In your role as a public health educator, it is likely you may be responsible for designing a program to help people change harmful behaviors to prevent illness or premature death—or to improve their overall health and wellness. How do you begin to create effective public health education programs? If you said “with theory,” you are correct.

Theories are dynamic; thus, they are able to capture the complexity inherent in most community health education endeavors. In addition, in the field of public health, there is increasingly a requirement for a strong evidence base, and theory can play a role. If you are conducting public health research or planning a community health education program or intervention and have not used theory, a crucial element is missing.

For this Discussion, review the Learning Resources, and consider the roles that theory plays in health education research and practice and what theoretical framework you might use in your Scholar-Practitioner Project.

With these thoughts in mind:

provide an explanation of the role of theory in health education research and practice. Then, explain the significance of applying theory in research and practice. Provide an example.

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