Social Change Health Education/Promotion Philosophy
The social change health education/promotion philosophy focuses mainly on creating social, political, and economic change for the purpose of benefitting the health of individuals and groups within the society. The health of the people is the priority, and it is achieved through the social arena. For example, his philosophy can start health education initiatives or programs that focus on the development of coalitions to advocate for a smoke-free bar and restaurant. This program is most likely to be aimed at improving the health of the members of the society who visit bars on a regular basis by protecting them from the adverse health effects of smoking cigarettes or even inhaling the smoke ‘emitted’ by other smokers in the bar. The social change philosophy is, therefore, mainly concerned with the enactment of policies and laws that are aimed at enhancing the health of groups and individuals.
Despite being a philosophy tailored to benefit the individuals and groups within the society, the social change philosophy might have some advantages for the health education specialist that might be a disadvantage for the consumers of health services and education. A good example of such cases is that social change is often a lengthy process, and the implementation of laws that advocate for smoking bans or food labeling to ensure its safety can only result in short term success, hence resulting in an exceptionally positive outcome evaluation for the health education specialists who might believe that they have come up with a program that will improve public health.
However, while health education specialists might view this as a win, the long term effects for individuals and groups in society might prove to be detrimental. For instance, when the said law makes certain drugs or smoking illegal, the law just pushes the cigarettes and drugs to the ‘back-street.’ This is detrimental to individuals because most people would use these illegal substances away from the eyes of the educators, making it difficult for them to track the use of the illegal drugs and substances, while at the same time affecting the health of the consumers of health education and services.
Cottrell, R. R., Girvan, J. T., McKenzie, J. F., & Seabert, D. (2017). Chapter 3: Philosophical Foundations. In Principles and Foundations of Health Promotion and Education. London, England: Pearson.