What is a health educator?
According to the Ohio Society for Public Health Education, health educators are prepared professionals that build community health by providing information on healthy living, disease prevention and healthy behavior change.
How are health educators advocates?
Health educators advocate for their clients and their communities every day. They do this in a variety of ways, depending on what they’ve identified as the top priorities for their constituents. Some might focus on certain health challenges and illnesses that are most prevalent in their communities. Others might take a more general approach, putting together public service announcements about healthy habits that can benefit anyone. The potential for specialization gives health educators both focus and flexibility. It’s particularly helpful for health educators who work with disadvantaged populations.
Where can we see this happening?
In a great example published by the Journal of School Health, researchers used health educators to promote asthma education in rural communities. These types of interventions by health educators are important because community health needs differ between rural and urban settings. In this case, health educators aided children in rural communities by providing asthma education that worked for them.
How can I be an advocate in my community?
The tenets practiced by health educators can be adopted by anyone seeking to improve their communities. If you have experience with a certain challenge or obstacle in your community, focus on the aspects that make your community unique and plan a specific course of action with those things in mind. Each community member, from teachers to healthcare workers, can take their own unique experiences and hurdles and turn them into meaningful change.