My new identity as a college health educator

I returned from South America in late August, unemployed and not at all sure where I’d end up or how long it would take. I could not have imagined that in only three weeks, I’d have landed my dream job. I finally get to combine my personal interest in health with my training in health communication and my love of education as a bonafide health and wellness educator at a college in Boston, MA.

In my new role, I teach classes and workshops, coach students in individual sessions, design and run education campaigns and behavior change interventions, plan events and programming, collect and analyze student data, and advise a student group of peer health educators. My new world revolves around alcohol and drugs, sexual health, stress management, sleep, nutrition, fitness, eating disorders, mental health, and wellness.

I absolutely love, love, love my new job. And what’s more, it’s prompting me to think about a lot of new things and considerations. For example.

My role as role model

  • So, like, can I never mention drinking in a tweet ever again?
  • Must I now avoid bars where there might be undergrads?
  • If I choose to get drunk, does that make me a hypocrite?
  • Will people be watching my personal health/eating habits more closely?
  • Does it reflect poorly on my authority/credibility as a health educator/expert if I am overweight?

Serving a population that is 85% male and 15% female

  • How do I make sure to dedicate enough resources to women’s health topics when women are such a minority?
  • Opportunities for sexual assault prevention aimed at a male audience (bystander education)
  • Making sure that sex ed/sexual assault/body image/eating disorder programming reflects feminist perspective
  • What men’s health issues do I need to learn more about?

Education vs. social marketing

  • Social marketing has traditionally not been used at this college; in what cases is it worth pushing for change?
  • How much time/effort/money do I dedicate to educational initiatives when I believe behavior change interventions would be more effective?
  • How much time/effort/money do I dedicate to the complicated process of designing behavior change interventions?
  • When is it worth designing original materials vs. using materials already available?

Health vs. Wellness

  • What’s the difference?

Pretty great stuff, right?

I look forward to exploring the intricate details and delicate dilemmas involved in college health education with you at Talkin’ Reckless. In addition to my usual gender- and health-related ranting.

4 thoughts on “My new identity as a college health educator

  1. I am so excited to see you back blogging, and I am so happy to hear that you’ve landed what sounds like an AWESOME job that will effect real change. GOOD ON YOU!

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