Advocacy in Health Education Research and Practice

SOPHE summit

Our Call to Advocacy

Areas of Responsibility for Health Education Specialists

The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC) in collaboration with the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) sees advocacy as a central area of responsibility for health education/promotion specialists. Core competencies in advocacy include:

  • Identifying current or emerging health issues requiring policy, systems, or environmental change.
  • Engaging coalitions and stakeholders in addressing the health issue and planning advocacy efforts.
  • Engaging in advocacy.

Code of Ethics of the Health Education Profession

The Coalition for National Health Education Organizations' Code of Ethics (found here) define an ethical responsibility for health educators to engage in advocacy as a part of our responsibility to the public: “Health Education Specialists advocate and encourage actions and social policies that promote maximal health benefits and the elimination or minimization of preventable risks and health inequities for all affected parties.”

Public Health Code of Ethics

The American Public Health Association’s Public Health Code of Ethics recognizes the core values of health justice and health equity. “Public health practitioners and organizations have an ethical obligation to use their knowledge, skills, experience, and infuence to promote equitable distribution of burdens, benefts, and opportunities for health, regardless of an individual’s or a group’s relative position in social hierarchies. Health justice and equity also extend to ensuring that public health activities do not exacerbate health inequities.”

Advocacy Tips

Learn

Act

  • Attend the Society for Public Health Education’s Advocacy Summit in Washington D.C. to learn how to advocate, and apply your new skills in meetings with U.S. Representatives, Senators, and their staff members.
  • Take action using the American Public Health Association’s Advocacy Action Alerts.
  • Volunteer for organizations that promote health such as local coalitions and non-profit committees.
  • Vote in local, state, and national elections. (Learn how to Register to Vote.)

My Advocacy

Personal Experience

Although most of my advocacy is conducted as a private citizen, I have had the opportunity to engage in the following organized advocacy events.

  • University of Florida Presidential Committee on Persons with Disabilities (08/2016 - 05/2017)
  • Society for Public Health Education, Advocacy Summit (10/2017)
  • University of Florida College of Health and Human Performance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Workgroup (08/2018 - 02/2020)
  • Society for Public Health Education, Advocacy Committee (05/2020 - Present): I serve as a member of SOPHE’s Advocacy Committee which leads the development and revision of resolutions for consideration by the Board of Directors. I co-authored SOPHE’s Resolution on on Ending Law Enforcement Violence Against Racial and Ethnic Minoritized Populations, adopted in 2020, which outlines specific tasks to increase advocacy efforts in health education/promotion related to preventing police brutality.

Causes I Care About

These are some of the causes I care about:

  • Affordable, accessible healthcare
  • Black Lives Matter
  • Civil rights for Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals
  • First Amendment rights
  • LGBTQ+ rights

This is a non-exhaustive list of organizations working on these issues:

My research interests include the application of quantitative and mixed methods to develop and advance health behavior theory and practice, with specific focus on healthcare access for deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

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