workers Toolkit.
- Health education is also used in care coordination to address barriers to care. A health educator is one type of care coordinator who deliver education to individuals, families, and communities. Additional information is available in the Rural Care Coordination Toolkit.
Considerations for Implementation
Health education activities should enhance the overall goal of the health promotion and disease prevention program. Materials developed for health education programs must be culturally appropriate and tailored to the target populations to ensure cultural competence.