This week, we recognize National Health Education Week (NHEW), established in 1995 and celebrated during the third full week of October. It is sponsored by the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE), with a goal of increasing national awareness of major public health issues and promoting a better understanding of the role of health education.
The focus of this year’s National Health Education Week is “Working to Create Healthier Communities.” Health education is a vital component in establishing effective preventative care and compliant treatment, ultimately resulting in healthier communities. It comes in many forms and is most effective when all community members are engaged. Raising awareness is more than just reminding people to stay healthy. It can go much further when combined with education, giving people the resources they need to live a healthy lifestyle, from early detection techniques for cancer to the proper way to manage medications.
Everyone in the health community should educate their patients and the public about health-care needs, but Health Education doesn’t stop at medical providers. It’s important that decision-makers in both national and state legislatures, as well as teachers and caregivers, understand the issues that shape the health of our society. Community members can register for free and modesty priced classes at Orlando Health. Topics range from Animal Therapy and Counseling Services to Pregnancy and Parenting Classes.
First Aid Classes like “Stop the Bleed” are offered every few months. This Bleeding Control Basic (BCon) course is designed for bystanders who have little or no medical training but who may be called upon as immediate responders to provide initial care and bleeding control to a trauma victim. Bystanders may not have time to wait for an ambulance, as a person who is bleeding profusely can die from blood loss within five minutes.
Orlando Health also hosts events and invites the community to come and learn about health care. Recent events included an open house for the Orlando Health Emergency Room and Medical Pavilion Randal Park, a chance to visit the Orlando Health Dr. P. Phillips Hospital and learn about robotic surgery, and a dinner at which Harrison Youmans, MD, shared medical tips with youth who play sports.
Some people learn best by seeing and doing, and Orlando Health has a robust volunteer program. Last year, volunteers logged 243,690 hours at Orlando Health. Volunteerism is one way that community members are not only learning about health care, but are making their communities a healthier place at the same time.
For those that prefer to learn about health care online, Orlando Health has several resources available. Choose Health, Orlando Health’s magazine, is full of tips for staying healthy. Trending Health Topics and Orlando Health’s Blog update frequently with information about living your healthiest life, new advances in medicine and even healthy recipes.
Finally, when facing a personal health crisis, one’s health-care team can be the biggest resource available. Becoming educated about your illness (or a loved one’s illness) is empowering. Knowledge can provide some reassurance during a chaotic time, allowing you to become an active member of your care team, make educated treatment decisions, and get through treatment with a little less uncertainty.