Planning a NHEW activity
Collaborate with local, state and national partners to build sustainable programs. Activities, programs and collaborations can extend beyond the specific dates or timeline of the official NHEW week.
Building organizational or community support for NHEW
Whether led by an individual or a planning committee, successful awareness issue campaigns are grounded by broader support of stakeholders, institutions or communities. One way to elicit such support is to recruit members and organizations that are involved in or have expressed a commitment to community/public health, school health, youth groups, health education, and health promotion, locally, regionally and/or nationally. Support can be fostered through advertising, social media outreach, networking and one-on-one interviewing. By engaging broader support for your campaign, you have the potential to:
- Gain a deeper understanding of your population’s needs and assets
- Reach greater numbers of your priority population
- Increase credibility of your campaign
- Gain access to additional materials
- Benefit from multiple expertise and additional human resources
- Share financial costs associated with campaign materials, events, and/or activities
- Foster a collegial network within the community-at-large
- Build off past successful initiatives
- Improve opportunities for program sustainability
Establishing goals and objectives
The specific objectives for your campaign can be determined locally, based on the interests and needs of your priority population. Examples of objectives for NHEW might include:
- By the end of NHEW 2018, volunteer for “X” amount of hours at an event that increases awareness of the importance of certified health education specialists.
- By the end of NHEW 2018, publish “X” number of social media posts on health education successes, current efforts and future opportunities.
- By the end of NHEW 2018, inform “X” number of stakeholders why cross agency partnerships are important to increase resources and to protect the health of the public.
- By the end of NHEW 2018, educate “X” number of individuals/organizations on the importance of health education specialists in your school or community.
- By the end of NHEW 2018, share with “X” number of schools/colleges/universities how your work as a Health Education Specialist influences the community.
Identifying and reaching populations
A successful campaign is grounded in understanding where your priority population can be reached. Most likely, this population will be determined by the emphasis of the NHEW theme, “Partnerships to Build Community Health,” and defined objectives of your campaign.
Once you have identified your priority population, gather information on the characteristics that those individuals might have in common. Such characteristics might include age, life stage, gender, attitudes or beliefs, patterns of behavior, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, origin, health literacy, and health status. The more specifically defined your population of interest, the more successfully you can focus your campaign. Other questions to consider include the following:
- WHAT is their information need? How much do they know about health education and health education specialists? For example, a fact sheet from National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. provides information on who Health Education Specialists are, what their job may entail, and how to become a health education specialist. See more at http://nchec.org/credentialing/profession/
- WHERE can your priority population be reached? Rather than locating a campaign at the most convenient place, consider finding places they frequent. By learning where a group’s “hot spots” are located, you will be able to maximize the time you spend during your campaign. Locations to consider include beauty shops, places of worship, barber shops, night clubs, local festivals, or in any other communities where people live, work, and play.
- WHEN will your population of interest be most open to the campaign? In addition to a popular location, an effective campaign takes place during times convenient to your audience. You might consider a weekend community fair or event, after work social, etc. Remember, not all activities may fit into a standard “9 to 5” day.
Identifying and utilizing resources
Understanding and utilizing resources is an integral component to a successful campaign. Resources include:
- Human resources (e.g., employees, volunteers, interns)
- Funding (e.g., available cash, grants, donations)
- Materials (e.g., handouts, flyers, booklets, guides)
- Space (e.g., physical space as well as airtime, web presence)
- Time (for planning, implementation, and evaluation)
Selecting and planning activities
When planning events and activities for NHEW, consider impacting your intended audience at a variety of levels:
- Individual: Share on social media what you do in your work as a health education specialist.
- Organizational: Share with your employer (e.g. supervisor, department colleagues, human resources department, and administration) how your unique skills as health education specialist are furthering the mission and reach of your organization.
- K-12 Schools: Share with your principal, school administration, school board, wellness council, and/or how school health education advances the lifelong decision-making skills that improve health outcomes of students and increase academic achievement.
- Community: Connect health education specialists more with the public, and celebrate health education successes, current efforts, and future opportunities, by sponsoring a community-wide event, such as a health fair or a workshop. Opportunities for co-sponsorship may be with hospitals, libraries, pharmacies, faith-based groups, or major worksite employers.
- Public Policy: Support national, state or local legislation that promotes health education by contacting your state or local representative. Ask the mayor or policy representatives to adopt resolution or proclamation to improve health outcomes and promote to traditional and social media.
The following are sample planning activities to engage community members, school leaders, policymakers, and others to build awareness around the importance of promoting the integration, future relevance, and funding of the health education specialist as an essential member of the health promotion team.
- Encourage decision-makers to fund programs that invest in primary prevention,
- Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper in response to recent news or events that highlights the importance of health education specialists as a member of health promotion teams and in the school and community.
- Submit public comments to regulatory issues and sign on to letters that support the health promotion and disease prevention work of health education specialists.
- Participate in school and community events to improve student, faculty and community health, emphasizing the contributions of health education specialists.
- Volunteer to participate in community health fairs or other public education events by providing health promotion or disease prevention lectures, materials, or resources on specific topics.
- Share a “day in the life of a health education specialist” at a high school student career night, community college classes, or college career fairs.