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Year : 2002  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 215-221

Why Health Educators Need Epidemiology

1 Department of Health Science, College of Health and Human Performance, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, USA
2 Division of Epidemiology, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of Utah College of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Correspondence Address:
Ray M Merrill
Department of Health Science, College of Health and Human Performance, Brigham Young University, 213 Richards Building, Provo, UT 84602
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

The aim of health education is to encourage health behaviors that promote a better quality of life and longer life expectancy. In the late 1960s, universities in the US began offering degree programs in health education. Most programs today require that at least one class be taken in epidemiology, where epidemiology involves the study of the distribution and determinants of disease frequency in human populations. In recent years, several competency areas have been set forth for health educators by the US National Commission for Health Education Credentialing. This paper speci.cally describes how training in epidemiology provides health educators with the ability to satisfy, in large part, these competency areas. The intent of this paper is to clarify to students and advisors of health education the rationale for requiring course work in epidemiology, as well as to emphasize that epidemiology is the cornerstone to all health education, whether conducted by physicians, nurses, or formally trained health educators.

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