248472 Epidemiologic didactic training is not critical for health educators: They would be better prepared by focusing only on the behavioral, health policy and health care reform aspects of public health

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 1:35 PM

Adenike Bitto, MD, DrPH, CHES, FRSPH , Department of Health Studies, ESU, East Stroudsburg, PA
Amar Kanekar, MPH, CHES, CPH, PhD , Health Studies, East Stroudsburg University, East Stroudsburg, PA
Despite changes purported in the epidemiological transition, both developed and developing countries are now facing a deluge of chronic conditions and communicable diseases. Recent examples include the bird flu and avian flu pandemics, and the epidemic of obesity among youth and adults. These devastating disease conditions are occurring alongside one another in communities, with numerous other conditions. All public health professionals are being challenged in dealing with these multiplex conditions. Some of the work presented in this paper is based on guest lectures in a capstone master's course for graduating health educators. After obtaining results from background preparation, research and meta-analysis of epidemiology education and health education data bases, information was summarized and presented to students. They were assigned homework, presented with epidemiological readings, and provided with the debate topic. Based on their individual perspective, students presented their case for or against the topic of interest, and added some reasons to support epidemiological training or in not community health education programs. Findings suggest a split in the overall proportion of health educators who believe there is already too much epidemiology in the community health curriculum, versus others who hail the idea of more epidemiology preparation. Given the demonstrated paucity of trained epidemiologists in the U.S., and the daily spectrum of diseases, it becomes even more critical for health educators to understand the epidemiological underpinnings of each emerging or re-emerging disease. This will enhance health educators' ability to apply relevant prevention and control strategies for specific individuals in a hurting world.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the process of meta-analysis, first to obtain relevant published articles and secondly for analysis of study results in epidemiology education, with special reference to healthy communities promoting healthy minds and bodies. 2. Discuss the critical role of didactic epidemiology training for empowering trainee health educators. 3. Evaluate the need for extended epidemiology training for practicing health educators who address today’s health issues, including the obesity epidemic among youth and adults, pervasive chronic conditions among seniors, and the resurgence of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.

Keywords: Epidemiology, Health Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the faculty lead for this work.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.