The clinic HELP initiative: promoting health education in primary care clinics. Health Promotion Practice


Medical clinics have had treating disease astheir main mission, but, as the populationchanges and chronic diseases becomemore prevalent, clinics are being forced to consider the importance of prevention and health pro-motion. Unfortunately, most clinics are not equipped to meet the health education and health promotion needs of their clients. Physicians and nurses are pressed for time and are often not prepared academically to provide health promotion education. At the same time, most clinics do not have a sufficient number of health educa-tion staff to provide the needed services to their clients or the community around them. Although those educating primary care physicians have made attempts to develop curricula in preventive medicine (Lane, 1992) and examples exist of medical schools that place value on health promotion and health education, time constraints and conflicting priorities have made it difficult for physicians to offer the type of education that many clients need. In most cases, pre-vention involves not only complex behavior change on the part of the client but also changes in the environ-ment, including advocating for policy change. Profes-sional health educators are trained to work both with in-dividuals and communities to influence changes in behavior and in the environment. In an intensive revie

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