The Picture of Health. Public Health Improvement Plan
Setting Priorities: SSCHC Priorities: Health Education and Promotion

Essential Service #3:
Inform, Educate and Empower
People About Health Issues

What Does it Mean?

Informing, Educating and Empowering People About Health Issues involves finding strategies that will effectively educate and motivate community members to take action around individual and community health issues. This essential service is divided into two focus areas, Health Education and Health Promotion. Because they are so closely related, the SSCHC has chosen to focus on both areas. 

Health education focuses on helping residents to make informed decisions about healthy living and lifestyle choices. It also means sponsoring educational programs to develop knowledge, skills and behavior needed to improve individual and community health. Health education efforts share information about health risk, health status and health needs with policy makers and the general public and may also involve providing information about proven interventions to improve community health. Broad-based media campaigns targeted to the public or targeted initiatives that focus on populations at increased risk may also be part of a health education initiative.

Health Promotion efforts go one step beyond health education by engaging individuals or the community in an activity that will improve their health. Examples of health promotion efforts related to physical activity include sponsorship of a community walking tour to promote fitness through walking, implementation of a physical-activity enrichment program in the school system or a program to help parents and students address barriers to walking to school. These activities not only educate, but engage community members in the behavior that is being promoted. 

Why is it a Priority?

According to the Local Public Health Assessment Tool the Essential Service #3, Inform, Educate and Empower People About Health Issues, received an overall score of 26 out of a maximum score of 100 [local public health assessment results]. Health Education Opportunities and Health Promotion Activities were the two indicators used to evaluate this Essential Service [Click here for a graph of results for ESPH#3]. Health Education received a score of 29. Health Promotion received a score of 22.

The low overall score received by this Essential Service made it a high priority for Southern Strafford County. After reviewing the data, SSCHC partners agreed to focus on creating both health education opportunities and health promotion activities within the seven SSCHC communities.