Code of Ethics for the Health Education Profession
The Health Education profession is dedicated to excellence in the practice of promoting individual, family, organizational, and community health. The Code of Ethics provides a framework of shared values within which health education is practiced. The responsibility of each health educator is to aspire to the highest possible standards of conduct and to encourage the ethical behavior of all those with whom they work.
Article I: Responsibility to the Public
A health educator’s ultimate responsibility is to educate people for the purpose of promoting, maintaining, and improving individual, family, and community health. When a conflict of issues arises among individuals, groups, organizations, agencies, or institutions, health educators must consider all issues and give priority to those that promote wellness and quality of living through principles of self-determination and freedom of choice for the individual.
Article II: Responsibility to the Profession
Health educators are responsible for their professional behavior, for the reputation of their profession, and for promoting ethical conduct among their colleagues.
Article III: Responsibility to Employers
Health educators recognize the boundaries of their professional competence and are accountable for their professional activities and actions.
Article IV: Responsibility in the Delivery of Health Education
Health educators promote integrity in the delivery of health education. They respect the rights, dignity, confidentiality, and worth of all people by adapting strategies and methods to the needs of diverse populations and communities.
Article V: Responsibility in Research and Evaluation
Health educators contribute to the health of the population and to the profession through research and evaluation activities. When planning and conducting research or evaluation, health educators do so in accordance with federal and state laws and regulations, organizational and institutional policies, and professional standards.
Article VI: Responsibility in Professional Preparation
Those involved in the preparation and training of health educators have an obligation to accord learners the same respect and treatment given other groups by providing quality education that benefits the profession and the public.
*The Code of Ethics for the Health Education Profession was adopted by the SOPHE Board of Trustees on June 17, 1999. It was ratified by all members of the Coalition of National Health Education Organizations in November 1999, and supercedes any previous codes of ethics issued by SOPHE or the American Association for Health Education. Printed here is the abridged version; the complete code of ethics is available on SOPHE’s website ( ).
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