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Utah's Foremost Platform for Undergraduate Research Presentation
2013 Abstracts

Emerging Trends in Health Promotion: Are the needs of Health Education Specialists being met?

Chelsea Newsome, Utah Valley University

Academic Affairs

In the emerging profession of health education there has been a lack of attention on the needs of health education specialists. Recently at Utah Valley University, Dr. Mary V. Brown, and undergraduate students in the Public and Community Health Education department, conducted research focusing on if the needs of health education specialists were being met. Qualitative data collection methods were used to help in needs assessment, planning, goal setting, and quality improvement for both professional organizations and academic institutions. Student Researchers held five focus groups throughout the state of Utah to gather insights from health educators on what they believe are emerging trends, most useful coursework in the academic setting, and professional development needs. The questions used in the focus groups were developed from the assistance of two state professional organizations. The students involved were trained to be moderators and note takers by using guidelines from Krueger and Casey (2000). The data was analyzed using the long table approach outlined by Krueger and Casey (2000). The results showed that the health educators perceived the top emerging trends were social marketing, followed by social media, and a greater focus on primary prevention. As researchers we found the most helpful information for academic institutions would be what the health educators felt were lacking in their educational experiences. The health educators wished that grant writing, computer programs/technical skills/ designing brochures, real life experience/opportunities to apply their knowledge in community settings/practical application classes had been offered in their program of study. With regard to professional development, we found the majority of health educators were supported from upper management to receive continuing education depending on funds. The classes they wanted more of at these continuing education conferences are knowledge in politics, technology, and developing partnerships in the community. This information will be a benefit to both the professional organizations and academic institutions in the state of Utah to improve training of professionals and students alike.