Community health educators use data collected on various populations to understand and develop health and wellness programs to meet community needs and advocate with governmental agencies for the development of programs and funding to improve community health. They teach people how to live healthy lives, obtain preventive screenings, and avoid costly diseases, medical procedures and unnecessary hospitalizations.
They engage in preventive education programs that explain how individuals can reduce the probability of contracting illnesses such as lung cancer, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, heart disease, diabetes, hepatitis and skin cancer and engage community resources in these efforts. In addition, they work in the community to develop programs that cope with expected life changes such as prenatal and well-baby care programs; sex, suicide and drug education programs for teens; and exercise and nutrition programs for senior citizens. They focus on harm reduction strategies to decrease cigarette smoking, excessive drinking, obesity, unprotected sexual behaviors and illicit substance abuse.