The Standards of Practice for Health Promotion in Higher Education, Third Edition are guided by several principles:
Health is the capacity of individuals and communities to reach their potential.
Health is not simply the absence of disease measured through clinical indicators, but “a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources as well as physical capacities” (World Health Organization [WHO], 1986).
The specific purpose of health promotion in higher education is to support student success.
In the higher education setting good health enables student success by creating health supporting environments – that is, both the physical and the social aspects of our surroundings (WHO, 1991). Specific health promotion initiatives aim to expand protective factors and campus strengths, and reduce personal, campus, and community health risk factors. This is done in alignment with the missions and values of institutions of higher education (IHEs).
IHEs are communities.
IHEs possess all of the components of a community – that is, functional spatial units, units of patterned social interaction, and symbolic units of collective identity (Glanz, Rimer, & Lewis, 2002) – and therefore should build upon the inter-relationships and interdependencies among their members and contextual systems to influence health. This principle indicates use of a socioecological-based approach that examines and addresses health issues at multiple levels: intrapersonal, interpersonal, institutional, community, and public policy (McLeroy Bibeau, Steckler, & Glanz, 1988). Therefore, the specific populations targeted will vary with the community and may include students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members, among others.
Health promotion professionals in higher education practice prevention.
At its core, health promotion works to prevent the development of personal and campus population-level health problems, while enhancing individual, group, and institutional health and safety. Although prevention efforts may be universal, selective, or indicated (Gordon, 1983), health promotion in higher education emphasizes creating supportive environments for health. This principle furthers the recognition of IHEs as communities and indicates a re-orientation to focus primarily on population-level initiatives.
Health promotion in higher education is facilitating, rigorous, and inclusive.
Collaboration exceeds co-sponsorship of initiatives; it requires health promotion professionals to be community organizers who mobilize a wide range of interdisciplinary campus and community partners for collective action. Health promotion initiatives are theory-based and evidence-informed, carefully implemented with fidelity to maximize effectiveness, and evaluated for achievement of desired learning and performance objectives for behavioral and environmental outcomes. Acknowledging and understanding that differing systems of beliefs, values, rules, and customs affect health, health promotion in higher education advocates for health-supporting environments guided by cultural inclusion, respect, equality, and equity (ACHA, 2011).
- ACHA Cultural Competency Statement (2011).
- Glanz, K., Rimer, B., and Lewis, F. (Eds.) (2002). Health Behavior and Health Education: Theory, Research and Practice, 3rd edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc. Publishers.
- Gordon, R.S. (1983). An Operational Classification of Disease Prevention. Public Health Reports, 98(2), 107–109.
- McLeroy KR, Bibeau D, Steckler A, Glanz K. (1988). An Ecological Perspective on Health Promotion Programs. Health Education Quarterly, 15(4), 351-377.
- Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 1986.
- Sundsvall Statement on Supportive Environments for Health. Sundsvall, Sweden: World Health Organization; 1991.
- Zimmer, C.G., Hill, M.H., & Sonnad, S.R. (2003). A Scope-of-Practice Survey Leading to the Development of Standards of Practice for Health Promotion in Higher Education. Journal of American College Health, 51(6), 247-254.