I’ve been thinking a great deal about the next frontier of health education, and in particular the concepts and language we need to consider and integrate across the lifespan.

When I was in graduate school working towards my master’s degree (in community health education & promotion), the entire program was focused on the physical aspects of health, and in particular diet and exercise. There was no class on emotional intelligence. No class on mental health as an integral aspect of wellness. No mention of spiritual health, nor anything pertaining to our soul, and there was very little mention of ecology or the environment as inextricable “conditions” very much related to our own health and well-being.

It was not until I was teaching, did the first wave of information and knowledge around how we are “connected” began to emerge. This is now a well-known and established fact, but prior to this we generally overlooked (?), disregarded (?), a number of critical realities such as racism, social justice and equity, and dominant culture “power-over” language, institutions, and policy (just to name a few), and their detrimental impacts on individual and community health.

What might a health education curriculum look in the 21st century? That question really excites me and certainly it will need to weave some of these concepts:

  • personal energy management
  • autopoiesis/self-actualizing
  • embodiment
  • energy flow
  • evolving
  • expanded consciousness
  • inclusion
  • levels of consciousness
  • equanimity
  • equilibrium
  • flourishing
  • living gift
  • living system
  • mutualism
  • policy
  • nurturing
  • regenerative
  • relational
  • self-generating
  • shared vision
  • soul
  • symbiosis
  • transcend
  • uniqueness
  • wholeness

As our awareness evolves and the complexity of the human condition becomes more visible to us, our entire approach to health education and community health must also evolve and reflect reality, too.


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