Community Health Education

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Education focused on the improvement of health and prevention of diseases within a community. Intergroup relationships, value patterns, communication resources, community organizations, policymaking, strategic planning, and related methods, including theoretical frameworks, are used to educate and mobilize community members to take actions that will enhance health and prevent disease.

Community health education is the application of a variety of methods that result in the education and mobilization of community members in action for resolving health issues and problems that affect the community. These methods include group process, mass media, communication, community organization, organizational development, strategic planning, skills training, legislation, policymaking, and advocacy. It is also defined as "a theory-driven process that promotes health and prevents disease within populations" (2000 Joint Committee on Health Education Terminology, 2001, p. 5).

Example: The Pawtucket Health Heart Program in Rhode Island is a com-munitywide cardiovascular disease prevention program employing a variety of community-based interventions, targeting worksites, restaurants, schools, grocery stores, individuals, small groups, and the community at large in an effort to reduce the incidence of heart disease through screening, health education, and counseling programs directed toward risk factors such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, cigarette smoking, obesity, and sedentary lifestyle (Hunt et al., 1990; Lasater et al., 1991).

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