The overall goal of our health education program is to promote healthy lifestyles with an emphasis on nutrition, physical activity, and tobacco free living. Health educators focus on preventive health care as well as disease management, especially controlling chronic diseases and conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Prevention Strategy cites these evidence-based recommendations as the most likely to decrease the impact of the major causes of preventable death and major illnesses.
PCC offers individualized health education sessions to help patients who are less familiar with subjects such as nutrition, physical activity, and stress. Health educators can step outside the exam room with patients to examine the connections between day-to-day choices and symptoms, illness, or disease. The approach enhances our team-based care model by augmenting the delivery of comprehensive care; the health educator becomes an extension of the primary care provider’s message of wellness.
Health education is provided with the support of student interns from Dominican University, the University of Chicago’s School of Social Services Administration, and Malcolm X College. They work in the clinics directly with patients as health educators.
Interns provide one-on-one health education sessions centered on topics such as tobacco cessation, nutrition education, cancer prevention, physical activity, maternal child health, and counseling support. They talk about the complexities of behavior change with patients wanting or needing to adjust lifestyle choices in order to live healthier lives.