Health Education as a Catalyst for Change
WASHINGTON, DC – October 19-23, 2020 is National Health Education Week. This week, the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE), its chapters and partners celebrate health education specialists and their roles in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and catalyzing change for a healthier nation and world.
With the world thrust into the COVID-19 crisis, health education specialists are working on the front lines in schools, public health agencies, health care settings, universities, and worksites to help decrease the risks of virus transmission and promote recovery. They are conducting contact tracing, disseminating face coverings and hand sanitizers, assessing needs of first responder and communities to inform public health authorities, providing input into back to campus or school plans and procedures, and organizing volunteer networks to provide food or other supplies for needy families.
As scientists continue to discover more about the COVID-19 virus, health education specialists also are playing a vital role in translating and disseminating the latest information to news media and various populations through infographics, apps, social media, and other specialized communication methods and channels. Their expertise is especially needed to reach the elderly, homeless, racial and ethnic minorities, immune-compromised populations, persons with disabilities, and others who are at high risk of contracting the disease and are disproportionally suffering from the impact of the pandemic on their health, livelihood, and communities.
“The dedication and commitment of health education professionals during this pandemic speaks volumes to their specialized education and training, as well as their core values and concern for all people, especially the most vulnerable, says SOPHE President Cam Escoffery, PhD, MPH, CHES.® “We are proud of their collective contributions to improving the health literacy of our nation and stepping up to the largest public health crisis of this century.”
There are currently more than 62,000 health education specialists throughout the nation. Their knowledge, skills, and training complement health care providers, social service workers, policy makers, educational experts, human resource personnel, and many other professionals whose work impacts human health. Health literacy is a major determinant of health status and without the knowledge and skills offered by health education specialists, members in each community can be greatly affected.
During this celebratory week, join SOPHE, its chapters and partners in activities to recognize health education specialists who support the nation during the COVID-19 pandemic and work to promote healthier communities.
The week’s activities include:
Monday, October 19 | Health Equity and Racism Elimination: Advocating for Change
Webinar – Equity and Anti-Racism Approaches to Public Health | 2:00 p.m.
Racism is a public health issue and a social determinant of health. How can health education specialists address racism and health equity?
Tuesday, October 20 | Emergency Preparedness: Are You Ready?
Webinar – Emergency Management during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Stories from the Field | 2:00 p.m.
How could health education specialists have better prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic? What is their role in community recovery? #NHEW
Wednesday, October 21 | Mental Health & Mindfulness
Webinar – Supporting Employee Mental Health and Well-being during COVID-19 | 2:00 p.m.
The “new normal” is not normal. COVID stress is real. Health education specialists need to practice self-care to be at their best for their communities. #NHEW
Thursday, October 22 | Health Literacy: Words Matter
Webinar – Health Literacy: Words Matter | 2:00 p.m.
Health education specialists harness the power of words to improve public health by promoting health literacy and numeracy.
Friday, October 23 | Career Settings for a Health Education/Promotion Specialist
Webinar – A Snapshot of Health Education and Promotion Career Settings | 2:00 p.m.
Do you know about the options for a career in health education and promotion?
Visit NHEW#2020 at www.sophe.org.
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About National Health Education Week (NHEW): NHEW is celebrated annually during the third week of October and focuses national attention on a major public health issue, provides public education, and improves consumer understanding of health education’s role in promoting the public’s health. NHEW is recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.