Health Promotion improves and maintains individual and community health through education and prevention through healthy lifestyle choices and supportive community environments. It moves beyond a focus on individual behavior towards a wide range of social and environmental interventions. Health Promotion programs include evidenced-based and evidenced-informed strategies to affect change at various levels of influence. Health Promotion and Health Education are needed throughout communities in Oklahoma to improve health and to empower Oklahomans to take more control over their health and well-being.
County Health Educators serve as local specialists who provide education, advocacy and organizational support within communities, schools, health care facilities, businesses, and public and private agencies. Health educators have the skill sets necessary to provide health information to the public. Health educators are trained professionals in community health and wellness and provide training and technical assistance to individuals and communities. Health educators are “change agents” employed to promote a shared vision for the practice of Health Education and Promotion. This is accomplished through fostering partnerships within the profession and within the community and informing the public about best practices to stay healthy.
Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES) have the following basic core competencies in health education and health promotion as set forth by the National Commission on Health Education Credentialing, Inc. (NCHEC):
• Assess needs, assets, and capacity
• Conduct evaluation and research
• Administer and manage
• Serve as a resource person
• Communication and advocate for health
Health promotion programming is run by OSDH Community Analysis & Linkages (CAL). CAL uses data it receives from the community and its partners to assess health needs across the state and how to address those needs through community health programming.