Innovations in Health Education Reflect Shifting Health Paradigms

The Concept, New Educational Models for Health and Well-Being.

In 2005, Predictive Health and Society emerged as one focus of the Emory University Strategic Plan. The concept represents a fundamental paradigm shift in thinking about health, replacing a traditional medical model of the health and disease dichotomy with a model of health as a continuum ranging from health to 'unhealth'. Based on a holistic view of health and well-being, this view puts the health back into health-care and turns attention to promoting health on equal footing with disease prevention. While health promotion is not a new concept in itself, Emory's Predictive Health approaches are unique in their efforts to develop a scientific basis for defining an individual's relative state of health with the aims of: Defining and measuring health, Discovering optimal biomarkers of health, Identifying interventions to optimize health, and Determining how to apply new knowledge to individuals and populations world-wide. Novel curricula were developed to support an educational foundation for this new approach. The Molecules to Mankind (M2M) track in Predictive Health emerged in the Laney Graduate School in 2010 and the Predictive Health Minor launched in Emory College during 2011 in the CSHH.

Health and well’s within your reach...

In 2007, The Center for Health Discovery and Well-Being opened at Emory Midtown as the home of a proof-of-concept research study for the new model of health care. Here, individuals are provided with a comprehensive health assessment and matched with a Health Partner who works closely with them to design a plan in support of self-identified goals for health. This Health Partner-based approached is quite successful at helping people to identify and achieve health goals for themselves.

The success of the CHDWB program suggested that a similar approach could be a powerful educational model on which to set young adults off on the right track as they begin their college experiences, if it could be translated and scaled-up. Two years of pilot work led to the launch of an evidence-based curriculum in the fall of 2011: Emory College upper classmen were trained as Peer Health Partners and became peer health educators under the guidance of faculty in a first-semester all-in requirement for freshmen students. The success of this program was evidenced in the first year by recognition of health as an experiential aspect of daily life and the development and attainment of health goals by 80% of the freshmen class. Now in its fifth year, 83 Peer Health Partners participate with 1350 freshmen in classes of 18 or less each week. This program is fluorishing along with the students. A professional-training component for the Peer Health Partners is the basis for a high level of engagement among Emory undergraduates in a number of student-led initiatives directed at improving health in the Emory community. A broad range of academic courses are available and support a rich educational program in human health across the post-freshman years. Dupree L, Ingalls D, Welkley J, Lampl M. 2012. Engaging and empowering college students to develop healthy lifestyle behaviors. Presented at the 22nd annual Art and Science of Health Promotion, April 11-13, San Diego, California and published in Global Advances in Health and Medicine, 2013,  2:5.

Figure, content ©2005- Emory University Predictive Health

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Meet our faculty

Human Health

Lisa Dupree, MS

Michelle Lampl, PhD, MD

Patricia Simonds, MS, RD

Jill Welkeley, PhD