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Developing Community and Public Health Capacity for Change

Posted on June 4, 2019 in Uncategorized

March Health Awareness Campaigns

  • National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
  • Brain Injury Awareness Month
  • National Kidney Cancer Awareness Month
  • Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month
  • National Myeloma Awareness Month
  • National Nutrition Month
  • National Endometriosis Month
  • Workplace Eye Wellness Month
  • National Save Your Vision Month
  • Hemophilia Month
  • National Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Month
  • American Red Cross Month
  • Learning Disabilities Awareness Month
  • National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
  • National Eye Donor Month
  • National Poison Prevention Month
  • National Professional Social Work Month
  • Save Your Vision Month

For those in community or public health, the topics in this article will be nothing new-but as busy professionals ourselves, we often find it helpful to be reminded of the basic premises of our chosen fields. It’s so easy in our hectic-and very important-drive to complete work tasks that we lose sight of those core values for which we strive.

There are a growing number of evidence-based interventions for use by community and public health professionals to promote health and prevent disease. [Leeman, Calancie, et al: 2015] These practices have the potential to improve environments, behaviors, and health outcomes in our communities. In order to adopt these practices, however, public health agencies and community partners often need additional tools, strategies, and training to enhance their capacity to improve health outcomes.

The most effective prevention strategies actively engage the communities they are intended to serve. Effective health promotion and health-enhancing social change require communities to identify, plan, channel resources, and take action. The concept that a community is the solution to its own problems is not new. There is considerable support for designing community-based interventions to improve the health behaviors and overall health status of community members. According to Sotomayor, Pawlik, and Dominguez in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease, “These community-based interventions are important because health disparities and the high rate of chronic diseases in minority populations, particularly among those who are poor and lack access to community resources, are not likely to be prevented without them.” [Sotomayor, Pawlik, and Dominguez: 2007]

The U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion’s Healthy People 2020 strives to

  • Identify nationwide health improvement priorities.
  • Increase public awareness and understanding of the determinants of health, disease, and disability and the opportunities for progress.
  • Provide measurable objectives and goals that are applicable at the national, State, and local levels.
  • Engage multiple sectors to take actions to strengthen policies and improve practices that are driven by the best available evidence and knowledge.
  • Identify critical research, evaluation, and data collection needs.

Many health prevention and promotion consultants stress the importance that local leaders play in building community health. The Healthy People 2020 toolkit Identifying & Engaging Community Partners, answers the question “How Do You Define Meaningful Citizen Participation?” in this way:

  • Power to make decisions and affect outcomes
  • Citizen driven; from the community up, not top down
  • Proactive, not reactive
  • Encourages and facilitates broad community involvement
  • Inclusive, not exclusive; accessible to all
  • Balanced representation in the participation process; not just major “partners”
  • Consensus-oriented decision making Compromise; give and take
  • Opportunities for involvement in all levels of activity, which include creating a vision, planning, prioritizing, deciding, evaluating [ODPHP: 2010]

Building strong relationships with necessary community partners can be time consuming. Facilitating meetings to allow the meaningful participation outlined above requires a particular, practiced set of skills. Here’s where a community health consultant could be extremely valuable. Each community health consultant is different, of course, but in general he or she will have significant experience with the following tasks:

  • Developing health education and promotion programs, such as school or community presentations, workshops, trainings, etc.
  • Writing and formatting health education materials, such as reports, bulletins, and visual aids, to address public health concerns.
  • Developing working relationships with agencies and organizations interested in public health.
  • Designing and conducting evaluations to assess the quality and performance of health communication and education programs.
  • Collaborating with community groups and public health officials to identify community health needs and the availability of services needed.
  • Writing press releases and public service announcements, conducting media campaigns, or maintaining program-related Web sites.
  • Developing grant proposals to obtain funding for health education programs and related work.

A Model for Advancing Policy in Cultural Competency and Health Disparity

Posted on June 3, 2019 in Uncategorized

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Helpful Hints for People Interested in Health Careers

Posted on June 1, 2019 in Uncategorized

Do you ever get the feeling that there aren’t any jobs available anywhere, and you are tired of looking, that is when you consider the medical field. There are many choices here, several will require a substantial amount of training, others only minimal or on the job training. Keep in mind that in this article we’ll be looking at only a small sampling of the many health careers that are possible. These, however, may motivate you to look further and see all the career options in this field.

There are some challenging positions to aspire after, when seeking a career in the health field, such as a doctor, but being a registered nurse is every bit as rewarding. There is a lot of demand for nurses, however, and depending on where you want to work, you will have a lot of choices. Surgical care, pediatrics, psychiatry, orthopedics, and others, are all specialties within nursing. If you’re interested in becoming an RN, you should look into what your local colleges, including community colleges have to offer. Nursing schools could be another option, or there is always the internet.

When you want to work in the health industry and want to teach, you should consider becoming a health educator.

There are tons of jobs in this area and you could be hired by a school, a corporation, a non profit or even a governmental agency. A health educator teaches the public about all sorts of health related issues like pregnancy, high blood pressure, STDs, substance abuse, the dangers of smoking, etc. This will give you the satisfaction of helping people learn more about topics that are really important to their overall health and well being. A Bachelor’s degree in community health or public health or a related field is what you will need to find if you want to be a health educator. You’ll then need to take and pass a test to become a Certified Health Education Specialist.

There are also a lot of careers to be had in the alternative medicine field if that is something that seems interesting to you. Many people are now skeptical of mainstream medicine and prefer to seek the expertise of herbalists, holistic doctors, acupuncturists and others in alternative areas of health.

You can study Ayurveda (traditional medicine of India) or Chinese medicine. There are schools all over the place that will teach these subjects as well as a huge variety of other alternative medical practices so just pick the school that appeals the most to you. After completing your training, you could look for a job or set up your own practice. The health careers we’ve covered in this article are just some of the directions you can take in this rapidly expanding area. Being serious about a career in a health related area, there are many, and they all have different requirements, so spend some time learning what each one takes, if you are seriously interested. You also have to take your own abilities and interests into consideration.

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