The Meigs County Health Department’s (MCHD) mission is, “To preserve, promote, and protect the health and well-being of Meigs County”. One of the ways the Health Department ensures that its mission statement is followed is by instituting the ten essential public health services into their work. One of these services is to, “Inform, educate, and empower people about health issues”. This service is precisely the role that the MCHD’s health educators provide for the county.
The Ohio Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) defines the role of a health educator as, “provide information on health and health related issues. They can assess health training needs and plan health education programs. They may specialize according to specific health concerns, illnesses, or work or training setting. Health educators may work as independent consultants or in health departments, community organizations, businesses, hospitals, schools, or government agencies.”
Common tasks of health educators are:
*Perform health training needs assessments.
*Design and develop health education programs.
*Publish health education materials, information papers, and grant proposals.
*Develop health education curricula.
*Teach health in public and private schools.
Since 1995, October 21-25 has been deemed National Health Education Week. This week is dedicated to providing national awareness of public health concerns and to the promotion of providing an understanding of the role health education plays in society. MCHD is taking this week to show their appreciation of all the good their health educators do for Meigs County.
I have been a health educator with the Health Department since June of 2018. I received my undergraduate and graduate degree from Ohio University. I also hold the role of Project Director for the Creating Healthy Communities (CHC) Program.
The CHC Program focuses on preventing chronic disease throughout the state of Ohio through healthy eating and active living strategies. The active living projects for this year are, tennis court repairs and new nets and winches at General Hartinger Park in Middleport, new basketball equipment and court, benches, water fountain, and parking lot at Mechanic Street Park in Pomeroy, new fencing and bleachers at the baseball field located near the Village Hall in Syracuse, and the donation of eight bicycles, helmets, water bottles, and reflective lights provided at the Safe Kids, Healthy Kids event facilitated by the Health Department. The healthy eating projects for this year are two healthy micro-markets at the Jobs and Family Services in Middleport, a greenhouse and orchard at the Carleton School in Syracuse, purchasing of garden supplies for two school gardens at Meigs Local School District, and the Meigs County Farmers’ Market located on the Pomeroy Levee. These projects add up to over $46,000 in Ohio Department of Health and National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) funding that was given to communities within Meigs County from the MCHD.
Needless to say, I am passionate about the field of public health and my role as a health educator. It is a privilege to serve the people of Meigs County and to assist in ensuring that their health needs are met. If you would like to learn more about the CHC Program or other activities I am involved in as a health educator for the Health Department please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ciara Martin, MPH, is the Creating Health Communities Project Director at the Meigs County Health Department.