Health Education

The purpose of the Health Education/Health Promotion Services Unit within the Cleveland County Health Department is to provide education, prevention, and early intervention materials and programs to residents of Cleveland County.  Staff members dedicated as Community Health Educators endeavor to use age- and culturally-appropriate, evidence-based programs for delivery in Cleveland County. Materials and programs are provided on the following health and safety topics on a regular basis:
  • Chronic Diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma and cancer - diagnosis, treatment, maintenance, and prevention;
  • Healthy living topics such as physical activity and nutrition;
  • Comprehensive reproductive health and safety topics;
  • Life stages and population health;
  • Workplace wellness and safety;
  • Violence and injury prevention;
  • Substance misuse prevention and harm reduction;
  • Health data to identify issues needing attention among residents of the county.
Services and programs may be provided by the Community Health Educators or other Cleveland County Health Department staff depending on the requested topic. Requests for health data and information as well as specific educational and preventive programs are scheduled through the office of the Community Health Services Director.

Programs and Community Coalitions Facilitated by Health Education:
Safe Sitter Classes/Safe Kids Coalition:

  • Safe Sitter: Prepares students ages 11-14 to provide limited babysitting services with the permission of all adults involved. The class is held at the Cleveland County Health Department and lasts for one day with instruction in first aid and CPR included. 
Live Healthy Cleveland County: Currently undergoing revision. 

Puberty Education and Teen Pregnancy Prevention:

  • Puberty Education: School Nursing staff teach a 60-minute puberty education program to all fifth-grade students in Cleveland County Schools. 
  • Strong Teens Youth Council: The Strong Teens Youth Council is composed of students enrolled in Cleveland County Schools who have completed the Strong Teens Making Proud Choices curriculum and who are interested in serving as peer leaders to reduce adolescent pregnancy in Cleveland County.
  • Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition: Serves as the Community Advisory Council for APPP (see below) and educates the community on issues around teen pregnancies and births. 
  • Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Project (APPP): This grant-funded initiative targets the prevention of teen pregnancies among students in Cleveland County. Funded by the North Carolina Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, the program provides classroom-based instruction using an evidence-based curriculum to 9th grade students. Participation in the program requires parental consent using a passive consent form. Parents may review curriculum materials on-site at the Cleveland County Health Department during business hours in the presence of the APPP Grant Coordinator and one additional health education staff member. Two publications are available through APPP:
    • Private Matters for Cleveland County Youth: A resource guide for teens in Cleveland County. This guide is distributed to students enrolled in the school-based classes.
    • Parent Survival Guide: A publication for parents and guardians of students entering middle school and is distributed at student orientation events. Revised July 2024.
Health Promotion: Funded through a Healthy Communities grant from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, this component annually selects two or more strategies associated with chronic disease and injury prevention to guide the work of the Healthy Communities Coordinator.

Minority Health Council: This program responds to health disparities identified in the Community Health Assessment and/or State of the County Health Reports. 

Suicide Prevention:
  • Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR): QPR is a suicide prevention program designed to train individuals to save lives from suicide by asking questions, persuading individuals to ask for help, and making referrals to appropriate providers for treatment. The program is available at no cost and is delivered by a certified QPR trainer to small and large groups in the county. 
CODAP Services: The Community Organization for Drug Abuse Prevention (CODAP) Services utilizes Health Education Specialists to implement substance abuse prevention education programming and strategies in the school and community setting addressing alcohol, tobacco (including electronic tobacco products) and other drugs including marijuana and prescription medications.
  • Too Good for Drugs 7th Grade: Evidence-based substance use prevention program facilitated in 7th grade health classes at each of the four middle schools in the county.
  • Catch My Breath: This evidence-based program is designed to address the national epidemic of youth vaping and can be delivered in four sessions at multiple grade levels in school-based settings.
  • Student Options and Redirection (SOAR): The SOAR program is an early intervention program targeting youth and parents where treatment for substance abuse is not yet warranted.  Students may be referred to the SOAR program by school administrators if a student has violated Cleveland County Schools’ substance abuse policies. Successful completion results in the student’s school suspension being reduced from an automatic ten days according to school policy to only five days if the referral is from the school system.  If the referral is from the court system, appropriate court officials are notified of completion. Parent(s) or guardian(s) may also make referrals to the SOAR program if they suspect their child may have substance abuse issues and are interested in early intervention/prevention services. 
  • Drug Free Communities Initiative: This initiative is a five-year federal grant award focusing on alcohol and drug use issues identified by the community. Activities under this initiative are developed and implemented with guidance from a community coalition (SAPC) and led by a Health Education Specialist. 
  • Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition: This coalition serves as a community forum to develop and support environmental and policy changes regarding the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs (illicit, prescribed, and over-the-counter medications) in Cleveland County.  SAPC members engage the community in targeted substance abuse prevention efforts such as billboard and poster contests, youth councils and community forums.  
Stacked Deck Gambling Prevention: This is an evidence-based program with proven outcomes in preventing and reducing the risk of problem gambling and is targeted to teens. The curriculum consists of six interactive sessions designed to gain insight into all forms of gambling activities, prevalence rates (how common something is) of problem gambling, risk factors, signs and symptoms for developing problems with gambling and identification of protective factors to combat problem gambling.  

Med-South Lifestyle Program: This is an evidence-based behavior change intervention modifying the Mediterranean diet for populations in the southeastern United States. The program consists of four sessions designed to educate participants to make healthy choices from among four dietary components: (1) nuts, oils, dressings and spreads, (2) vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans, (3) drinks, desserts, snacks, eating out and salt intake, and (4) fish, meat, poultry, dairy and eggs. The program can be delivered to individuals or groups. 

Community Resource Guides: These guides list nutrition resources, physical activity opportunities, prescription medication programs, transportation options, and primary care providers, dental providers, and eye care providers. They are published annually by the Health Education unit. Access the current Community Resource Guide here.

Required Documentation: These documents are required for accreditation by the North Carolina Local Health Department Accreditation Board as well as the consolidated agreement between the Cleveland County Health Department and the NC Department of Health and Human Services. All documents are published in print and electronic formats and distributed throughout the county. Electronic versions may be viewed here under the corresponding header.
  • Community Health Assessment (CHA): This document is produced every four years with the involvement of key community stakeholders to identify, assess and resolve community health needs, including the social determinants of health. Key partners in this process include the Atrium Health system as well as the Alliance for Health in Cleveland County, Inc.
  • Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP): Two CHIPs must be developed and implemented based on health priorities identified in the CHA. One must be short-term (1-3 years) and one must be long-term (5-7 years). Both plans follow the Clear Impact structure using both population and performance accountability measures. 
  • State of the County Health Report (SOTCH): This document is produced annually in the years when a CHA is not implemented in the county. This document is designed to show a snapshot of progress towards CHIP goals as well as current key demographics in the county. The document also highlights emerging health issues which demand attention from key stakeholders.