132 Annual Meeting Logo - Go to APHA Meeting Page  
APHA Logo - Go to APHA Home Page

Do we practice what we preach? The use of an ecological approach to health education practice in North Carolina

Daniel L Bibeau, PhD1, Kay Lovelace, PhD, MPH1, Hans H. Johnson, EdD2, and Mary A. Glascoff, MSN, EdD2. (1) Department of Public Health Education, UNC Greensboro, 437 HHP Building, Greensboro, NC 27401, 336-334-5532, dlbibeau@uncg.edu, (2) Department of Health Education and Promotion, East Carolina University, School of Health and Human Performance, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858

A recommendation of the IOM Committee on Educating Public Health Professionals for the 21st Century was to insure that public health professionals use an ecological model to understand the multiple determinants of health. The intention is that public health professionals look beyond individual factors influencing health and seek to intervene in the broad environmental and social factors that affect population health? The current study investigated practice patterns among NC public health educators in local public health departments (LHDs)(N respondents=204; 69%) in terms of the percentages of their time that they spent in interventions focused on changes at different levels of the socioecological model (McLeroy et.al., 1988). The model suggests that interpersonal, organizational, community, policy, cultural, and physical environmental factors interact with personal factors in determining health and health behavior. The results indicate that those with health education degrees are more likely to engage in interventions aimed at community level changes (χ=4.675, p<.042) and less likely to engage in interventions aimed at individual changes (χ=3.368, p<0.046). Those with Masters degrees were more likely to engage in interventions at the community changes (χ=8.96, p<0.03) and interventions aimed at policy changes (χ=7.87, p<.049). The results indicate that most health educators in health departments do not engage in interventions aimed at anything other than individual change. Recommendations are made regarding the hiring of health educators and the best supervisory situation for practice. Implications of the data for universities preparing public health education professionals for public health practice and gives guidance for continuing education efforts.

Learning Objectives:

  • At the conclusion of the session, the participant in this session will be able to

    Keywords: Public Health Education, Health Education Strategies

    Presenting author's disclosure statement:
    I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

    Hot topics in Health Promotion

    The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA