During the late 1800s, public health departments began employing health educators to address community issues important to population groups (National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc., 2008). Prior to this time, hospitals and clinics were viewed primarily as places where sick people went to be healed, and health professionals held the closely guarded secrets to cures and prevention. Changes in health care delivery and management in the 1970s ushered in a paradigm shift in who was responsible for individuals’ health. As health care became more disbursed through legislation and economics, health care organizations expanded their services to provide educational services and outreach in community settings as well as centralized information banks. As a result of these historical trends, individuals have become over time more and more involved in educating themselves on their own health care, and they have become more apt to seek preventive information on health and wellness from within their communities and other sources, such as the Internet (Fertman & Allensworth, 2010).
The fact that populations are amenable to receiving health information is not enough to determine what settings are the most appropriate for providing health promotion programs. Although the lines between health care and community settings have become blurred, as a public health professional, you may need to consider factors related to implementing programs in various settings and compare them to decide what setting or combination of settings will work best for the target population.
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