The Future Health Education Workforce

Ronald Merrill, D. W. Chen, Andrea Gielen, Eileen Mc Donald, Elaine Auld, Shannon J. Mulrooney, Neil H. Sampson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As we approach the 21st Century, the major non-genetic contributors to premature death result from lifestyle. These lifestyle issues include tobacco use, diet and activity patterns, alcohol and illicit substance abuse, firearms, sexual behavior, and motor vehicles. All health professionals should learn more concerning how to motivate individuals to improve unhealthy lifestyles. However, health educators are uniquely positioned and educated to help change these behavioral determinants of health. A meeting convened in June, 1997, supported by the Bureau of Health Professions of the Health Resources and Services Administration, DHHS, resulted in a number of recommendations and conclusions concerning actions which might be initiated by the profession, with limited support from the Bureau of Health Professions, to change the curricula for graduate level health educators to make their education more relevant for actual practice of the profession. The discussion included the following issues: recruitment and retention of students, current and future employers of health educators and their concerns, need for changes in the curriculum for graduate level health educators, need for faculty training and involvement in behavioral change research, and accreditation and certification of graduate health education programs and their graduates. As a result of this discussion, recommendations for change were developed in the following areas: data needs, training needs, accreditation needs, and advocacy needs. Progress is needed in each of these four areas to assist health education professionals to fully utilize their capacity and professional responsibility in the next century.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S59-S64
JournalJournal of Health Education
Issue numbersup1
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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