The International Electronic Journal of Health Education

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IEJHE, Vol. 2(4), 181-182, October 1, 1999, Copyright 1999

Book Review:
Principles & Foundations of Health Promotion and Education
Randall R. Cottrell, James T. Girvan, James F. McKenzie. Allyn and Bacon 1999. 306 pp., softcover.
Reviewed by Brenda Morissette Joly1
Corresponding author: Brenda Morissette Joly, Doctoral Candidate, Community and Family Health, College of Public Health, University of South Florida; (813) 974-7838 (phone), BMORISSE@COML.MED.USF.EDU.


Principles & Foundations of Health Promotion and Educationis a well-written text that has been organized in a way to provide reader ease and simplicity of concepts. Overall, the book provides a number of pedagogical features including: chapter objectives, key terminology, photographs and illustrations, "Practitioner's Perspective" boxes, chapter summaries, review questions, and student activities. Appendices are also arranged in an easy to read format, and a glossary provides readers with specific definitions for all of the major concepts that are addressed.

As an introductory text, the authors fulfill their duty of providing a comprehensive overview of health promotion and education. Chapter one begins by addressing the ongoing controversy surrounding the terminology used to describe health education. Definitions are provided to highlight the differences between a discipline and a profession. However as stated in the beginning of the text, the authors elect to describe health education using the term emerging profession, a diplomatic choice in my opinion. The remainder of this opening chapter focuses attention on key terms, concepts, principles, and measures related to health and health education. Practice issues are also briefly addressed. Finally, the authors provide an abbreviated description of epidemiology and its link to health education practice.

Chapter two details the historical evolution of health and health education. Early efforts at community health are chronicled with examples dating as far back as 3000 B.C.. The authors did an excellent job of providing a historical documentation of public health and health education efforts including those of early Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. The remainder of the chapter places emphasis on the evolution of health education over the past 150 years. Finally, an overview of specific public health efforts and school health initiatives in the United States is provided.

Chapter three focuses on the formation of philosophies including what a philosophy entails and why an emerging profession such as health education requires a strong philosophical foundation. In this chapter, the authors do a particularly thorough job of explaining the leading philosophies and viewpoints in health and health education. I support their decision to devote an entire chapter to an area that I believe is often overlooked and frequently omitted when discussing differences in health education delivery.

Chapter four provides an overview of the major theories and models that are particularly important to health educators, regardless of settings. A useful component of this chapter is the section explaining why theories and models are important to use. While this section is only a paragraph in length, I believe that it helps to show exactly how theory ties into health education at the practical level. With regard to the theories and models addressed, the authors were comprehensive in their description of the various components, stages, and constructs. Overall, the chapter will likely prove useful in guiding the work of health educators.

Chapter five places attention on the topic of ethics. The authors begin by providing examples of ethical issues that health educators may face. Additionally, an overview of ethical theories, principles, and decision making is provided. Finally, ethical obligations of health educators are addressed and the usefulness of a code of ethics is discussed. Appendices A-C include the abridged and unabridged Society for Public Health code of ethics, as well as the code of ethics for Health Educators developed by the Association for the Advancement of Health Education.

Chapter six focuses on key terminology related to credentialing and the history of certification in health education. Graduate standards and program accreditation are also briefly addressed in the first half of this chapter. The remainder of the chapter focuses on the major responsibilities and competencies of a health educator, as well as potential considerations for advanced study in health education. Appendix D corresponds to this chapter with an outline of the responsibilities and competencies for entry-level health educators.

Chapter seven details the various health education settings including schools, communities, worksites, health care organizations, academic settings, international opportunities, and nontraditional positions. The "Practitioner's Perspective" boxes provide an insightful account of what various health education jobs entail. Additionally, the sections devoted to "A Day in the Career of " provide examples of what can be expected from a health educator depending on the setting. The authors also list the potential advantages and disadvantages to working in the various settings. Finally, the authors provide advice on landing a first health education job.

Chapter eight provides an overview of the various agencies, associations, and organizations related to health education. A distinction is made between governmental and nongovernmental agencies. Addresses for various associations and organizations are provided, as well as a brief synopsis of their purpose, publications, and history. Appendix E provides a list of the Eta Sigma Chapters including their location and date of installation.

Chapter nine examines the literature of health education. This overview includes the type of information available, the components of a research article, the accuracy of information and sources, writing, locating information, and use of the Internet. This chapter is particularly well written and will likely be a valuable resource for students who need guidance on deciphering and searching for reliable and up-to-date health information.

As the last major section of the text, chapter ten focuses attention on future trends in the emerging profession of health education. The authors discuss demographic changes, societal trends, and health education practice for the future. This chapter is thought provoking and likely to get students thinking about their future role as a health educator.

Students and health educators looking for a resource that provides a complete historical, theoretical, and practical overview of health education need to look no further. Principles & Foundations of Health Promotion and Education is comprehensive, reader-friendly, and well written. This text is one that will likely get much use as a reference from students and health educators for years to come.


Notice to Book Publishers:

To have your books reviewed, please send two (2) copies to:
Mark J. Kittleson, Ph.D.
Editor-in-Chief, IEJHE
307 Pulliam Hall, MS 4632
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL 62901


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Copyright 1999 by IEJHE.