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Health Promotion Resources for Higher Education & Career Technology Centers

What Is Health Promotion?

Health promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health. To reach a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, an individual or group must be able to identify and to realize aspirations, to satisfy needs and to change or cope with the environment.

Health is, therefore, seen as a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living. Health is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capabilities. Therefore, health promotion is not just the responsibility of the health sector, but goes beyond healthy lifestyles to well-being.

Health Promotion Activities:

  • Create Supportive Environments
  • Build Healthy Public Policy
  • Strengthen Community Actions
  • Develop Personal Skills
  • Reorient Health Services Toward Prevention

What is Wellness?

The World Health Organization defines health as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." SAMHSA (the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) recognizes eight different dimensions of optimal health, with those being:

  • Emotional- coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships
  • Environmental- good health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being
  • Financial- satisfaction with current and future financial situations
  • Intellectual- recognizing creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills
  • Occupational- personal satisfaction and enrichment from one's work
  • Physical- recognizing the need for physical activity, healthy foods and sleep
  • Social- developing a sense of connection, belonging and a well-developed support system
  • Spiritual -expanding a sense of purpose and meaning in life

Using the Eight Dimensions of Wellness as a framework for providing campus wellness programming allows for a comprehensive approach to student well-being.

It’s easy to believe that “wellness” has to exist within the realms of physical activity or nutrition; the reality is quite the opposite.

When students experience wellness opportunities that encompass a broad range of dimensions, they are better positioned to choose behaviors that will empower them to live a healthy lifestyle and strive for student success.


Healthy Campus 2020

Healthy Campus 2020 provides a framework for improving the overall health status on campuses nationwide. This website provides a wealth of information such as:

  • Characteristics of a Healthy Campus Initiative (and how to implement one on your campus)
  • Using the Action Model (socioecological approach) to Achieve a Healthy Campus
  • Using the MAP-IT (Mobilize, Assess, Plan, Implement, Track) framework for your healthy campus initiative
  • Student and Faculty/Staff Objectives



The ACHA-National College Health Assessment (NCHA) is a nationally recognized research survey that can assist you in collecting precise data about your students’ health habits, behaviors and perceptions. The ACHA-NCHA offers a way for you to hone in on a wide range of student health issues including:

  • Alcohol, tobacco and other drug use
  • Sexual Health
  • Weight, nutrition, and exercise
  • Mental health
  • Personal safety and violence


The survey is cost-effective, and only takes about 30 minutes to complete—easing the burden on students. You can choose how and when to administer the survey on your campus based on your individual needs.


“The ACHA-NCHA is hands-down the most valuable tool we use in health promotion for our campus. It provides population-based data that allows us to determine our students’ needs yet still provides the evaluative piece for us to assess student health outcomes.”—Brittney Criswell, MPH, CHES, Assistant Director Health Promotion & Outreach, University of Central Oklahoma

State Schools Executive Summaries:  


“The specific purpose of health promotion in higher education is to support student success” (ACHA, 2012). Incorporating the ACHA Standards of Practice for Health Promotion into your college health program will provide an evidence-based foundation for your wellness initiatives that highlights student success and retention at its core.

CAS—The Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education—has developed 45 sets of functional area standards for higher education programs and services. Using the CAS standards for health promotion services, or any other health-based campus service, will allow you to ensure your program is rooted in best practices for higher education. (Note: the actual standards are only available if you purchase them through the online store.)


Additionally, CAS provides Learning and Development Outcomes that are especially beneficial in health promotion programs, as several of the Learning Outcomes relate back to student health and well-being.

Certified Healthy Campus was created in 2011 to recognize both public and private post-secondary campuses and career technology centers that promote health and wellness for their faculty, staff, students and visitors. Learn more about the criteria and application to become a recognized Certified Healthy Campus!


Oklahoma Health Improvement Plan (OHIP):  View Oklahoma’s vision for bringing health info focus.


OSRHE Wellness ListServ

Even though there is a wealth of information online, sometimes just talking with our peers in wellness, higher education and career technology centers can bring about great ideas for our campuses. Join the Oklahoma State Regents of Higher Education (OSRHE) Wellness ListServe and begin engaging with a community that is working toward providing healthy campuses for all of Oklahoma!


To be added to the OSRHE Wellness ListServ, please contact Sara Kimball at


Additional Resources


2-1-1 Oklahoma

2-1-1 is a free 24-hour telephone number that connects people with community services seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Dial 2-1-1 to find help with

  • Food & Clothing
  • Rent & Utility Payment Assistance
  • Housing & Shelter
  • Counseling & Health Care (including sexual health services) Information on college-health related issues Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Oklahoma State Department of Health website. Links to a variety of health programs within Oklahoma, including county health departments across the state.

OHIP Health Education Workgroup

For more information regarding health promotion resources for Higher Education or Career Tech, or to get involved in our initiative, please contact our OHIP Health Education Workgroup for Coordinated School Health and Higher Education.

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