Health Education

MISSION:

The mission of the Health Education Division is to promote the advancement of the health of all students through education. The Division seeks to provide the knowledge and services necessary to enable students to develop the skills to make healthy decisions that will last throughout their lifetime.

The Health Education Division seeks to identify the health needs of the student population and to develop the appropriate educational programs dependent upon these findings. Educational programs are designed to be accessible to and inclusive of all students.

The division also works to support and integrate other health related services on campus in an effort to provide a comprehensive and coordinated program of health. Therefore, creating a healthy school environment that fosters learning and allows for academic success.

The Health Education Division works to improve and sustain the highest level of physical, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being of all students. A healthy student has the potential to be a productive learner thus, achieving the goals set forth by the College while at the same time enjoying an enhanced quality of life.

You can read Student Health 101 by choosing that link on the left side of the page.

A Rationale for the Development of a Division of Health Education

Health is not merely the absence of disease. Rather, it is a complex set of interrelationships within an individual. Health encompasses more than just a physical sense of well-being. It also includes social, emotional, and spiritual dimensions. Health is determined by many factors, some biological, others environmental; some subject to change, while others remain constant over time.

Good health is a precursor for optimal student learning. Only when a student realizes a true sense of well-being can productive learning take place. The healthy student is associated with a lower rate of absenteeism, an improved attention span, and good academic performance, all necessary qualities for academic pursuit. Unfortunately, the college student is faced with a host of challenges in this quest for good health and critical learning. The risk taking behaviors associated with this age group in association with a developmental mind set of perceived insusceptibility, a strong sense of immortality, and high tendencies toward denial present a challenge to both care givers and program developers alike (Wallace, 1992).

Health education and health promotion programs can assist in meeting these health needs of students on campus. Such programs are important components of a college health service. They provide a framework for imparting knowledge and create the opportunity for developing healthy attitudes and beliefs. These programs have the potential to be the impetus for desired behavior changes.

Historically, health education principles and practices have existed on college campuses since the late 1800’s. Amherst College has well documented records indicating research between health status and health education. Most early programs were developed within the confines of the physical education department, often at women’s colleges. The emphasis of these programs was on the human body. Little, if any attention was given to risky behaviors. The late nineteenth century saw the development of health centers focusing on medical care with an emphasis on social hygiene. This was in direct response to the public health efforts being aimed at communicable disease control as well as the nation’s need to draw “healthy” soldiers from the student population. This medical model remained relatively intact and unchallenged until the mid 1900’s. The latter half of this century saw an increase in the number of students attending colleges and universities, leading to a growth in the size of health centers on campus as well as an increase in the number and types of services provided (Wallace, 1992).

Preliminary prevention efforts emerged in the early 1960’s when there was a growth in the size of the student body, a shift in societal norms, and an acknowledgment on the part of administrators that more services were needed on campus. More recently, with insurance concerns and rising health care costs being on the forefront, attention is being given to approaches aimed at prevention. The trend in college health centers is now one of ambulatory service as opposed to the previous hospital care approach. Today, with empirical

research yielding useful data on successful health education programming and the recognition by the American College Health Association of the importance of

Addressing Healthy People 2010 through Healthy Campus2010, the outlook for health education and health promotion programs is promising. (USDHHS, 2000) (Task Force on National Health Objectives in Higher Education, 2001).

Incorporating a program that promotes health and wellness through education serves to enhance and complement existing health operations. Such programming is also compatible with national health goals and priorities. A division of health education creates the opportunity for students to reduce the incidence of engaging in risky behaviors and provides for a supportive environment for the development of a healthy lifestyle. The benefits to the college are obvious. Healthy students are important to the success of the institution. In remaining true to its mission, it is the responsibility of Trinity College to support such services as students pursue their quest for knowledge.

Goal and Objectives

The goal of the Division of Health Education is to promote health and wellness at Trinity College through education.

To achieve its goal and stay true to its mission, the Division of Health Education will:

  • Assess student and campus needs for health education by selecting valid sources of information about health needs, develop appropriate data gathering instruments when necessary, and employing survey techniques applicable to the situation.

  • Design effective health education programs based upon inferred needs and create a logical scope of sequence for these events to occur; develop clear and measurable objectives specific to the problem area and select appropriate educational strategies to accompany each program.

  • Implement health and wellness initiatives utilizing learning activities specific to the intended audience, monitor these practices, and adjust when necessary.

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of health education programs, interpret the results of evaluative findings, and infer implications for future program planning purposes.

  • Act as a resource fro health center staff, students, and community by establishing effective working relationships and respond to requests for health information.

These objectives are consistent with the areas of responsibility for certified health education specialists as outlined by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. (Deeds, 1996).